Tanya Tucker will of the CMT Next Women of Country Tour, which kicks off in Vienna, Virginia on Feb. 5. Joining Tucker for select tour dates are Aubrie Sellers, Erin Enderlin, Hailey Whitters, Brandy Clark, Madison Kozak and Walker County.
On Nov. 12, CMT unveiled the new class of its Next Women of Country franchise. This year's ceremony, co-hosted by Martina McBride and CMT Senior Vice President of Music Strategy & Talent Leslie Fram and held at the CMA Theater in Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame, inducted 11 new artists: Abbey Cone, Avenue Beat, Caylee Hammack, Gabby Barrett, Hailey Whitters, Kylie Morgan, Madison Kozak, Renee Blair, Sycamore, Tiera and Walker County.
In a surprise appearance, Tucker discussed the importance of the tour.
"I'm so honored to be the CMT ambassador for women in this business. I remember when I first started out, they wouldn't ever put two women on the same show. And I never could understand that. I'm so proud that this is all happening."
The "Delta Dawn" singer also discussed her friendship with Brandi Carlile, who co-produced Tucker's most recent album While I'm Livin.'
"I wish I would've had somebody like Brandi when I was coming up," Tucker said. "Now, God's given me a little break. I think He kicked her off a cloud and said 'Get down there and help that girl.'"
Tucker says the tour is an important opportunity to showcase women who are consistently underplayed on country radio.
"I'm so glad to be able to showcase and bring on tour some of the up and coming girls in this business," Tucker said. "Because, I'm gonna tell you something: all the boys are starting to sound a lot alike. They're all wearing the same kind of hat. And we all wear our own kind of hat and we all sound different. We're individuals, and I'm glad to see some wonderful talent coming up."
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Carlile received the CMT Next Women of Country Impact Award, which is given to a "female artist that has impacted songwriting, recording, radio airplay, record sales, streams, media impressions, awards and touring in country music over the past year." Carlile used her speech to appeal to the industry and to explain the importance of young women hearing themselves on country radio by referencing iconic songs by Trisha Yearwood, the Dixie Chicks and Faith Hill.
"If country music is the story of rural America then what is the story that we're telling to our young girls? I don't know about you guys, but country music raised me. It was the only music I was allowed to listen to; it was the only music I had access to and I'm really proud of that," Carlile said. "What we're hoping and what we're inviting country radio to do is to catch up -- to catch up with the way we already think. I would urge anybody that's involved in country radio -- thank you for listening -- and ask yourself the question every morning before you go to work: 'What do I want my job to say to my daughter today?' Because she's an 'American Girl,' 'She's in Love with the Boy,' she needs 'Wide Open Spaces,' she's a 'Wild One.' She's more than a pair of blue jeans in the cab of a truck."
CMT launched its Next Women of Country franchise to support rising female artists in a male-dominated format. Past Next Women of Country artists include Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Lauren Alaina, RaeLynn and Lindsay Ell. Jennifer Nettles, Sara Evans and Martina McBride have each headlined the CMT Next Women of Country Tour in years past.
CMT Next Women of Country Tour Dates:
Feb. 5 - Vienna, Va. -- The Barns at Wolf Trap
Feb. 6 - Philadelphia, Pa. -- World Cafe Live
Feb. 7 - New York City -- Town Hall
Feb. 20 - Memphis, Tenn. -- Graceland Soundstage at Elvis Presley's Memphis
Feb. 21 - Springfield, Mo. -- Gillioz Theatre
Feb. 22 - Wichita, Kan. -- TempleLive
Feb. 24 - Columbia, Mo. -- The Blue Note
Feb. 25 - Lincoln, Neb. -- Bourbon Theatre
Feb. 27 - Sioux Falls, S.D. -- The District
Feb. 28 - Fargo, N.D. -- Fargo Theatre
Feb. 29 - Hinckley, Minn. -- Grand Casino Hinckley Event Center
March 3 - Guelph, Ontario, Canada -- River Run Centre
March 5 - St Catharines, Ontario, Canada -- FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
March 6 - Woodstock, N.Y. -- Levon Helm Studios
March 7 - Morgantown, W.V. -- Metropolitan Theatre
March 26 - Dallas, Texas @ Dallas, Texas -- The Kessler Theater
March 29 - Houston, Texas -- The Heights Theater
Apr 22 - San Luis Obispo, Calif. -- The Fremont Theater
Apr 29 - Denver, Colo. -- Bluebird Theater
May 9 - Cherokee, N.C. -- Harrah's Cherokee Event Center
May 13 - Roanoke, Va. -- Jefferson Center
May 15 - Royal Oak, Mich. -- Royal Oak Music Theatre
May 16 - Pittsburgh, Pa. -- Roxian Theatre
May 17 - Boston, Mass. -- The Wilbur Theatre
May 20 - Cleveland, Ohio -- House of Blues
May 21 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada -- Danforth Music Hall
May 22 - Albany, N.Y. -- The Egg at the Center for the Performing Arts
May 30 - Beaver Dam, Ky. -- Beaver Dam Amphitheater
June 4 - San Francisco, Calif. -- The Fillmore
June 5 - Sacramento, Calif. -- Crest Theatre
June 6 - Minden, Nev. -- Carson Valley Inn Casino TJ's Corral Outdoor Amphitheater
June 8 - Red Bluff, Calif. -- State Theatre for the Arts
June 10 - Portland, Ore. -- Crystal Ballroom
June 12 - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Vogue Theatre
June 13 - Spokane, Wash. -- The Bing Crosby Theater
June 14 - Seattle, Wash. -- The Showbox
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