Beyoncé’s New Single “Texas Hold ‘Em” Not Serviced To Country Radio


Is Beyoncé’s country era over before it started?

The most Grammy awarded artist of all time shook the music world on Super Bowl Sunday with the surprise release of two new singles, and an album announcement, in conjunction with a Verizon commercial about breaking the internet (which she pretty much did).

Titled Renaissance: Act II, the 8th career studio album from Queen Bey is set for release on March 29th. Introducing the new album is a pair of songs titled “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages,” as well as a Western-themed teaser video that harkened back to Wim Wenders’ 1984 film, Paris, Texas. The album art for both singles also feature Beyonce donning a cowboy hat, which she also wore to the Grammys earlier this month.

Of course the internet has already ran WILD with the idea that Beyoncé is dropping a full blown country album. And maybe she is… but I’m not so sure.

While “Texas Hold ‘Em” has some country flavor and a catchy banjo riff from the very talented Rhiannon Giddens, but I’m not really getting that at all from “16 Carriages,” and although I could see this being more rootsy than some Beyonce’s previous records, I’m not 100% convinced we should be expecting a full “country album” from the Texas native. Nothing official has been released by Beyonce or her team to definitively indicate that, and the song hasn’t even been serviced to country radio. And naturally, people are freaking out.

According to US Radio Updater, the song was serviced to Pop, Adult Contemporary, Rhythmic, R&B, and Urban… no mention of Country (although it looks like it got a couple spins from a station or two).

What does that mean? It means that Beyoncé and Columbia aren’t trying to play it on country radio… at least not yet.

The songs were also released with the primary genre being Pop, however it appears as that has since been changed. Apple Music now has the two songs listed in the country format so who really knows what the plan is… maybe all this country buzz will have Columbia changing its course and try for some country radio airplay.

Of course, it’s already circulating on social media that country radio stations are “refusing” to play it, which will undoubtedly be coupled with the lazy conclusion that all of country music is racist, but let’s be honest, country radio will barely play anything that isn’t spoon-fed to them from the country music major labels.

Hell, you can’t even get actual country music on there 90% of the time, so if the song isn’t be serviced to the format, their just not going to play it.

Maybe they have something else planned for country radio. Maybe country radio isn’t the goal and never will be. I still think there’s a good chance that this isn’t even a full blown country record, and the label’s initial “Pop” categorization perhaps supports that.

Ultimately, it probably doesn’t matter if the song is played on country radio or not, at least it doesn’t appear to matter to Beyoncé and company. If it did, they would have tried to service it there.  But artists like Zach Bryan and Tyler Childers have proven that you don’t need to be on country radio to have success in country music… and Beyoncé sure as hell doesn’t need it either. Much larger and more important implications would be at play here, but that all hinges on whether or not Beyoncé is even trying to enter the country music space.

We know this isn’t the first time Beyoncé embraced some country stylings. A song titled “Daddy Lessons” on her 2016 album Lemonade had a similar vibe to “Texas Hold “Em” but ultimately was rejected by the Recording Academy in its application for the country music category of the Grammys. She even performed the song with the Dixie Chicks (now just The Chicks) at the 50th annual CMA Awards that year. The CMAs garnered significant backlash for the move, as the night was billed a celebration of country music’s history in conjunction with the awards’ 50th anniversary. Many, including Travis Tritt and Alan Jackson, saw the choice to give some stage time to a pop star inconsistent with the idea of “celebrating country music’s history.”

All I can really say at this point is, once again, maybe pump the brakes a little until we know a little more about what the goal is here. Is Beyonce actively trying to make a country record? Is she just paying tribute to her Texas roots? Is it country-themed but largely pop music? Is it just one song? Will the whole record have some more roots flavor? I think once some of these questions get answered by Beyonce herself, or reveal themselves in the release of more music, we can start to form some better conclusions.

Time will tell…

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock