Raise a glass of whiskey to Miranda Lambert. The country superstar reached No. 1 on the country radio for the first time in six years this week with her new song “Bluebird,” according to the Mediabase charts. Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, which she hasn’t topped in eight years, is expected to follow. Lambert’s last Mediabase No. 1 was “Automatic,” off her 2014 album Platinum; her last on Billboard’s airplay chart was “Over You,” from 2012’s Four the Record. (“Somethin’ Bad,” her duet with Carrie Underwood, hit No. 1 on Country Songs, but not Airplay.) “I’m celebrating happiness and the feeling of artistic freedom in a time where we all feel a bit caged,” Lambert wrote on Twitter. “I’m celebrating country music and all the joy it has brought to my life. I’m celebrating ALL the fans, the writers , the musicians, the crews, and bands, radio and streaming services, venues big and small for allowing me to have the most wonderful career for the last 17 years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
The “Bluebird” rise makes Lambert the sixth woman to hit No. 1 on country radio in 2020, the first year more than five different women have occupied the top spot at country radio since 2010. Lady A (formerly Antebellum), Maren Morris, Gabby Barrett, Gwen Stefani, and Carly Pearce have all also logged No. 1s in the first seven months of this year. That’s more than double the number of country radio No. 1s for women than 2019, musicologist Dr. Jada E. Watson pointed out on Twitter. She added, “Although there has been an increase in spins for songs by women, not enough songs by women are getting the support needed to enter the charts,” noting there are just two other women in the chart’s top 30 spots. The news comes after years of criticism of the lack of support for women on country radio, buoyed by recent studies, including one by with WOMAN Nashville and another by Dr. Stacy L. Smith through the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Supergroup The Highwomen formed in 2019 to combat country radio’s sidelining of women — and fittingly, Highwomen member Natalie Hemby shares in Lambert’s new No. 1 for “Bluebird” as a cowriter.