As 2014 comes to a close, Country Perspective will be handing out a number of awards to the artists, songs, and albums we covered over the year. We’ll be crowning the best of the best and the worst of the worst. Very much like last year, this year featured some great album releases from female artists that brought some of the best country music in 2014. Some of these women had strong debut albums, others added to an already strong catalog, and all are a wonderful representation of country music. Regardless of their respective stories, these seven women are making some of the best country music today, and their work this year is worthy of being nominated for Country Perspective’s Best Female Country Artist of the Year.
Awards will be handed out in mid-late December. Josh and I will deliberate and reach the final decisions together, but we will also take reader input into consideration. So if you have a strong opinion about an artist listed here feel free to comment below and let us know. Who knows, you may sway the vote! In going over nominees this year, we believe that this particular category is a tough to award because, quite frankly, these women all have a reasonable case to be crowned as Country Perspective’s top female artist.
- Sunny Sweeney – Sunny’s third album, Provoked, was met with critical acclaim. The album was a great collection of honest, personal songs, most of which Sunny co-wrote. She delivers these songs with passion and emotions that add to each song’s story. Provoked also featured several song of the year worthy tracks, one of which can be found on our list of Song of the Year. In my opinion, Sunny has the perfect blend of classic and contemporary country sounds, and the consistency of her music, in both sound and quality cannot be overlooked.
Lee Ann Womack – Fans waited and waited for Womack’s next album and were finally treated to The Way I’m Livin’ this year. Another album that was not only met with critical acclaim, but also received a Grammy nomination for Country Album of the Year. Her song, “When I Come Around” is also featured on our list for Song of the Year. And who could forget Womack’s beautiful tribute to Alan Jackson at the 2014 CMT Awards? Alongside Kacey Musgraves, the Texas women sang Jackson’s “Livin’ on Love” in honor of his Impact Award. Country music certainly missed Lee Ann Womack and she made a roaring return this year.
- Kacey Musgraves – Kacey’s sole official release this year was her single “The Trailer Song”, but she had a huge presence and impact around the award show grounds over the year. Kacey Musgraves is doing everything in her power to bring the roots of country music back to the spotlight. Her duet at CMT Awards with Lee Ann Womack was without a doubt a big moment from this year. At the 2014 CMA Awards, Musgraves not only had a great performance with the one and only Loretta Lynn, but Musgraves’ hit single, “Follow Your Arrow”, was awarded Song of the Year. “Do you guys realize what this means for country music?!” Musgraves exclaimed in her acceptance speech. Kacey Musgraves may just be the most important artist in the mainstream light right now.
Angaleena Presley – Angaleena Presley got her start as a songwriter, penning numerous songs on country trio The Pistol Annies’ first two albums. Presley released her first solo debut album, American Middle Class, this year, and it did not disappoint. Simple, honest songs about the hardships and struggles of small town America. Presley is a gifted songwriter whose stories represent the history of how country music was built.
- Lucette – This Canadian country singer has what I personally consider the most impressive debut album of 2014. Black is The Color is a chilling, brilliant collection of songs with great writing and vocals. Dave Cobb’s production on this album is phenomenal, and Lucette’s “River Rising” is a Song of the Year candidate. Some select dates of Lucette’s tour this year also features Sturgill Simpson. Basically, Lucette is surrounding herself with the right people, and she certainly has a bright musical future.
Karen Jonas – Yet another impressive debut album. A dark collection of classic country and blues, Karen Jonas’ Oklahoma Lottery is downright amazing. Great songwriting, fantastic instrumentation, and Jonas’ voice is haunting. This is another singer who I’m excited to see develop and grow in the country music world. You’ll find the title track from the album on our Song of the Year list, and rightfully so. Karen Jonas jumped onto the scene this year and made quite the impact.
- Tami Neilson – This New Zealand country star is in one word, spectacular. Tami’s sound is straight out of the 1950s, and her new album, Dynamite!, is a great showcase of what Tami Neilson is capable of: great vocals that carry each song and perfectly convey the emotions appropriate for the subject matter. Her albums have been critically acclaimed and awarded several times in New Zealand, and it’s hard to imagine that Dynamite! won’t fare differently. Tami Neilson is an absolute gem to listen to.
Please share your thoughts and help us decide who to crown as Country Perspective’s Best Female Country Artist of 2014. This category is full of worthy candidates who all deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments this year. Your comments and votes will certainly be helpful in determining the outcome of this award. If you haven’t already, check out the rest of our nominations for our awards: best male singer, best duo or group, best and worst albums, and best and worst songs of 2014.