K.T. Oslin, Do Ya (Youtube)

There had never been anyone before in country music like K.T. Oslin when she hit the scene, and there hasn’t been anyone like her since. She instantly redefined what a woman in country music could sing and write about.  By breaking through at the age of 45, she became a voice for a whole generation of women.

Oslin’s seminal hit – 80’s Ladies” is one of the most important songs in recent history for country music, and won Song of the Year at the 1988 CMA Awards. In addition to being a CMA, ACM, and Grammy Award winner, she also starred in the 1993 film ‘The Thing Called Love’ with River Phoenix, Sandra Bullock, and Samantha Mathis. She also has, in my opinion, the greatest title for an album ever made – ‘Greatest Hits – Songs from an Aging Sex Bomb’.

The role of women highlighted in KT’s songs

In many ways, K.T. Oslin’s songs hold together compelling chronicles of women. This includes the humorous “Younger Men,” a middle-aged woman’s cheeky expression of lust and her veiled frustration toward middle-aged men’s rejection of women their own age.

Even stronger is “Do Ya’” in which she asks her lover “Do you still…” get a thrill, whisper my name and like the feel of my body lying next to yours, etc. In doing so she builds toward the larger question of love but also asserts that she is still desirable physically and viscerally, rather than settling for generic affection.  Moreover, one could argue that these themes could be inverted gender-wise, however,  such an argument ignores the social pressures that have confined women from viewing themselves as complex beings who seek physical and emotional pleasure. In her world, women want to be loved but also desired and there is a difference. The surrounding material includes a convincing tale of emotional connection that avoids co-dependence, a few heartbreak ballads, and an upbeat love song and a reflective ballad.

KT Oslin (image from www.movieandmusicgreats.com)

Do Ya

K.T. Oslin herself wrote and recorded the song. It was released in August 1987 as the third single from the album 80’s Ladies. “Do Ya” was K.T. Oslin’s third country hit and the first of four singles to hit number one on the country chart. The single went to number one for a week and spent a total of sixteen weeks on the country chart.

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