These days hearing country and Americana music made by LGBTQ+ folks is almost, dare we say, normal. We’ve got out superstars like Brandi Carlile, Sarah Shook, Lil Nas X, and Ty Herndon making amazing music; queer songwriters are getting their songs recorded by folks like Kacey Musgraves – and Jason Isbell even wrote a gay country song for Brandi Carlile to sing with the Highwomen. But LGBTQ+ folks making country music isn’t entirely new. Here’s a list of some of our favorite music videos from the big stars and the indie icons of queer country.
Honorable Mention: Kacey Musgraves – Follow Your Arrow
Written by queer Nashville songwriting team of Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark – this Musgraves hit entered the cultural landscape like gangbusters with its playful embrace and acknowledgement of diverse desires. Rolling Stone named it one of the top 100 country songs of all time.
10. Lil Nas X – Old Town Road
This joyful song about a man and his horse was a surprise hit, blending country and hip-hop – including a cameo by Billy Ray Cyrus. Plus it might just get stuck in your head forever.
9. Little Bandit – Bed of Bad Luck
Nashville-based Little Bandit has made a career of singing sweet songs about being lonely and drinking that somehow make the rest of us feel less alone.
8. Trixie Mattel – Mama Don’t Make Me Put on That Dress Again
The winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race has serious country cred up her sleeve. With this campy retro offering, Trixie does double duty in and out of drag in this song that tackles the troubling topic of people trying to make you be someone that you’re not.
7. Karen & the Sorrows – Back Down in the Dirt
Our favorite urban cowgirl, Karen Pittleman, gives a classic country rock vibe in this moody exploration of modern life and broken hearts.
6. Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Heal Me
Coming out of the North Carolina music scene like a shotgun shell, Bloodshot recording artist Sarah Shook gives you a no-bullshit, heart-on-her-sleeve, don’t-fuck-with-me take on heartbreak in the video for ‘Heal Me.’
5. Orville Peck – Dead of Night
Recently signed to SubPop and gracing the pages of GQ, Vogue, and any other magazine with a sense of style – Orville Peck shows up and delivers the goods with this iconic video for ‘Dead of Night.’
4. Steve Grand – All American Boy
This country classic was a viral hit with it’s unabashed lyrics all about a gay man in love with his straight friend. While ignored by mainstream country radio, it racked up 7.3MM views online, proving that what the people want… they get.
3. Brandi Carlile – The Joke
This seems to be the time that Brandi Carlile is taking over the dang world. With recent awards from Americana Fest, the Grammys, and so much more, her song ‘The Joke’ and its powerful video are part of what pushed her to the top of everyone’s playlists.
2. Indigo Girls – Closer to Fine
You can’t talk about LGBTQ+ folks in country music without talking about the Indigo Girls. Amazing harmonies and solid guitar work – this is their classic hit that all fans of country music should keep on rotation.
1. K.D. Lang – Constant Craving
An absolute classic, Lang’s smooth croon is out in full effect here, seductive and full of longing for her lover. One of the first LGBTQ+ folks to make a huge out splash in pop culture – this is the tune that started it all.
Who did we miss? Share your favorite Country Queer videos in the comments and we might just include ‘em in our next list!