Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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Buried Treasure, September 18

by Annie Parnell, Managing Editor

We’re ushering in autumn this week in Buried Treasure, with an array of beautiful folk-influenced songs to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Autumn is a time for renewal and return, but it’s also a time of growth and change — something that rings true throughout these recent releases from Big Thief, Hand Habits, Cold Weather Company, and Celine Ellis, as well as Song of the Week “Banks on the River” by Jerrika Mighelle.

So, shake out your blankets and cable-knit sweaters, prepare your pumpkins, and give these songs a spin. The folksy musical undercurrents here and the scenic fall foliage of Mighelle’s Wisconsin home may prove to be the perfect autumn inspiration.

Stay cozy,



A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

Song of the Week: “Banks on the River” by Jerrika Mighelle

Eau Claire-based Jerrika Mighelle filmed this gorgeous video for “Banks on the River” with friends at nearby Lake Wissota, a natural, intimate autumnal setting that lends itself well to the earthy track. Grounded in strong guitar roots and Mighelle’s hauntingly-beautiful vocals, the song was inspired by the sudden loss of Mighelle’s mother, and focuses on the painful process of grief and acceptance.

“I was going on walks through the woods along the river trying to feel her,” says Jerrika of the song’s origins, which grew from “searching for something to ease this new depth of pain that is born out of grief.”

“Banks on the River” is available on streaming services now in Mighelle’s recent album Brightest Star. For now, though, you can watch the music video below, available exclusively on Country Queer.

“Certainty” by Big Thief

This third single from Big Thief’s long-anticipated next album deals with the warmth and complexity of a love between two people — the kind that remains steady and constant, even as its nature changes. Co-written by formerly-married members Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek, “Certainty” makes use of the band’s trademark layered lyricism, dealing in images as concrete and mundane as cable TV reruns right alongside complex mathematical metaphors. 

Amidst all this, and breaking through the turmoil of the song’s repeated refrain “maybe I love you,” Lenker comes back to the center — reminding us, herself, and the person she’s addressing that “my certainty is wild, weaving / for you I am a child, believing.”

“Graves” by Hand Habits

Hand Habits returns to their acoustic roots on this newest single from their upcoming album Fun House. With a fittingly-spooky title, “Graves” argues that sometimes, you just need to let things be. As Meg Duffy repeats throughout across the tune’s plaintive fingerstyle guitar, “don’t go digging up graves…why can’t you just let it lay?”

Duffy, who got their start as a backing guitarist for Kevin Morby, drew plenty of positive press for their debut Hand Habits album placeholder in 2019, as well as recent EP dirt. Similar to fellow singles “No Difference” and “Aquamarine,” “Graves” signals an interesting interplay between acoustics and dreamy shoegaze instrumentals for Fun House, which will be released in full on October 22. Production from Sasami Ashworth (SASAMI) makes it even more of an album to watch for.

“Coalescence, Part 3” by Cold Weather Company

This final part in Cold Weather Company’s three-song cycle Coalescence focuses on the growth and closure obtained from a journey inward. With a lush, classical-influenced sound that’s reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens and The Arcadian Wild, Cold Weather Company come back to earth to celebrate the ways they’ve changed and renewed in their seven years of performing together, from telling stories onstage to holding their annual “Cold Weather Cleanup” benefit in New Jersey to stop littering and raise funds for low-income families. 

This year’s Cleanup is scheduled for November 14 — until then, check out “Coalescence, Part 3” and keep an eye out for the full EP, out October 8.

“Fallen Angel” by Celine Ellis

Celine Ellis weaves a wide range of influences, from country and Americana to Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, and Melissa Etheridge, together to create a guitar-driven style she calls “acoustic music with attitude.” In “Fallen Angel,” that attitude is heartfelt and motivational, creating an impactful message about picking yourself up and putting pieces back together.

“‘I wanted to acknowledge all those ‘fallen angels’ who have turned their lives around and still work hard everyday to be the best they can be,” says Ellis of the track. She notes that she wanted to stay away from only centering her own experiences, in order to celebrate others’ — a universality that’s distinctly felt in the song’s sweeping message of hope and recovery. Check out this intimate park performance with Marieke Vink.

Buried Treasure” is your weekly guide to under-the-radar queer artists in country, Americana, and folk. Know an artist who should be included? Contact us!