Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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CQ Roundup, August 3

By Christopher Treacy

Photo Credit: Kelsey Sucena

Confusion dogs our world. Misinformation is often the catalyst. Completely tuning out seems like a viable option. I find that music helps me keep my head straight. It helps situate me, helps me clarify choices, and reminds me of who I am at my core. That might seem like a bit much to folks that don’t soundtrack their lives, but for those of us that do… it’s everything.

So, when we hear a song that mimics our mind-frame, sometimes right down to the specific details the songwriter includes in their portrayal, it’s a keeper. Suddenly, the nitpicky specifics about the delivery matter less. Don’t love the voice? That’s ok. Chorus hook is weak? Nah, it’s stuck in my head. Solo seems illogical? It might have at first, but once that deep connection is made, the solo becomes purposeful. Indeed, once that deep connection is made, the song becomes a friend for life. And even when the factors that made it so relatable are no longer at the forefront of your days, you go back to it for the time capsule effect. Even when it’s painful. Perhaps, odd at it may seem, especially when it’s painful.


Song of the Week: The Belle Curves – “Rosé Drive-Thru”

The grass is, indeed, always greener…
The pandemic really brought the differences between the haves and the have-nots into sharp relief. Some folks have a great deal more control over our surroundings that others. With an airborne virus spreading, it’s easy to feel helpless when you don’t have the privilege of space. Being secluded is at a higher premium than ever. The Belle Curves’ front gal Delaney Hafener was left contemplating this concept as she freelanced from a barn on her family’s Long Island property, a property they relocated to fairly recently that shifted their circumstances. On the one hand, Hafener was able to enjoy the safety of her newfound seclusion. On the other, she missed feeling the flow of the working class around her. And then she saw a sign. Literally. On the side of the road.


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

“There is one particular local winery known for its rosé—which is honestly really delicious—and they had a sign on the side of the road for a while that said ‘rosé drive-thru’ on it,” she explained in a press statement. “As in, you could go pick up your bottles of wine to bring back to your beach house that you escaped to from the Upper East Side or Park Slope, and not have to risk getting COVID. It was so incredibly ‘let them eat cake,’ and it just stuck with me.”

In writing “Rosé Drive-Thru,” Hafener shrunk a massive sociological dilemma into a jangly-but-tuneful Americana song that lays it all out pretty simply. With a brand new video to promote the track, we reached out to her to probe a little further, resulting in a Q&A that will post tomorrow.

The Kentucky Gentlemen – “Whatever You’re Up For”

The opening track from the duo’s just released EP features their signature blend of r’n’b with modern country stylings, and it’s dang-well sexy. In under three minutes, “Whatever You’re Up For” *pops* in all the best ways, celebrating that special brand of intimate company where it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, so long as it’s together. What’s more, this Romeo will even ‘put the bottle on ice in his truck-bed-toolbox’ for ya—the scene is SET!

You’ll definitely be reaching for the repeat button with this one.

Gemma Laurence – “Lavender”

You might have caught Gemma Laurence on Fallon a few months back, performing an impromptu-written (and cutely risqué) little number called, “Is it Love or Is It Cake?” Seems like she can definitely be depended upon to come up with something clever on the spot, but the talent doesn’t stop there. Last year, she released “Adrienne,” a sparse-but-gorgeous love song that caught the attention of NPR Music’s Emma Madden, among others. “Lavender,” the title track from her just announced album, (coming in November on Better Company Records/The Orchard), shows off a different aspect of her musical personality. With her banjo coloring between the lines of a plodded rhythm, Laurence weaves a tale of small town suffering with penetrating images, but there’s a hard-to-finger hopefulness that keeps the song from being altogether sad. “‘Lavender’ may be a song about dysphoria, trauma, and the challenges of coming out, but it’s also a song about embracing queerness and celebrating it,” she tells us. “I wrote it for my best friend after she came out, so it’s a song for her, but it’s also a song for any kid or teenager or adult who feels like they didn’t—and maybe still don’t—have the space to be themselves.” Venturing into indie-rock from folksier territory, “Lavender” is evidence that Laurence has more tricks up her sleeve and that her storytelling game is strong.

Katy Guillen & The Drive – “Bottom of Your Belly”

Katy Guillen and Stephanie Williams make a super sturdy guitar-and-drums combo. With Kevin Ratterman’s well-balanced production skills, their debut full length as Katy Guillen & The Drive, Another One Gained (8/26), aims to be a winning collection of tunes about turning points. A trio of advance tracks, “Bottom of Your Belly” included, have all more or less addressed the uncertainty that comes with upheaval and change—all fine and well, since the topic is a never-ending source of creative inspiration. Obvious students of classic FM radio, Guillen and Williams strike the sweet spot between deep-cut rockers and something a bit more infectious while incorporating stray elements of blues, Americana, and even grunge. Guillen’s guitar solo really cooks on this one!

Denitia – “All the Sweet Tea”

Denitia’s latest is both simple and elegant, a delicious dream inspired by the hope of release from the isolation we’ve all experienced over the last two-plus years. For many, it became a forced time of self-examination, questioning, and a sobering reminder to focus on what’s most important in our lives. In “All the Sweet Tea,” the beauty and ease of nature await, welcoming a pair of lovers with open arms—it almost seems like they’ve arrived at the gates of heaven to find the gatekeeper waving them through, friendly and unconcerned. On a deeper level, the song gently urges us to consider how we spend our time more carefully.

With a new, Americana-inspired direction and a full length, Highways, on the way in October, you’ll be hearing more about Denitia Odigie here at CQ..

Lady Worth – “Journal”

Los Angeles-based Lady Worth wrote in to let us know about their new single, and we’re very glad they did. “Journal” is catchy AF and, especially when paired with the sweet sentiments coming across in the Joshua Bowman-directed video clip, we want to make sure you know about it too. Keep the good stuff comin!

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.