American music star Beyoncé released her new album Cowboy Carter last week. The singer said the country music record was born of an earlier experience in which she "did not feel welcomed" by the country music industry.

    Country music stars Linda Martell and Willie Nelson are among the album's guest artists. Beyoncé also sings duets with Miley Cyrus and Post Malone and covers the famous Dolly Parton song Jolene.

    Experts and fans say Beyoncé's move into country music is a reclaiming and honoring of the legacy of Black Americans within country music and culture. That history, they argue, has gone largely unrecognized in some mainstream music circles.

    Many Black musicians try to make it in country music but have trouble being accepted by its mostly white fans.

    Negative experience with country fans

    Beyoncé said the record is a reaction to her experience from 2016 when she released the song Daddy Lessons. She performed the song with the country group The Chicks at the Country Music Awards. Some country music fans said Beyoncé did not belong place at the event.

    Beyoncé's Jolene comes with an introduction from Dolly Parton herself. She speaks about Beyonce's song Sorry from 2016, saying that it reminded her of the story in Jolene. Parton and Nelson also appear in other parts of the record, introducing songs like a radio DJ.

    Guest artist Linda Martell was the first Black female singer to appear at the famous Nashville, Tennessee, live music site, The Grand Ole' Opry in 1969.

    Country preview

    In the weeks leading up to the album release, Beyoncé posted images of herself in cowboy hats and other clothing linked to country life. The artist grew up in Houston, Texas, where country music is extremely popular. She has talked in the past about how she is connected to country music and southern culture.

    She called the new record "a deeper dive into the history of Country music."

    Some country music experts say Beyoncé is walking in the footsteps of the Black country singers who came before her. They point to past singers Lesley Riddle and Charley Pride and current singers including Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton and Rhiannon Giddens.

    She released two songs earlier this year – Texas Hold'em and 16 Carriages – using a clear country "twang" and instruments common to country songs. Texas Hold'em recently reached the top spot on Billboard magazine's "Hot Country Songs" chart.
    今年早些时候,她发行了两首歌曲——《Texas Hold'em》和《16 Carriages》——使用了清晰的乡村“鼻音”和乡村歌曲中常见的乐器。德州扑克最近登上了《公告牌》杂志“热门乡村歌曲”排行榜的榜首。

    Just before Cowboy Carter came out, Beyoncé made a post on Instagram. She said "I feel honored to be the first Black woman with the number one single on the Hot Country Songs chart." She went on to say that in the future she hopes people will no longer need to talk about a singer's race when discussing music.

    I'm Dan Friedell.