By Country Queer Staff
Frankly, we’re a little overwhelmed. Wonderful new music from queer country(ish) artists just keeps coming across the transom. And the variety. Campy honky-tonk, synthy alt-folk, deep country gospel, bare-bones Americana, and more, more, more more! Whatever you’re into, you’re gonna find something here that will take you where you want to be. Dive in.
Song of the Week: “Can’t See Stars,” Erin Rae, ft. Kevin Morby
The lyric of this placid country track, by Nashville’s Erin Rae, is a meditation on how we – humanity, that is – has packed the world with so much stuff, that nature, and our nature, gets buried. The video, shot in Memphis with a faded technicolor look that evokes the 70s, is full of the kind of quirky, relaxed ennui that’s a hallmark of Jim Jarmusch’s films. Both track and video feature indie-folk notable Kevin Morby.
“It Doesn’t Change Anything,” Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
More of the bare-bones, rock-solid, truth-telling, honky-tonk that has made Shook such a beloved figure in Americana. Here, Shook sounds a little older, wiser, and (even) more grounded, and their message is straightforward: you’ve got a problem, and no one can save you but yourself – take it from me, I’ve been there. (And they have.)
“The Chelsea Hotel Is Closed Until Further Notice,” Emét
This lovely piano-driven ballad is redolent of Leonard Cohen’s influence – which is (obviously?) a Very Good Thing. Indeed, Emét tells us that this track was inspired by a self-portrait by Leonard Cohen, and “explores the small inconveniences and mercies which can crop up throughout an average day.” The Irish native recently relocated to Calgary, Canada, a trip that’s documented in the video for “Chelsea Hotel,” the second single heralding a forthcoming album. One to watch out for.
“Stand on Your Man,” Lavender Country
It’s a full-blown parody of the Tammy Wynette classic, turning that song’s portrayal of the long-suffering protagonist on its head. Nikki Grossman does the singing on this one, but the composition is another example of frontman Patrick Haggerty’s incisive brand of lyrical genius. ” Stand” is the second single from the upcoming label release of Lavender Country’s 50-years-in-the-making sophomore album.
“Stockpiled Guns & TV Dinners,” Mal Blum
Trans indie-country sensation Blum is poised to release a new EP, Ain’t It Nice, and “Stockpiled Guns”, its second single, augurs well. Lonesome and laced with echo, this track pours on the longing. “I want to know /
When you can bring it home to me”. Yeah, us, too.
“Hello, Hello On Fire!,” Josiah Johnson
Josiah Johnson, co-founder of indie-folk darlings The Head and the Heart, has just dropped this single, his first release since his 2020 debut album, Every Feeling On A Loop. It’s a dark, provocative track, with a video to match. In it, Josiah asks, “How do you hold the tension between doing something unforgivable, and the idea that everyone is worthy of receiving love?” Take the ride.
“Don’t Touch My Rhinestones,” Robert Adam
And now for something completely different. Adam is Calgary’s second entry in this week’s roundup, and he offers up this hilarious, over-the-top (check the swooping strings!) warning to a would-be lover. Do NOT touch them!
“Book Beside Your Bed,” Hayden Joseph
Honestly, we are not trying to give you whiplash. But in “Book Beside Your Bed,” Joseph has dropped an absolute gem of country gospel sincerity. Its imprecation to renew faith is hard to resist. Don’t.
“Roll, Thunder, Roll,” Coyote Wall
A strummed acoustic guitar and a chorus of voices comprise the entirety of the orchestration on this singular track, another meditation on spirituality; “Thunder” is an effort to, as Wall puts it, “combine religious expectation with queer reality.” It works like gangbusters.
Got a great new song? Submit it to CQ!