Country garb-clad Beyoncé fans celebrate ‘Cowboy Carter’ at listening parties in Texas and beyond

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The Grammy Award-winning singer on Friday released her latest project, a country album featuring greats of the genre like Linda Martell and Dolly Parton, and newcomers Tanner Adell and Shaboozey. Excitement over the new music was especially felt in Texas, Beyoncé’s home state, and a bastion of cowboy culture and country music. 

“We were looking for places to hear her new country vibe,” said Kennedy B., 23, who wore a star-studded cowboy hat, boots to match and a pleated cowboy skirt with her hair in two braids. She declined to use her full name to protect her privacy. “She’s an incredible performer and she’s an incredible singer.” Kennedy and her friends yelled and danced when the DJ played “TYRANT,” one of two tracks featuring Parton. Cedric Collier, who hosted the Irving event, marched around the venue in his cowboy hat and boots, and danced along with the Beyoncé lovers. When they weren’t dancing, partygoers posed for pictures tipping their hats and holding their belt buckles. They embraced Texas’ signature cowboy culture. The DJ mixed Beyoncé tunes with hip-hop and rap songs, prompting a mix of lasso moves and twerking.

Staff were also in the spirit, with cocktail waitresses halting their services to dance in their shorts and cropped, tied flannel shirts. The atmosphere in King Tut Hookah Lounge reflected the album: country songs with a touch of hip-hop. 

“Cowboy Carter” is the second installment of Beyoncé’s three-part project that began with the house and dance music album “Renaissance” in 2022.  

Beyoncé announced the album in a Super Bowl ad and dropped singles “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages” that evening on her Instagram. She recently made history as the first Black woman to top the Billboard country chart with “Texas Hold ‘Em.” 

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It was a real life boogey and a real life hoedown! Some partygoers showed up in their best cowboy gear with star-studded cowboy hats and boots to match.JerSean Golatt for NBC News

Black country artists have lauded the project and said they hoped it would bring more visibility to Black country artists. This seemed to be important to Beyoncé too, as she featured Black country artists including Willie Jones, Reyna Roberts, Tiera Kennedy, Brittney Spencer,  Adell and Shaboozey, on “Cowboy Carter.”

The album also gives proverbial flowers to Linda Martell, 82, the first solo Black woman country artist to play in the Grand Ole Opry. Though a pioneer of the genre, Martell is considered an unsung hero of the genre. Martell is featured on the “Cowboy Carter” tracks “Spaghetti” and  “The Linda Martell Show,” an intro to the following song, “Ya Ya.” 

“Haha, OK, thank you so very much,” Martell is heard saying on the track. “Ladies and gentlemen, this particular tune stretches across a range of genres and that’s what makes it a unique listening experience. Yes, indeed. It’s called ‘YA YA.’”

When asked her favorite song on the album, 26-year-old Tamera couldn’t choose just one.

“So ‘16 CARRIAGES’ is my favorite. ‘DAUGHTER’ is a good one too, but I’ve been told that just means you’re an eldest daughter or an only child,” she laughed. “My friend got on me the other day, she’s like, ‘You’re really into this!’ and  I said, ‘Yes, I really am!’”

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“Time to strike a match and light up this juke joint!” The King Tut Hookah Lounge in Irving was one of the many venues to put on a “Cowboy Carter”-themed party.JerSean Golatt for NBC News

Despite the country songs on “Cowboy Carter,” Beyoncé has said it’s not a country album but a “Beyoncé’ album” and a continuation of “Renaissance.” Many have said the three-part project is Beyoncé’s attempt to reclaim genres of music created or pioneered by Black people. 

This seemed to resonate with fans.

“I’m definitely in the bey-hive,” said Sierra, 25, who declined to use her full name for privacy reasons. “I went to the ‘Renaissance’ concert, that was my first Beyoncé concert. It was top tier. She’s an incredible performer, an incredible artist.” 

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