Mickey Guyton, 32, introduced herself to the Bakersfield crowd who came to see what she was all about at the famous Buck Owens Crystal Palace on Saturday night. The new female artist came on just after Monty Byrom and The Buckaroos’ hour-long set, with plenty of energy and spunk to go around, but more importantly great music with a positive message.
I immediately fell in love with Guyton’s first single, “Better Than You Left Me,” when I heard it on the radio months ago, though I’d never heard of her at the time. I hate to say it, but these days I’m always a bit leery of new artists, because while they might have a great first single, you never know where the rest of their portfolio is going to take them. I started following her on Twitter and grew more and more obsessed with the song, quoting its lyrics on Facebook any chance I could. Not long after, she released a 4-song EP, and I fell in love with her even more. With much of the ‘bro country’ floating around these days, it’s rare for one, to hear from a female and one that has recognizable nods to an old time country song, like Loretta or Dolly might’ve done. Guyton has done that, but with a fresh and contemporary sound that pulls in a new audience.
I figured she’d be good, and I’m a big fan already of her singing and songwriting, but I wasn’t necessarily prepared to be that floored. As I’ve seen before, you can have such high hopes for a live performance, only to be let down. That was not the case with Guyton. I walked away knowing that I was in the presence of a true star. Not only did she make hitting those high notes appear so effortless, but she did so with such grace and charisma. Guyton was a natural as she told the stories behind the songs she sang, such as “Pretty Little Mustang” and of course, “Better Than You Left Me.” She even sang a few extra songs, including a cover of Patty Loveless’ “Blame It On Your Heart” and songs that Guyton had previously written.
The singer noted that many women in country music had influenced her career, such as Faith Hill and Patsy Cline, but decided that she wanted to try this career professionally when she saw a then 10-year-old LeAnn Rimes, sing The National Anthem at a Rangers game in Texas. It’s easy to see that Guyton has drawn from their style and the songs they’ve recorded, but she is doing her own thing and it’s refreshing to see. She not only acknowledges that, yes, the country music is changing and evolving, but she has a respect and reverence for that which came before her, and not many do today. I think I’d be so bold to say that if Patsy Cline were still around today, she would be a huge fan of this girl’s voice and where her career is heading.
After her 30-minute set ended, the singer, met with fans in the foyer of the restaurant/venue. She greeted everyone with hugs and was willing to sign CDs that were for sale, as well as take photos. I was able to meet with her and tell her how much I loved the EP, especially “Somebody Else Will.” “That’s my jam,” she told me. I replied back with, “Oh, it’s definitely mine, too!” She asked if I was going through a breakup, and I told her that I had awhile back, so that song was just a good reminder, which she returned with another hug. She signed my CD, then I told her I would be going to Nashville in a couple of weeks and asked if she had any recommendations. She said that I had to go to Loveless Café and I said we’d been there a couple times, and that ACME is really good, which I’ve been hearing a lot about. I also mentioned that we had talked a couple times on Twitter, so she said she’d have to go through her mentions to see, because she really loves being able to see the connection. Soon, she had to meet with the next in line, so I thanked her, we quickly said goodbye and she said “it was nice to meet you, Shelby.”
Having a beautiful voice and writing songs can make you successful, sure. But, in country music, I can’t stress enough just how the connection between its fans and the artists, is what really helps the longevity of a career. Look at people like Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban and countless other artists. It’s about being relatable and recognizing that we’re all just people trying to make it through this crazy thing called life. I think Guyton will be one of the many added to that list. She took the time to care and that’s why so many people gravitate to country music. I might start off as a fan because of the song on the radio, but I’m going to stick around because of the heart and compassion behind the artist.
I am so glad that country radio, its fans and even fellow artists are starting to take notice for the demand of female singers. Mickey Guyton is going to be a huge star, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for her…And how many other people start to catch on as we go.
That’s all for now,