Beyoncé goes country on new songs Texas Hold ‘Em and 16 Carriages, and one track features acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens on banjo and viola

Beyonce cowboy hat
(Image credit: Beyonce/Live Nation)

The sight of Beyoncé wearing a cowboy hat at last week’s Grammy Awards led many to suspect that the star might be about to enter her country music era, and the release of two new songs - Texas Hold ‘Em and 16 Carriages - seems to bear this out.

Released during the Super Bowl melee, both singles have a markedly different sound to the first Renaissance album, which embraced everything from ‘90s dance music to classic disco. 

Of the two new releases, Texas Hold ‘Em is the most obviously ‘country’, and features acclaimed US musician Rhiannon GIddens on banjo and viola. It has Canadian artist Lowell on piano, too; she’s listed as one of the co-writers alongside Megan Bülow, Raphael Saadiq, Nathan Ferraro and Beyoncé herself.

16 Carriages, meanwhile, is a slower-paced country stomp, complete with organ and steel guitars.

A trailer for the new album indicates that the country theme is set to continue throughout the record. It features snippets of Charles Anderson’s Laughing Yodel, Son House’s Grinnin’ In Your Face and Chuck Berry’s Maybellene, as people next to a dusty road stare at a newly installed Beyoncé billboard.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.