Welcome to my overview of women in country music, with reviews ranging from folk and bluegrass to honkytonk, rockabilly and Nashville pop. This is the first page covering the letter "H."
Brittany Haas "Brittany Haas" (Ook, 2004)
An early solo album from fiddler Brittany Haas, of the band Crooked Still...
Connie Hall "Connie Hall" (Decca, 1962) (LP)
Connie Hall "Country Songs" (Decca-Vocalion, 1965) (LP)
Connie Hall "Country Style" (Decca-Vocalion, 1967) (LP)
This is a budget-line reissue of material from her self-titled 1962 album; several songs are missing from the original release...
Jennifer Hanson "Jennifer Hanson" (Capitol, 2003)
Densely-produced, but fairly rootsy, rock-flavored Nashville country, with more than a nod or two towards roots-rock foremothers Rosanne Cash and Sheryl Crowe. Hanson's best on the upbeat numbers -- the ballads just don't fly -- and she's got several catchy tunes here that might get her into the Top Country stratosphere. I like "Half A Heart Tattoo," myself. Her dad, by the way, played guitar in the Top Country supergroup, Alabama. Oh, and she was also voted Miss California, in 1994.... Who knew??
Jennifer Hanson "Thankful" (Universal South, 2008)
Arlene Harden "What Can I Say" (Columbia, 1968) (LP)
A solo album from Arlene Harden (who also spelled her name "Arleen"), the "girl" singer for the family band known as The Harden Trio. For more info on the band, see below...
Arlene Harden "...Sings Roy Orbison" (Columbia, 1970) (LP)
Arlene Harden "I Could Almost Say Goodbye" (Capitol, 1975) (LP)
The Harden Trio "Tippy Toeing" (Columbia, 1966)
This perky family act from out Arkansas way was sort of like a modernized version of the Browns -- two sisters and a brother, but with more rockin', popped-out arrangements on a couple of tunes. The catchy title track, "Tippy Toeing," had a pop-rock kookiness to it, as did a couple of other tunes on here, though for the most part it's a softened country-folk vibe that predominates. The band put out at least one other record that I know of; sister Arlene Harden also had a fairly successful solo career, in which she pursued a more serious artistic image, albeit in a soft, weepy kinda way.
The Harden Trio "Sing Me Back Home" (Columbia, 1968)
Gus Hardin "Almost Live" (Carmen, 1981)
Gus Hardin "Gus Hardin" (RCA, 1983)
Gus Hardin "Fallen Angel" (RCA, 1984) (LP)
(Produced by Rick Hall)
Synthy country, or twangy pop? Well, that raspy, Tanya Tucker-ish voice is what tips the balance, but this may be a little rockin' and 'Eighties-ed out for most twangfans. As a singer, she's almost rootsy enough, but the clumsy, thudding arrangements all start to sound the same, and there's not a lot here that's terribly distinctive. There were three singles off this album, which all fell just short of the Top 40... Hardin hit the Top Ten, though the next year, and made a couple of albums after that; she apparently died in the 1990s, in a car crash.
Gus Hardin "Wall Of Tears" (RCA, 1984) (LP)
(Produced by Mark Wright)
Horrible! Basically this is tacky '80s synthpop, ala Bonnie Tyler, just not as much fun. And, yeah, that's not saying much. Not a single song on here stood out as memorable, although a duet with Earl Thomas Conley, "All Tangled Up In Love," amazingly hit the Top Ten. That was about it, though. Yeesh. Not my cup of tea, for sure.
Gus Hardin "I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can" (Rainy Day, 2001)
Linda Hargrove "Music Is Your Mistress" (Elektra, 1973) (LP)
Linda Hargrove "Blue Jean Country Queen" (Elektra, 1974) (LP)
Linda Hargrove "Love, You're The Teacher" (Capitol, 1975) (LP)
Linda Hargrove "Just Like You" (Capitol, 1976) (LP)
Giving a hint of her later interest in Christian pop, Hargrove included a stunning gospel tune, "The Only Man-Made Thing In Heaven Are The Scars On Jesus' Hands..."
Linda Hargrove "Impressions" (Capitol, 1977) (LP)
Linda Hargrove "A New Song" (Fig Tree, 1981)
Linda Hargrove "Greater Works" (Threefold Productions, 1989)
Linda Hargrove "One Woman's Life" (Panacea Productions, 2005)
A collection of recordings spanning the decade from 1995-2005...
The Harmony Sisters "The Early Years" (HS, 1999)
This trio included folkies Alice Gerrard, Irene Herrmann and Jeanie McLerie, playing a variety of traditional music styles. This CD combines their two albums, 1981's Harmony Pie and Second Helping, from 1983.
Joni Harms - see artist discography
Emmylou Harris - see artist discography
Tara Lyn Hart "Tara Lyn Hart" (Epic, 1999)
A Canadian Top-40er who left the music business before her second album was completed... She also had a few singles-only releases after this disc came out...
Carrie Hassler "...And Hard Rain" (Rural Rhythm, 2006)
Carrie Hassler & Hard Rain "CHHR2" (Rural Rhythm, 2008)
(Produced by Jim Van Cleve)
Nice modern, country/folk-tinged bluegrass, sort of in the same general area as Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent. Pretty solid picking, although not all the songs really caught my imagination... Steve Gulley sings harmony throughout, and producer Jim Van Cleve plays fiddle... Worth checking out if you like the style.
Ginny Hawker & Kay Justice "Come All Ye Tenderhearted" (June Appal, 1995)
Ginny Hawker/Carol Elizabeth Jones/Hazel Dickens "Heart Of A Singer" (Rounder, 1998)
Ginny Hawker & Kay Justice "Bristol" (Rounder, 1999)
That's Bristol, as in, "the Bristol Sessions," the famous 1927 Ralph Peer recording trip which brought to the wide world both Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family, laying the foundation for the growth of commercial country over the next decade. This Carter Family tribute is about as rootsy and true to the original wellspring as you could imagine, especially with for New Lost City Ramblers members Mike Seeger and Tracy Schwartz pitching in on autoharp and guitar. Highly recommended!
Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwartz "Good Songs For Hard Times" (Copper Creek, 2000)
Beautiful! '50s/'60s folk scene veteran Tracy Schwartz has, of course, been one of the great champions of old-timey music ever since his days in the New Lost City Ramblers, and Ginny Hawker has been rising through the ranks in recent years... On this early album, they sing fifteen lovely, understated duets, presenting some of the finest, most heartfelt songs in the mountain music canon, including tunes of aching beauty such as "Your Lone Journey" and gospel tunes galore. Their approach to the material is just so right, and so wonderfully unpretentious and filled with sweet, simple harmonies that this disc is a real gem. In later years, Hawker started to exaggerate her twang a bit too much; here she sings in a much sweeter, less craggy style than you may have heard on subsequent releases. Anyway, this album's a keeper, as far as I'm concerned. Highly recommended!
Ginny Hawker "Letters From My Father" (Rounder, 2001)
With old-timey gospel numbers, bluegrass heartsongs galore, and even a bit of Emmylou-ish country harmony, this disc's another real winner. Although Hawker's loyalty to the raspy old-timey melodic structure may make it hard for some folks to get into her work, these are recordings that will richly reward your time. Recommended!
Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwartz "Draw Closer" (Rounder, 2004)
As fine and understated a set of old-timey ballads as you're likely to hear... Really fine stuff! Tracy Schartz has, of course, been one of the great champions of old-timey music ever since his days in the New Lost City Ramblers, and Ginny Hawker has been rising through the ranks in recent years... Together they have made one of the prettiest, simplest, most emotionally direct records of the year... The accompaniment is a delight: straightforward and no-frills, but also very melodic and sweet, a perfect match for their plainspoken vocals. Dirk Powell pitches in playing mandolin on a couple of tunes, but fancy picking isn't the point of this new record, the songs are and that's the way it should be. Includes some standards such as "Poor Willie" and "Katie Dear," as well as a bunch of well-chosen obscurities, and some wonderful gospel tunes. Highly recommended!
Lisa Hayes "Sweet Forgiveness" (Gracye, 2005)
(Produced by David Kitay)
Independently produced country stuff, a mix of indie and Top 40 sensibilities. I don't care much for her vocals, but the music has some nice touches, especially the sometimes-spectral pedal steel... She's a too bit warbly and emotive, in a Faith Hill-ish way, for me, but if you're looking for an independent artist shooting in that same direction, this might be fun.
Donna Hazard "My Turn" (Excelsior, 1981) (LP)
Hazel & Alice -- see Hazel Dickens (and/or Alice Gerrard)
Hillbilly Fillies - More Letter "H"
Hick Music Index
Sisters Who Swung: Women In Jazz & Blues