Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music

First Page


Last Page



"She's got her God and she's got good wine, Aretha Franklin and Patsy Cline," sings Trisha Yearwood in her top-selling 1994 single "xxxs and ooos (an American Girl)." Cowritten by Matraca Berg, a Nashville singer-songwriter, and Alice Randall, an African American Harvard graduate, it is one of the first songs written by an African American woman to top the country charts. Randall takes special pride in the "moment of integration" created by naming Franklin and Cline, and such juxtapositions energize nearly all of her writing.1 Unlike Donna Summer, with her wondrous number 1 hit, Dolly Parton's 1980 "Starting Over Again," Randall has maintained a presence in country music for nearly twenty years, integrating songwriting teams by creating lyrics with many notable writers, including Steve Earle, Matraca Berg, and Marcus Hummons.l She has also shaped the visual and intellectual presentation of contemporary country music. She cowrote two of the songs included in Peter Bogdanovich's 1993 film about aspiring Nashville songwriters, The Thing Called Love. She worked as a screenwriter on the high-profile video Is There Life Out There for Reba McEntire and the made-for-Tv movie xxx's and ooo 's, set in Nashville. Both works were inspired by the complex lives of the American women described in the songs to which the titles refer. The author of My Country Roots: The Ultimate MP3 Guide to America's Original Outsider Music (2oo6, with Carter and Courtney Little), Randall has an encyclopedic knowledge of country songs; My Country Roots features one hundred playlists.


This is a book chapter from Hidden in the Mix:The African American Presence in Country Music (2013): 263.

Copyright Owner

Duke University Press



File Format