What's that joke about country music? That if you play it backwards, the singer gets his car back, he gets his wife back, and he gets his dog back? There's a particular narrative in country - men's
country, at least - that lends itself to formulaic and often-times jingoistic sentiments that have never really appealed all that much to She Said.*
Women, on the other hand, seem to write country music from a broader range of emotion and experience. With a genre as intensely emotional and sentimental as country often is, it makes perfect sense that women would excel at it.
"Coat of Many Colors," Dolly Parton
She Said had to restrain herself from making this entire list about Dolly Parton. She just has so many hits, so many wonderful songs about a variety of stories. Many of Dolly's songs were later made famous by other artists
. Her soprano voice belies the often dark content of her music. She Said has already written about her love for the song "Down From Dover"
about a girl who gets pregnant out of wedlock and is abandoned by the man. On the same album, tellingly titled The Fairest of Them All
, Dolly also has a song called "Daddy Come and Get Me,", about a girl who's been institutionalized by her father. These are definitely not fairy tales.
"Drunken Angel," Lucinda Williams
Williams' couldn't-care-less off-key drawl single-handedly converted She Said into an alt-country fan.
"Harper Valley PTA," Jeannie C. Riley
Okay, this song is gimmicky as hell but You sock it to those catty bitches, sister!
"Can Make Me Cry," Concrete Blonde
Concrete Blonde isn't exactly a country band but this song has the feel of a lot of alt-county hits of the early '90s. Plus, Johnette Napolitano in her crazy outfit makes She Said long for the '90s. [Ed. Note: Johnette Napolitano in any outfit makes us crazy.]
"The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," Reba McEntire
She Said is a sucker for Faulknerian Southern Gothic. Also? Extremely dramatic music videos. She loooooooved
this song as a kid growing up in Oklahoma (Reba!) but she had no idea what the hell is was about back then. Now it sounds overproduced as hell. But still awesome. And Reba's a master actress.