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2 N.C. artists featured on Beyonce’s new country album

CHARLOTTE — A Greensboro-based artist is responsible for the melody of Beyonce’s newest country song, according to our news partners at WTVD.

Just a few weeks ago, Beyonce took the internet by storm when she announced her new country music album at the Super Bowl and has now made history as the first Black woman to be No. 1 on the country billboards.

Before ‘16 Carriages’ became the song it is today, Gavin Williams was at a piano developing the melody less than five years ago, WTVD reports.

“I’ve done a lot of work, but this is Beyoncé,” Williams said.

WTVD says his opportunity to work with Grammy-award-winning artists was similar to Williams’s previous work.

“A guy by the name of Dave Hanley called me and sent me a couple of tracks to play to. He wanted organs for “16 Carriages,” which had no name at the time,” he said.

The country song Williams wrote in just a few minutes and thought would never be heard is topping the charts and joining the larger conversation of Black influence in country music, WTVD says.

“I think what Beyoncé is helping us do is to look back at both the music and the people who are at the heart and the roots of the music,” Williams told WTVD, “and also the experiences they sang of in their music originally, and try to balance that against the market-driven perception of country music that the market wants us to have.”

North Carolina Central University professor, Dr. Timothy Holley, is well acquainted with country music’s roots. He shared his excitement about well-known banjo artist Rhiannon Giddens being featured in Beyonce’s song, “Texas Hold ‘Em.”.

“She, of course, had a lot to say about the history of the banjo and her desire to reclaim African American history associated with it,” Holley told WTVD.

Holley continued by saying the inclusion of the two artists shows Beyonce’s strong connection to her roots.

“Her ancestry is both Texan and Louisiana Creole. So, in ‘16 Carriages’ and ‘Texas Hold ‘Em,’ she is celebrating her reinvented heritage. What could be more American than that?” He said.

Both of her songs are now streaming wherever you get your music, and her Act II Renaissance album is expected to drop on March 29.

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