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Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild & Kimberly Schlapman Discuss Country Music's 'Patriarchal Culture'

Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman discussed their experiences of sexism within the country music industry during a conversation on Apple Music Country's "Guest List Radio with Ashley Eicher."

"I remember, especially very early in our career, where we had opinions but sometimes we were scared to express them because this was all brand new to us," Schlapman said (quote via CMT). "When we did speak up we were kind of quieted, you know, 'You hush and you sing and we'll take care of all the rest'."

Fairchild recounted an incident in the studio, in which an engineer refused to listen to her input about how her own record should sound.

"I remember one time an engineer told me, we were mixing a record and I said, 'Yeah, I think the kick drum sound could be different and just not really feeling right in the track,' and he goes. 'Hey, why don't you do what you do and I'll do what I do.' So, they're just really things like that that are so deep in the culture, the patriarchal culture of us being under their thumb," Fairchild said. "And it goes, I think, deeper than we know it goes, but it's changing and I don't let those kinds of things happen anymore. There are definitely times where I've wanted to say, 'Hmm, whose cover's on the record?'."

Read More: The 10 Best Little Big Town Songs, Ranked

The "Girl Crush" singers also discussed the importance of supporting other women.

"If we as women, just us women, could stop putting each other down or judging each other and throwing out opinions, negative opinions, negative judgment on each other, we could change the world," Schlapman said.

Little Big Town addressed sexism in their single "The Daughters," from the band's 2020 album Nightfall.

"'The Daughters' is another moment on a record that we thought was so important to just question, where is that champion for the daughters? And we did it by the metaphor of spirituality," Fairchild said. "But we're not saying that we don't believe there's a God for the daughters. We're saying, where is that, however you want to say it, savior or that champion? Where is that person that will rise up and say enough is enough?

Fairchild also lamented the lack of substance in many mainstream country songs.

"Let's get back to saying something in country music," Fairchild said. "Country music used to be about saying real stories. So we've watered it down a bit so that it fits people's advertising budgets, and the fans don't understand that. And we need to get back to really saying stuff, because I believe with all my heart that that's when we all win. It's when 'Humble and Kind,' it's those moments where something's really being said and it tugs on people's heart strings, that we take it to the next level."

Little Big Town are nominated for Best Country Album (for Nightfall) and Best Country Duo/ Group Performance (for "Sugar Coat") at the 2021 Grammy awards.





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