I don’t cover a lot of the stuff coming out of Music Row. The vast majority of what they call music is pre-fabricated radio fodder engineered for topping charts not touching hearts.
And then sometimes someone like Texas native Mickey Guyton squeezes through the machine. Guyton’s debut single ‘Better Than You Left Me’ made history when it had the biggest radio debut in country music
when it hit airwaves two weeks ago, earning first-week adds on 79 U.S. stations.
All this while singing a ballad that actually sounds like a traditional country song! Pedal steel and mandolin float over a soft waltz as Guyton’s Dolly-meets-Womack vocals tells a country music staple hardly found in the frothy airwaves popular now, that if heartache and courage.
Black, white , male, female…whatever..’Better Than You Left Me’ takes on the homogenous country radio landscape by being daringly traditional. And good, damn good!
Since Guyton is a black woman (albeit one that looks like Ashley Monroe’s sister), so naturally much is being made about Music Row’s newfound diversity. Perhaps, but the bottom line in that system is money not cultural reservation. Guyton, who has major label support in Capitol Nashville, might be on the right track to achieve both.
What I wouldn’t give to see a Sturgill Simpson / Mickey Guyton tour!