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The Women Who Power Country Music

As CMT turns over the “Artists of the Year” microphone to female singers, Variety recognizes the women who are stars behind the scenes.

The 2018 CMT “Artists of the Year” event, which airs live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Oct. 17,  will be a celebration of the influence and impact of the female voice in country music. For the first time in the show’s nine-year history, the network has booked an all-women lineup that will pay tribute to the brightest lights of country music’s present, along with a nod to the past.

Performers scheduled to appear include Carrie Underwood with tour-mates Maddie & Tae and Runaway June; Miranda Lambert reviving her side-project supergroup, Pistol Annies; and Kelsea Ballerini with country-bluegrass legend Alison Krauss. In addition, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman will indulge their R&B side with soul legend Gladys Knight, and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott will appear with faith-based pop star Tori Kelly and gospel artist Kirk Franklin. In addition, honoree Maren Morris will link up with Brandi Carlile for a tribute to Aretha Franklin.

In step with CMT turning over the “Artists of the Year” microphone to female singers, Variety has dedicated its entire 2018 Music City Impact editorial package to women and will also host a brunch and panel discussion to address issues of parity and opportunity on Oct. 16 at Nashville’s Cambria Hotel.

See Variety‘s picks for the women who power country music here.

Pictured (from left): Manager Ann Edelblute, CAA’s Kylen Sharpe, Spotify’s Brittany A. Schaffer

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