For more than four decades the songwriter, New York Times best-selling author (The Wind Done Gone), and acclaimed educator Alice Randall has been one of the few Black female writers on Nashville’s Music Row, and the first to pen a #1 hit (Trisha Yearwood’s "XXXs and OOOs"). And while she has seen her songs recorded by multiple generations of country artists - from Glen Campbell and Mo Bandy, to Marie Osmond and Yearwood - none of those artists looked like her. Until now.
On April 12, Oh Boy Records will release My Black Country, a collection of Randall’s most beloved songs as interpreted by some of the strongest Black female voices in modern country, roots and folk music including Rhiannon Giddens, Saaneah Jamison, Valerie June, Miko Marks, Leyla McCalla, Rissi Palmer, Allison Russell, Sistastrings, Adia Victoria, Sunny War, and Alice’s daughter Caroline Randall Williams.
Pre-Save My Black Country here: https://orcd.co/myblackcountry
Produced by Ebonie Smith - whose credits include Hamilton, Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy, Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer, Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and more - My Black Country is an exploration of the history of Black contributions to the country, roots and folk genres, and a poignant reclamation of Randall's own work depicting powerful Black narratives.
To coincide with the album announcement, Oh Boy Records is sharing "Went for a Ride," performed by singer-songwriter Adia Victoria. Listen to the single here
Reflecting on her work, Alice Randall says “Because all the singers of my songs had been white, because country has white-washed black lives out of country space, most of my audience assumed the stars of my songs were all white. I wanted to rescue my Black characters. This album does that; it centers black female creativity, but it welcomes co-creators and allies from a myriad of identities. This is the good harvest: abundant love and beauty for all.”
Of the project, Fiona Prine says “It’s been one of the highlights of my career to have worked on this important project. I am humbled that Alice trusted me with her ideas and dreams. These are important songs with lyrics that speak to today. Oh Boy Records is proud and excited to introduce this project to the world”
Adia Victoria says “To join the circle of Black women coming together to re-imagine the songs and stories of Alice Randall was the definition of blues work. This is the work of reclaiming, re-conjuring, re-centering and resurfacing Black, Southern storytelling that has too long been denied its due outside the “qualifier” of Whiteness. The Storybook of Alice Randall allows for a closer listening—a truer listening—to the lives and stories of the Black Southern women I always imagined living the lyrics in Alice’s songs.”
The My Black Country album release will coincide with the publication of Alice’s memoir of the same name, out April 9 on Atria/Black Privilege Publishing via Simon & Schuster. Alice wrote the book to honor the pioneering figures of Black Country and to chronicle her own four-decade journey through the genre.
Stay tuned for news and events celebrating My Black Country, to be announced soon.
My Black Country Tracklist:
Small Towns - Leyla McCalla
Girls Ride Horses - SistaStrings
Went for a Ride - Adia Victoria
Sally Anne - Rhiannon Giddens
Solitary Hero - Sunny War
Cry - Miko Marks
Many Mansions - Allison Russell
Get The Hell Outta Dodge - Saaneah Jamison
Who’s Minding The Garden - Rissi Palmer
Big Dream - Valerie June
XXX’s and OOO’s - Caroline Randall Williams
About Alice Randall:
Alice Randall, a distinguished professor, songwriter, and author with a “lively, engaging, and often wise” (The New York Times Book Review) voice, stands as a trailblazer in Nashville, making her mark as one of the few Black Country songwriters in the city. Her notable contributions extend to legendary artists like Trisha Yearwood and Johnny Cash. Drawing inspiration from the first family of Black country music, including DeFord Bailey, Lil Hardin, Ray Charles, Charley Pride, and Herb Jeffries, Randall finds solace in their history. My Black Country emerges as a celebration of the quintessentially American music genre, highlighting the profound influence of Black culture on the country.