Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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Sixteen Jackies Ask the Hard Questions

“My Baby’s On Drugs,” Sixteen Jackies

By Rachel Cholst, Contributing Writer

That liminal period between Christmas and New Year’s is always a good time to take stock: what have you accomplished (yes, even in a busted-up year like 2020), what are some things you want to leave behind, and what do you hope to do in the next year?

For Philadelphia’s Sixteen Jackies, their song “My Baby’s On Drugs” does not offer easy answers — because those questions never have them. Singer Jody DeMarco writes, “I wrote most of the lyrics to ‘My Baby’s On Drugs’ on a drunk bike ride home one night in Richmond, Va. At the time I was very into early Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline and at first, I thought the song was just a humorous take on the old country songwriting formula. Now I realize the song is about dependency. Who needs who more here: the guy who’s letting his good times get in the way of his relationship or the narrator, who puts up with the other guy’s bullshit because he’s scared no one else will love him?”

Sixteen Jackies’ nostalgic sound, evocative of a countrypolitan Buddy Holly with a punk rock growl just beneath the surface, brings that swirl of emotions home: love, longing, anger, self-recrimination.

This isn’t the Jackies’ first go-round. With their first EP “Movie Was Bad,” they unveiled an offbeat pop sensibility which draws to mind both the manic spirit of the Talking Heads and the aching balladry of Roy Orbison. Their second project “Mascula” takes a much darker turn both sonically and lyrically, exploring the concept of American masculinity and the layers of violence that lie under its surface. The two EPs are now available together as either side of a 12″ record. After touring the country for the better part of 2019, they returned with “My Baby’s on Drugs”, a single which was released on Born Losers Records on December 11th.


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