Lainey Wilson on the road to fame, stops by Visalia along the way

Lainey Wilson plans to hit downtown Visalia on January 2023 to perform her new album, “Bell Bottom Country”

VISALIA – An up-and-coming country artist pinned the Fox Theatre on her radar, and will hit the stage with “flare” this January.

On Jan. 14, 2023 country artist Lainey Wilson will be paying Visalia fans a visit at the city’s most historic theater. This concert is part of her “Country With a Flare” tour, where fans can expect to hear hits from her newest album, “Bell Bottom Country.” Though Wilson has been on the grind for over 10 years, it is only recently that she has garnered recognition, earning herself the title of Academy Of Country Music Awards New Female of the Year 2022, and a six-time CMA Award nominee. This comes after years of Nashville’s female artists getting the back burner, according to a study from Song Data

Her journey began deep in Louisiana, singing at convenience stores as a child. She officially began her music career a decade ago when she moved to Nashville, but it never took flight until one of her songs went platinum, “Things a Man Oughta Know,” which is an ode to passed-down family wisdom. The song “topped the charts” for country music, according to the Fox Theater press release. Her song “Never Say Never,” topped the charts next after two weeks of releasing, according to the Fox Theater’s press release. Another single, “Heart Like a Truck” is Top 25.

However, Wilson’s journey to the top was no easy feat. According to Song Data, female country artists have a much harder time getting to the top of the charts. In a study by Song Data, they found that the Billboard’s Country Airplay Top 20 chart was exclusively men for weeks straight in 2018, a trend they would see over again for years to come. According to Billboard’s Jim Asker, the trend of female artists being few in country music was nothing new, but to not make the Top 20 was unheard of.

“This gender construct, perpetuated by the industry and embedded in the broader country music discourse, has served as a powerful exclusionary tool that has obscured and indeed limited the contributions of female artists,” Dr. Jada Watson said in the study.

The sudden drop of female artists in the Top 20 in 2018 led Watson to investigate. Over the course of 81 weeks, she found that men held the No. 1 position on the chart for 95% of the time. Only a few female artists are given much air time, barely breaking through on the charts, leaving the rest in muddy water, according to the study. This makes Wilson’s chart-toppers one of few performed by female artists.

Despite the lack of representation in the music industry, Wilson is still becoming a notable name in the world of country music, whether it be getting featured in the hit television series Yellowstone, or having co-written songs performed by Luke Combs and Flatland Cavalry.

Wilson went on to be deemed Country Music Television’s “Breakout Artist of the Year” award for 2022. She’s known for her retro flair, often touting bell bottomed jeans, orange and red hues and her traditional “honkey tonk” western shirts. She is set to head to Visalia, but also plans to play in Reno, the Grand Ole Opry House and many other notable country venues. 

Now, Wilson, along with a new era of female artists, has jumped on the stages of venues across the world, performing in the U.S., the United Kingdom and in Germany. She’s toured with artists such as Jon Pardi, Combs, Morgan Wallen, Jason Aldean and Ashley McBryde.

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