Country Queer

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“Purdy Little Rainbows,” Joe Troop

Ché Apalache Frontman Pens Queer Natural Anthem

By Adeem Bingham

For all of the setbacks & tribulations of the last several years, one cultural curiosity has been the reclamation of the southern aesthetic by queer sons & daughters of Dixie. They have protested against the North Dakota Pipeline, marched in the streets under Black leadership for racial justice, and conceptualized new models for policing, for achieving equity, and for immigration reform while keeping their casserole dishes buttery and full of potato chips.

Artists of varied practice have coalesced in this moment to define the emergence of the Highbrow Proletariat archetype; hicks and hillbillies of greater Appalachia who are well-read and unwilling to part with the trappings of their culture. Joe Troop sits right in the thick of this work; activism as the declarative, “I am.” On his new track, “Purdy Little Rainbows” Joe turns “pawnshop trash” into a term of raw endearment as he boasts of our “good ole greasy pride.”

Every cadence of this bluegrass-infused folk song is melodic and familiar. If you’re one of the little groundhogs mentioned in the song, it’s likely reminiscent of the soundtrack to childhood drives with all the smoothness of Doc Watson and the intentionality in every well-spent note of Django Reinhardt. Honestly, it’s difficult to imagine the vocals isolated from the instrument as their interplay is so comfortable that they feel intrinsically bound.

“Purdy Little Rainbows” exists on streaming services in a pair of lo-fi solo recordings that are staggering in their poise and lyrical aim. Check out his video for “Purdy Little Rainbows” and his “[Plea] to the US Government to Fully Fund the Postal Service” as well to experience the fullness of his Guthrie-inspired politicking. Every note is worth your attention.