Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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Buried Treasure, May 21

Steven Gellman, Cheryl Deséree, Jessye DeSilva, Rella

By Adeem Bingham and Annie Parnell

Howdy y’all,

We’re back again with Buried Treasure and this week we’ve got some excellent picks, although, admittedly, Annie has done the heavy lifting on this one. Hope you’re all taking care of yourselves and making sure to drink enough water. 

Your pal,

ADEEM: Steven Gellman is a folk songwriter based out of Maryland who writes ethereal songs. His new album Cold Harbor is beautifully produced with tracks that are guided by his casual way of speak-singing the lyrics. My favorite “The Ocean” is a swimmy and meditative piece that almost sounds like a misplaced worship hymn replete with ambient vocals and gorgeous string arrangements. 


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

ANNIE: Cheryl Deséree’s “country and swing on a billow of sultry, jazz-infused smoke” has been just what I’ve needed to unwind in the middle of a particularly hectic finals season. Influenced equally by jazz standards, western swing, traditional country, and her Pacific Islander roots, Cheryl’s lilting voice is the kind that’s best heard from an old-fashioned condenser microphone in a dimly-lit club. If you need any more convincing, her website has an absolutely precious “Favorite Words” section–among them, “wine,” “cake,” and “f**k.” Her cover of the Samoan standard “Tele I’a O le Sami” (“Let Me Hear You Whisper”) and the title song off her most recent album Dreamy are particular favorites of mine.

ADEEM: Couldn’t miss a chance to shine a spotlight on Jessye DeSilva’s rendition of “Angel From Montgomery” that releases today. The interplay of piano with fiddle on this is absolutely worth the investment of time but Jessye’s gentle delivery does not disappoint. Check it out wherever you stream live music. 

ANNIE: Nashville-based folk-pop artist Rella describes herself as a “breakup songs connoisseur,” and her newest song “Maryland” is a perfect example. Framed as a phone call to rival Adele’s “Hello,” this song is a classic take-me-back ballad, but it dwells in some pretty powerful imagery to illustrate just how much Rella’s brokenhearted narrator has changed. “I’ve quit all my vices,” she promises in the song’s first line, before detailing both the self-inflicted damage of an old life filled with pills and booze and the hopeful way she’s leaving it all behind and turning to love. “It might not make any difference, and it might already be too late,” she admits as the chorus builds–but wow, we sure hope it isn’t.

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