Kane Brown, Pistol Annies and Country Music’s Inclusion Problem

At the 52nd annual Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday, a sense of stasis dominated. Chris Stapleton won his usual retinue of awards. Many men took the stage to sing. Though Kacey Musgraves won album of the year, women were by and large relegated to the fringes.

And as usual, the ceremony did an imperfect job of capturing the most intriguing corners of the genre. Kane Brown, one of country’s most promising young stars, wasn’t granted a performance slot. Sam Hunt was nowhere to be found.

Country’s internal dramas are perennial, but this tug of war between the genre as it advertises itself and the genre as it’s actually evolving feels particularly tense right now. This week’s Popcast discusses the current moment in country music: the CMAs, new albums by Kane Brown and Pistol Annies, and the next iteration of gentlemen bro singers.

On this week’s Popcast:

Nick Murray, a freelance music writer who covers country music

Natalie Weiner, a music and sports journalist who is a staff writer at SB Nation

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