For today’s Female Friday, I turn to the Texas scene to focus on a very underrated female, Courtney Patton.
How You Might Know Courtney
If you aren’t very familiar with the Texas scene, you probably won’t know her. If you are, she is the wife of better-known Texas artist Jason Eady.
From a 2014 interview with Galleywinter, on her musical influences:
Don Williams, James Taylor, old Willie Nelson. I love Carole King. She’s mellow, a killer songwriter back in the hippie days, and I grew up listening to that because that’s what my mom listened to. Joni Mitchell’s album Court and Spark, it’s real mellow too. Steve Wariner, ya know, like slow good, waltz-y country.
From a 2015 interview with Saving Country Music, when asked, “What is country music to Courtney Patton?”
Country music to me is simple stories with beautiful words with a simple melody and beautiful arrangement. And it’s cheap therapy to me (laughter).
Courtney Patton is gaining quite a reputation in the Texas music scene for those “simple stories with beautiful words with a simple melody and beautiful arrangement.” A singer-songwriter from Granbury, Texas, Courtney has independently released three albums, each with its own unique sound. Still Around (2008) is characterized by acoustic guitars and a mixture of traditional country and country-pop arrangements. Triggering a Flood (2013) brought Courtney her first real critical acclaim; this is a typical Texas country album, with a sound very similar to much of the red dirt music coming out of Oklahoma and Texas. So This is Life (2015) is, in Courtney’s own words, “a traditional country record”–Courtney raised funds for this on Kickstarter with this type of album in mind. So This is Life was
my introduction to Courtney, with its acoustic arrangements and excellent songwriting. I was immediately captured by her voice, and became a Courtney Patton fan the day I first heard her album. Since then, I have listened to her earlier albums as well, finding songs on both Triggering a Flood and Still Around that I enjoyed. Courtney Patton and Jason Eady have discussed a future duets album, which will likely be the next album to come from either of them, and that day cannot come soon enough because Jason Eady is incredible as well.
Since this column is about the promotion and discovery of talented females, it is important to share that in the SCM interview, Courtney was asked about females in the Texas music scene, as well as the Keith Hill controversy. It’s as hard, if not harder, for females to be successful in Texas as it is in Nashville. Courtney said,
It is incredibly hard for female artists. I’ve even admitted to being one of the females that prefers listening to men and I don’t even know why that is. I think there are a lot of really strong female writers out there right now that are proving me wrong. And that’s so great. I think that there’s always been more men since music has been around but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t just as many great women that aren’t being heard. I know that guy [Keith Hill] was a consultant and I know that he feels like he was misquoted a lot. Jason [Eady] and I went back and read what he wrote and he was just saying what he saw. But it’s a hurtful way to deliver a message that if radio stations play more women singers, their ratings will go down. I hate that. I’d like to say that’s radio’s problem for not figuring it out correctly. Our local radio guy, one of my favorite radio host’s named Shayne Hollinger, said, “There’s no reason for you not to play women because they’re out there and some of them are better than the men.” I believe that. I believe that there’s some really talented women out there that are better than some of the men that are being played. We just need to shut up and do our work and prove it. That problem has been there forever for women
Patton went on to say that men and women have different points of view and can tell different stories when writing songs.
Women are mothers and can be wise in those ways. They can be spouses to addicts and speak from being abused. There’s so many different ways to write a country song and it’s important to hear it from the woman’s perspective. Women can have subtleties that guys don’t. I don’t know. All I know is that I’m all for it (laughter). All my girlfriends are fantastic songwriters and singers and I know that much of what they’re doing can’t be done by a guy. And there’s things that guys can do that we can’t. It really takes both of us. I just hope that there’s as close to a level playing field as there can be because they deserve to be heard. I hope to be heard.
Why Courtney Belongs on Country Radio
Firstly, I am not going to use this to talk about why Texas and/or independent artists should get airplay and recognition by mainstream Nashville–that is its own point entirely and could cover multiple posts. This is about what Courtney brings to the table in the Texas scene and in country music as a whole. The answer is simple: her definition of country–“simple stories with beautiful words with a simple melody and beautiful arrangement.” Whenever someone asks you how you define “country”–and that happens a lot these days because apparently that definition has magically changed–refer them to this. Courtney Patton’s answer is the best possible answer, and her music is a wonderful reflection of her answer. Her songs tell about her parents’ divorce, (“So This is Life,”) one-night stands, (“Little Black Dress,” “Need for Wanting,” “Sure am Glad,”) marital problems, (“Battle These Blues,” “Her Next Move,” “Where I’ve Been,”) prison (“Killing Time,”)–and by the way, all those examples come from one album. That, my friends, is country. It’s raw and real, and there’s something relatable about that that Courtney Patton understands. Then, she takes all these songs and adds acoustic guitars, steel guitars, fiddles–and in the case of Triggering a Flood, a good Texas country blend of country and rock instrumentation–and her remarkable voice, and makes you feel something with nearly every song she sings. And by the way, someone needs to give Jason Aldean a Courtney Patton record, because I guarantee he will be able to tell her apart from the other women–if not, he is tone deaf and no one should be taking him seriously anyway.
Tracks I Recommend
1. “War of Art”–So This is Life
2. “Lamplight”–Triggering a Flood
3. “Need for Wanting”–So This is Life
4. “So This is Life”–So This is Life
5. “Little Black Dress”–So This is Life
6. “Where I’ve Been”–So This is Life [by the way, Jason Eady wrote this, which accounts for part of its awesomeness]
7. “Sure Am Glad”–So This is Life
8. “Better Man”–Triggering a Flood
9. “Light Fades”–Triggering a Flood
10. “Twelve Days”–So This is Life
11. “Ain’t Lovin’ Like This”–Triggering a Flood
12. “Still Around”–Still Around