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“Cowboy Carter,” Beyoncé’s first country album, has arrived


Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has officially gone country with the release Friday of her new album, “Cowboy Carter.”

The Houston native’s eighth album features 27 song tracks and guest appearances from some of country music’s biggest stars, including Willie Nelson, Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton, whose 1973 hit “Jolene” is one of two covers featured. 

“I think people are going to be surprised because I don’t think this music is what everyone expects,” Beyoncé said in a statement Friday. “But it’s the best music I’ve ever made,” said the 42-year-old, considered the one of the top-grossing music artists of all time.

Upon its release, “Cowboy Carter” jumped to the No. 2 spot on Apple Music. Excitement over the much-anticipated release led some celebrities to post Western-themed pics of themselves on social media.

The lead single on the album “Texas Hold ‘Em,” also grabbed first place in the country music category on Billboard’s Hot 100, making Beyoncé the first Black woman to top the country music charts.  

Both Nancy Sinatra and Dolly Parton signaled their approval of Beyoncé’s use of their songs in a pair of social media posts late Friday.

“To have a little piece of one of my records in a Beyonce song is very meaningful to me because I love her,” Sinatra said of the sample used in “Ya Ya.” “She represents what is great about today’s music and I’m delighted to be a tiny part of it. This may be the best sample of “Boots” yet! And the beat goes on.”

And in maybe one of the more anticipated songs on the album, Beyoncé’s remake of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” got the Queen of Country’s love.

“Wow, I just heard Jolene. Beyoncé is giving that girl some trouble and she deserves it!” Parton said on social media.

Heavy buzz around the new album began last month with the debut of “Texas Hold ‘Em” during Super Bowl LVIII. Soon after, the country single hit No. 1 in both the U.S. and U.K., marking the first time since 2003 that Beyoncé had a chart-topper in both countries at the same time.

Cover art for “Cowboy Carter” which jumped to the No. 2 spot on Apple Music. The lead single on the album “Texas Hold ‘Em,” grabbed first place in the country music category on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Blair Caldwell

Beyoncé said she drew inspiration for the album, in part, from growing up in Texas and watching performances at the Houston Rodeo. She said it took five years to finish Cowboy Carter and she wanted songs throughout the album to sound more down-home, given that a lot of music produced these days is heavily computer-aided.

“With artificial intelligence and digital filters and programming, I wanted to go back to real instruments, and I used very old ones,” Beyoncé said. “All the sounds were so organic and human, everyday things like the wind, snaps and even the sound of birds and chickens, the sounds of nature.”

It will take weeks before record labels Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records can generate album sales figures. Beyoncé’s previous album, “Renaissance,” has sold more than one million copies, including downloads and streams, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

“Texas Hold ‘Em” was at the center of an uproar last month when a country music station in Oklahoma refused to play the song, leading some Beyoncé fans to accuse the station of racism.

After being flooded by emails, calls and more requests for the song, the station agreed to add the single to its playlist. Roger Harris, the stations’ general manager, said his staff listened to the song and agreed that it sounded “country.” 

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