Live Review: CMT Next Women of Country Artists Shine on the City Winery Stage

Any event put on by CMT Next Women of Country (NWOC) is sure to excite. It’s a fostering community that seeks to build up women who are starting to stake their claim in the genre. On Wednesday night (April 24), several up-and-coming performers (alongside a few heavyweight mentors) gave an audience at Nashville’s City Winery a taste of what they have to offer. Spoiler, it was a delight from start to finish.

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Among the performers were Abbey Cone, Chapel Hart, Clare Dunn, HunterGirl, Kylie Frey, Mackenzie Carpenter, Reyna Roberts, Roberta Lea, Stephanie Quayle, and Twinnie. Each of the women wowed the audience with their unique stories and diverse musicality.

[RELATED: CMT Announces Next Women of Country Class of 2024: Ella Langley, HunterGirl, Tigirlily Gold, and More]

The event was co-hosted by CMT’s Leslie Fram, Priscilla Block, and Colbie Caillat. Fram, SVP, Music & Talent at CMT, is a guiding force in NWOC.

“For the past 10 years, this franchise has represented the best and brightest new talent in all of country music, and this year is no exception,” Fram said in a press statement. “From the UK and Canada to California and the deep South, these women all have their own unique stories to tell, and we can’t wait to introduce them to CMT audiences in creative and meaningful ways.”

Photo: Gina Di Maio

Each of the women indeed had a story to tell–by way of meaningful discussions and their lyrics. The first round of performers included Carpenter, Roberts, Twinnie, Lea, and Dunn. From up-tempo bangers to fun-loving anthems to heart-wrenching ballads, each song appealed to the audience in its own way.

A few highlights from the first round included Carpenter’s ode to “Huntin’ Season,” Roberts’ unparalleled vocal chops (recently heard on Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter album), Twinnie’s emotive songwriting, Lea’s fun-loving “Girl Trip,” and Dunn’s poignant ballad choice.

The second round included Frey, Chapel Hart, Quayle, HunterGirl, and Cone. This crop of performers was equally as enticing. Frey’s use of a fiddle brought a classic country vibe to the stage, Chapel Hart was as jubilant and funny as ever (not to mention their stunning harmonies), Quayle led with her signature candor, HunterGirl wowed with her pitch-perfect vocals, and Cone finished things out strong.

In the middle of the two rounds, Caillat and Block came out to perform a song of their own. It was a treat for the audience to hear from two fairly-established acts among the fresh voices.

The NWOC events are a great format for discovering new music. It shines a light on outstanding female voices that you’ll not soon forget.

Photo: Gina Di Maio

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