Between her reality TV show “I Love Kellie Pickler” and co-hosting the to-be-titled lifestyle talk show produced by Faith Hill, it seems like recording new music has been on the back burner for Kellie Pickler. “Seems” being the key word here, because fans may not have to wait another year for a new single or album anymore.
Last Friday night, Kellie Pickler took the stage at Ascends Amphitheatre to perform as part of the CMA x Cracker Barrel’s “Ladies of Country” night. The stellar lineup included many talented acts like Sara Evans, Kelleigh Bannen, Natalie Stovall, Danielle Bradberry, Aubrie Sellers and Ruthie Collins.
On top of familiar hits like “Red High Heels,” “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” and the fan-favorite “Ring For Sale.” Pickler also took the opportunity to perform a brand new song for the very first time. It’s what I’d like to call, the ‘older sister’ of her 2006 cut, “My Angel.”
“If If Wasn’t For A Woman” was co-written on the anniversary of Pickler’s grandma’s passing with her husband, Kyle Jacobs, and their good Friend, Brian Bunn.
In all honesty, this ballad is everything I personally love about country music. It captures the core of what this genre is about: storytelling. Poignant, real-life, hurt, truth and a little heartbreaking; these are some words I’d use to describe the song.
“Sometimes when I miss her, I can still hear her sweet words; ‘I love you,’ ‘be safe’- I wouldn’t be here today, if it wasn’t for a woman.”
It’s a sad but affirming song that pays heartfelt tribute to that one woman in Pickler’s life, “Grandma Faye” as she calls her and the blessings that have come forth from her guidance.
In the chorus, the North Carolina-native flawlessly encapsulates the indispensable and dear role the woman she called Mom played in her life.
“Lead me by the hand / help me understand / teach me wrong from right / praying for me at night / I’d be half the woman I am, if it wasn’t for a woman.”
And as if the song wasn’t good enough, listeners are hit with a tearful visual imagery of Pickler being ever so proud and touched by the loving role her grandma played in her life.
“Saw your face in a photograph / Asked who’s this beauty with a bible in her hand / I said she’s my angel, and I’m the girl who wouldn’t know how to face the world if it wasn’t for a woman”
Like the great Kitty Wells, Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline and other pioneer ladies of country, you can hear the tear in her voice in this soaring ballad.
So, with all that said, did the risk to perform a brand new song without the tempo of “Best Days of Your Life” or “No Cure For Crazy” actually work? I’d say, YES. Don’t just take it from me. After all, I wasn’t there at the concert. This is just based on recorded footage. But in the video below, you can hear an audience member shout “Oh, SO GOOD” affirmatively at the end of the song. That and the slew of tweets that praised the piano-driven track. Man, it’s gonna be a sure hit for fans of this authentic storytelling genre!
From her debut album Small Town Girl; to the very pop-leaning sophomore self-titled record; to the critically-acclaimed 100 Proof that paid homage to her traditional roots; and The Woman I Am, which saw Pickler blend the traditional country elements with some country-pop flare, the 30-year-old has explored it all. With the 2nd album, it was no surprise that Pickler compromised and conformed to the typical major label pressures of putting out an album that pandered to the growing country-pop demand from radio.
What I hope to see more of in her music, though, is the constant revisitation of those traditional country elements, heart-wrenching ballads (that she always shines on) and being true to herself.
Renowned producer Luke Wooten (100 Proof, The Woman I Am) also recently shared on Caroline Hobby’s podcast that Pickler tearfully told him (when she first heard the mix for “100 Proof”),
“It’s the first time I’m hearing my voice come out of the speakers”
So hey, if her independence is going to offer us songs like this (and more) then maybe being without a label arm is not a bad thing after all- especially when you get full creative control on what you want to put out to the fans. Looking forward to more songs like this, and her 5th album.
Check out “If It Wasn’t For A Woman” below. Hope it touches you guys like it touched me. And, if you like this song, start sharing the video and this piece! As an independent act, feedback and word-of-mouths play an integral part in new music releases.
p.s.: Right now, this is the only (fan-recorded) video available online. It may not be the best quality, but you can still hear possibly every word Pickler sings. I’m not one to enjoy watching fan-recorded concert footage because of its quality, but trust me when I say this is one that you’d not want to miss.