Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

Lantern Tour Ad

CQ Roundup, August 24

By Christopher Treacy

Photo Credit: Aimsel Ponti

Music is an emotional vehicle. When I meet people that don’t have music in their lives, I usually wonder if they’re afraid of letting go… maybe they’re resistant to where the vehicle takes them. Our Song of the Week is meant to take us to a better place, one that reminds us that we all have tribes that will support us if we reach out. The rest is a curious hodgepodge of songs that run the gamut, from Katie Pruitt’s sublime new Lucinda Williams cover to Brooke Eden’s country-pop pep talk—all vehicles with different emotional destinations. If there’s a trick involved, maybe it’s in just surrendering and letting the music take you where it will.


Song of the Week: Allison Russell feat. Brandi Carlile – “You’re Not Alone”

Originally recorded by Russell’s rootsy quartet, Our native Daughters, “You’re Not Alone” gets a lush makeover here with Brandi Carlile sharing vocal duties. Sista Strings are also on board with an arrangement that’ll inspire tears of joy in even the most stoic listeners. An intensely soothing track, Russell and Co. serve up the balm we all need during these ongoing trying times.

We wanted to know more about Russell’s desire to re-record the song and she obliged us with a Q&A which will run later this week. In the interim, wrap yourself up in the soulful warmth of “You’re Not Alone.”


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

Katie Pruitt – “Something About What Happens When We Talk”

While Pruitt continues working on her follow up to 2020’s magical debut, Expectations, she’s dropped this early Lucinda Williams cover to help us while away the hours. And. It. Is. Stunning. A skillfully rendered, bluesy slow-cooker, Pruitt adds her own magical brand of queer sexual tension, pouring out a gooseflesh-raising vocal along the way.

Brook Pridemore – “Wore Me Well”

Pridemore is known for their genre-defying anti-folk. But the new pandemic-written material that comprises their forthcoming Glad to Be Alive, out this fall, is a bit of a surprise. Embracing more of a pop-laden sound than has been the case previously, Pridemore shows off an uncanny ability to make themselves musically at home just about anywhere. This track captures the spaces in between: in between work and pandemic isolation, in between relationships, in between our selfish wants and what our friends think is good for us… and, perhaps, in between genres. Call it a delightfully tuneful moment of indecision.

Lizzie No – “Sweeter than Strychnine”

Up until now, Lizzie No has been making music at the Americana crossroads of folk and country, using her expressive pipes to tell tales recognized for their emotional intensity. But partnered with NYC singer-songwriter Ben Pirani and his backing band, The Means of Production, this 7″ on Ohio’s revered Colemine label gives us a glimpse of how she sounds in a reverb-soaked, vintage soul environment… and it’s mighty fine. Cinematic, sinister, and just a bit gritty, No says yes to some musical shape-shifting and it’s damn impressive! We admit, it’s a bit out of CQ’s wheelhouse, but we’re all about supporting our artists as they branch out and try on new hats.

Jim Andralis – “Heights”

“I’m too weak to shimmy, and I’m too fat to fly/C’mon, Jimmy, try,” Andralis sings in this tale of anxiety, weighing out all the what-ifs as he contemplates pushing himself off the cliff du jour. Short and sweet, the song offers no resolve, leaving us hanging, much like the protagonist. It’s an effective device in songwriting and it serves this, the title track off of his new EP, very well.

Joel Brogon – “Down at the Old Homeplace”

Refreshingly down to earth with plain-stated lyrics, Brogon’s music is about as organic as it gets. No pretenses, no digital monkeying around, just a guy and his guitar. The lack of production makes it stand out, which isn’t meant as a dig—it takes guts to do what Brogon does. “Down at the Old Homeplace” conjures a familiar feeling of bittersweet, youthful memories. Visiting places from our past can flood our mind with snapshots of time gone by. Brogon effectively puts across the resulting melancholy from this near-universal part of the human experience as he pines for his youth and what ‘home’ meant to him as a child.

Brooke Eden – “Knock”

“You’ve been locked outside of an empty room, but your mama didn’t raise no fool,” Eden sings in this clever, come-to-Jesus pep talk for a friend that’s looking for love in all the wrong places. The tune walks that increasingly popular line between country-pop and dance—just one of five stylistically different tunes that make her new EP, Choosing You, a satisfying grab-bag of musical options. Check out all the different things Brooke Eden can do.

Christopher Treacy has been writing about music and the music industry for 20 years. He’s contributed to The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Herald, Nashville Scene, and Berklee College of Music’s quarterly journal, as well as myriad LGBTQ+ outlets including the Edge Media Network, Between the Lines/Pride Source, Bay Windows and In Newsweekly. He lives in Waitsfield, VT.