CMT’s Next Women of Country is, year after year, a cross-section of the best and brightest voices in the genre that just happen to be female. And at their annual showcase in Nashville last month, two former classmates – Kelleigh Bannen and Lindsay Ell – joined one of the newest – Kalie Shorr – to open the event with a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.”
In their hands, they turned the hit into a biting proclamation that even though radio hasn’t been kind to women in 2017, they’ll only work harder and smarter until they’re rising up the charts once again. Watch the video of the performance above, punctuated with gorgeous harmonies and some ace guitar work courtesy of Ell. It ends with the number for a sexual assault hotline – because the three women soon realized that their message of speaking up over falling silent had even broader reach as the #MeToo movement permeates the culture and gives so many a voice.
Bannen, Ell and Shorr’s rendition is based on an acoustic rework of “Look What You Made Me Do” that Shorr recorded and released in less than 12 hours after the song was first released. All three will be doing a lot in the coming year: Shorr will join Sara Evans and RaeLynn on the All The Love Tour, presented by CMT Next Women of Country, next spring, and Ell will continue on the road through summer as her new single “Criminal” works its way up the charts. Bannen is in the studio and just released two Christmas songs, adding a soulful groove to some classic tracks. And Swift? She’s working her way back to country radio herself with “New Year’s Day.”