We are deep into a strange winter in Asheville, my neck of the woods, and it’s about this time of year that we all could use a pick-me-up…a reminder that, yes, the trees will leaf out again and yes!, in a matter of months we will be swimming and grilling. For this particular motivation I’m calling on some angels – specifically, the sassy darlings of 90s pop country – to bring in some light. Whether it’s hitting the open road or getting over some jerk, these ladies belt out the collective message of “I am moving on.”
Ready for an uplifting, fresh start? LeAnn Rimes’ “One Way Ticket (Because I Can)” and Martina McBride’s “The Time Has Come” are both such positive post-breakup songs that have you dreaming about new adventures and forgetting about the past—and the LeAnn Rimes video is pretty great, think pop country meets Clueless. In one of her more upbeat singles of this decade, “How Was I to Know?,” the great Reba McEntire reminds us with her commanding voice to put our faith in ourselves because we are tougher than we know.
“How was I to know I would be this strong, I had what it takes all along…
What I was so afraid of?
Turned out to be my freedom in disguise. Now I know what I’m made of.”
Or would you rather hear a sassier take on moving on? In the karmic “Blame It on Your Heart,” Patty Loveless uses perhaps the most adjectives ever to describe a scoundrel in a song:
“Hey blame it on your lying, cheating, cold deadbeating, two-timing, double dealing, mean mistreating, loving heart.”
Deanna Carter calls bullshit in “Did I Shave My Legs For This?” and harkens back to early (equally sassy) Loretta and Dolly songs that tell their fellas to shape up. And if you had any doubts about if these ladies were serious, Lorrie Morgan tells her man after he took her for granted one too many times, “Cab on the street, Hand on the door, Bag at my feet, Need I say more, Oh, watch me…Oh, just watch me walk away.”
The only thing I like more than a feisty “done me wrong” song is one about the escape of the road. Jo Dee Messina’s “Heads Carolina, Tails California” is so dang catchy and seriously has me craving those long summer drives with the windows down. With the same vibe, but a different sound, the late 90s hit from the Dixie Chicks, “Ready to Run,” does the country/pop “crossover” that really took off during that decade.
I threw a couple romantic songs onto Throwing Caution to the Wind for good measure, like Pam Tillis’s “Maybe it was Memphis,” a tune about summer love that will have you swooning from her serious powerhouse vocals. And I really couldn’t help putting Mary Chapin Carpenter’s version of Lucinda Williams’ “Passionate Kisses.” I dig a love song that exclaims “Give me what I deserve, ’cause it’s my right.” The finale is Wynonna’s “Girls with Guitars,” to celebrate all these badass artists.
These songs tackle heartbreak, call people out, and celebrate the good times with a particular audacious vibe – one of freedom, letting go, and praising your own strengths. So let’s escape this cold winter, channel some of this sass, and imagine throwing your hands up to the sunny skies and singing, a la Faith Hill, “I’m a wild one – runnin’ free!”
Keep cozy, y’all. Spring is right around the corner.
- Faith Hill – Wild One
- Patty Loveless – Blame It On Your Lyin’ Cheatin’ Heart
- Pam Tillis – Maybe it was Memphis
- Jo Dee Messina – Heads Carolina, Tails California
- Reba – How Was I to Know?
- Shania Twain – Whose bed have your boots been under?
- Leann Rimes – One Way Ticket (Because I Can)
- Trisha Yearwood – She’s In Love With The Boy
- Dixie Chicks – Ready to Run
- Deanna Carter – Did I Shave My Legs for This?
- Suzy Bogguss – Drive South
- Mindy McCready – A Girl’s Gotta Do (What a Girl’s Gotta Do)
- Martina McBride – The Time Has Come
- Mary Chapin Carpenter – Passionate kisses
- Terri Clark – Better Things To Do
- Lorrie Morgan – Watch Me
- Wynonna – Girls with guitars