Bobbie Gentry disrupted all that. Despite coming up in that world, she wasn’t the typical country music artist in looks or sound — she wore miniskirts, and she was loathe to even call herself a country artist. “I just sing southern,” Gentry once said, according to The Guardian. Although “Ode to Billie Joe” seems to be Southern Gothic, a genre of literature associated with writers like Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner, her sound did have country elements — but it also had some rock, soul, psychedelic, folk, and pop components, too. Being innovative is certainly great, but it’s hard for big record companies to effectively or easily market artists who break the mould, especially in an industry that seeks to put everyone in a clearly labeled box. Being a forward-thinking artist, ironically, may have hurt Gentry’s career prospects.