Feb 12, 2024 - News

Some of Beyoncé's country collaborators have Nashville ties

Beyoncé performs onstage

Beyoncé in 2023. Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood

Beyoncé enlisted some familiar names to craft her new exploration of country music.

Zoom in: "Texas Hold 'Em" opens with a charging banjo riff care of the celebrated folk musician Rhiannon Giddens, who has made her mark in Nashville.

  • Giddens, a North Carolina native, appeared on two seasons of the "Nashville" TV show and co-wrote the score for the ballet "Lucy Negro Redux," which the Nashville Ballet premiered in 2019.
  • She has also helped draw attention to the African origins of the banjo and the ways African-American musicians shaped the country and folk genres.

What she's saying: In a Facebook post, Giddens said the timing of the release took her by surprise — she secretly worked on the song two years ago.

  • Giddens said her hope is that "it might lead a few more intrepid folks into the exciting history of the banjo."
  • She's using the added attention to shine a light on the Black musicians who have kept the instrument's rich and diverse history alive.

Meanwhile, the emotional ballad "16 Carriages" features Nashville's Justin Schipper as one of the players on steel guitar. He's been nominated multiple times for best steel guitar player at the Academy of Country Music Awards and has played with Kelsea Ballerini and Lee Ann Womack, among countless others.

  • In an Instagram post, Schipper described his experience in the Beyhive as "a bucket list moment."
  • "So proud to be a part of this," he said, calling Beyoncé "an icon and generational talent."

Go deeper: The Tennessean wrote about more Nashville connections woven into Beyoncé's new music.

What's next: Beyoncé's full-length country album, "Act II," is expected March 29.


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