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Beyoncé goes country with new song ‘Texas hold ‘em’

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robyl@lopers.unk.edu

Beyoncé’s recent venture into country music has made her the first Black woman to achieve a No. 1 country song. 

Following the airing of a commercial during the Super Bowl, the singles, “Texas Hold ’Em” and “16 Carriages,” previewed her shift toward country music in the upcoming album, tentatively titled “Act II.” 

“Texas Hold ’Em” comes in hot as the smoother, livelier of the two songs while “16 Carriages” takes it down a notch with a slower vibe. Despite the tempo differences, both tracks feel a bit lackluster and slightly dull. Some skeptics are side-eyeing this country detour, suggesting it’s a Grammy grab in a genre where Beyoncé hasn’t made a splash yet. Let’s not forget the 2016 snub when her country tune “Daddy Lessons” got the cold shoulder from the Academy’s country music committee. And, of course, the ongoing narrative of a media-fueled rivalry with Taylor Swift. 

But hold up, there’s a more interesting angle. Beyoncé seems to be staking her claim on country as part of Black musical expression. “16 Carriages” dives into blues and gospel, giving off serious vibes of those work songs by Black field laborers. It’s like she’s flipping the script, transforming the genre.

Adding some cool backstory, Rhiannon Giddens strums the banjo on “Texas Hold ’Em,” bringing in the historic angle. The banjo, a Black invention originating from Africa and making its way to the US through the Caribbean, gets a nod here. Giddens, a music roots guru, links the African American blues and gospel with white folk music.

At the Grammys, Beyoncé wore a cowboy hat as a fun little hint about her new country vibe. It’s like a subtle message for fans to notice. She’s always been good at dropping little clues and surprises for her fans, and this cowboy hat moment is no different. It’s like she’s saying, “Hey, check out my new country side.” This kind of attention to detail keeps fans excited and guessing about what she’s got in store for her upcoming album, “Act II.”

In the end, Beyoncé’s venture into country with “Texas Hold ’Em” and “16 Carriages” might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a strategic move – merging genres with a touch of her Beyonce sparkle. As we gear up for “Act II,” the buzz is real, and I can’t wait to see what Queen Bey has in store.

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Lily Roby, Reporter
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