We’ve written before about songwriter and out lesbian Brandy Clark and her amazing ability to make the conservative country music industry swoon with her liberal lyrics, and she’s at it again. Last night’s CMAs have been the talk of country music fans today for various reasons, from Brad Paisley revealing the gender of Carrie Underwood’s baby, to Miranda Lambert’s triumphant collaboration with Meghan Trainor to adapt Trainor’s hit “All About That Bass,” but what’s just as exciting is that Brandy Clark was the only woman (and certainly the only lesbian) nominated for this year’s Best New Artist award, and the controversial song “Follow Your Arrow,” that she cowrote with Shane McAnally and its singer Kacey Musgraves was honored yet again by the country music industry.
“Make lots of noise/Kiss lots of boys/or kiss lots of girls/if that’s something you’re into” encourages the song, clearly targeted at women. The line has caused quite a bit of stir as it’s possibly the first time country music has outwardly condoned homosexual behavior, but the controversy has faded into the backdrop of the song’s success. The song won this year’s Song of the Year, one of the highest honors in country music. Brandy Clark reports that fellow artist Vince Gill stopped her after the ceremony to congratulate her, saying “You just won the biggest award you can ever win. I know, I’ve won them all and this one means the most to me,” which Clark says “about sums it up!”
“Our genre was built on simple, good songs about real life and that’s what this is,” said Musgraves in her acceptance speech. Simple though it may be, the song is groundbreaking as well, as openly advocating for same-sex marriage is not something that we could imagine seeing in country music just a short while ago.
What’s even more impressive is that “Follow Your Arrow” was up against such hefty competition, like Miranda Lambert’s hugely popular “Automatic” which was almost sure to win big after such a successful year.
Clark and Musgraves are two of only fourteen female songwriters who have ever won in the Song of the Year category and not one of their fellow musicians seemed surprised by the outcome, least of all Clark’s tour mate Eric Church who stood on stage and applauded while Clark and Musgraves accepted their award. Church has been a supporter of Clark since she released her very successful first album last year.