Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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CQ Roundup, September 14

By Christopher Treacy

Photo Credit: Melissa Alderton

INCOMING! We’ve got two CQ newcomers this week from the U.K. (Steady Habits and Sophie Rose) along with an Exclusive Premiere from Brook Pridemore, an awesome Song of the Week from Mike Maimone, the latest from Philly’s Sug Daniels and a new track from one-time CQ Contributor, Mya Byrne, which got premiered in Rolling Stone Country last Friday (wow!) and signifies the launch of the new Kill Rock Stars Nashville imprint. Go Get ’em, Y’all!


Song of the Week: Mike Maimone – “I Wish I Didn’t Know You Anymore.”

People come and go from our lives, and while some of them may be fun to hang with, they’re not always the best influences. Sometimes they’re not even good people, but something devilishly enticing keeps us going back for more. It might even be the lack of concern for the rest of the world that’s so intriguing—how do they do it, we wonder… until they do it to us. And yet, everybody deserves more chances, right? So, an unfortunate pattern establishes. That is, until we can no longer ignore the pile of rubble in their wake and we reach a point where we wish we didn’t know them anymore.

Maimone comes riding in like gangbusters in his new single, which just dropped last Friday, and it encompasses aspects of the above scenario. Sounding a bit frustrated, but still having a good time with it, our resident queer piano man strikes a familiar chord about ‘the one that just won’t go away,’ set to an energetic barroom stomp. He’s got Linh Lee from the fem-punk outfit Bad Cop, Bad Cop adding vocals here, making for a punchy duet that evolves into a delightfully rowdy kiss-off. We liked it so much, we made it Song of the Week and did a Q&A with Mike that we’ll post tomorrow.


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

Exclusive Song Premiere: Brook Pridemore – “Hunt Sales”

CQ is excited to drop this new track from the forthcoming Brook Pridemore album, Glad to be Alive. Named after a rock and roll drummer known for his work with Todd Rundgren, and Iggy Pop, “Hunt Sales” is as catchy as it is rife with odd images: cloven hooves pressing into Pridemore’s chest (and in their ear – are they involved with a furry?), something pinning their arms down, sipping champagne from shoes… with purposefully folded thumbs. Throughout, the self-proclaimed “thick and nervous” Pridemore, “..will be left with mediocre feelings for you,” as the refrain repeatedly reminds us. It leaves us wanting to know more, so we go back and listen again—neat trick! Each time, we come away with a slightly different interpretation of the scenario described. Glad to be Alive is out everywhere this Friday, September 16.

Sug Daniels – “Be Cool”

Organ and ukulele with bits of slide guitar decorate this breezy shuffle, which, when merged with Daniels’ disarmingly playful vocal, creates a warm-weather vibe that’s particularly welcome as we transition into fall. A sharp change of direction from her excellent cover of Jill Scott’s “Golden” a few months back, “Be Cool” speaks to her creative versatility, which is definitely an asset. A seeming pep-talk to two different sides of herself, Daniels tell us, “’Be Cool’ was written as a way to remind anyone who chases a dream that it’s okay to let off the gas a little, rest when needed, and trust that you know what you’re doing.”

Steady Habits – “Edge of Changing”

A UK-Based band formed by Connecticut native, Sean Duggan, Steady Habits first released this song on a 2020 EP, Hold In Your Breath. This live, semi-expanded version is brand new, however, and the first in a series of live videos that Duggan and Co. will release in the coming months. “Edge of Changing” boasts some mighty clever songwriting that lands on the youthful side of Americana, merging pop hooks with alt-country twang. “[The song] was written about transition; shedding a younger skin, learning from mistakes and being able to take responsibility for yourself,” Duggan explained.

Mya Byrne – “Autumn Sun”

Mya’s back, and the new Kill Rock Stars Nashville imprint’s got ‘er. “Autumn Sun” premiered at Rolling Stone Country late last week and the Aaron Lee Tasjan-produced track packs a whole lot of optimism into barely two and a half minutes. Indeed, “Autumn Sun” is full of curious sonic twists that merge vintage country vibes with bits of Cali-soaked psychedelia. Tellingly, Byrne wrote the song in the wake of the 2018 wildfires. “It was the first day we could be out,” Byrne, a Bay Area resident, told Rolling Stone’s Jon Foreman. “We all noticed a shift in the light and talked about it; I wrote the first few lines in my phone.”

Sophie Rose – “Healing in The Burn”

Previously performing under stage name Rose Black, U.K. singer-songwriter Sophie Rose’s new single rings with righteous truth and melodic, folk-pop buoyancy… we promise, the hook won’t leave you alone! She wrote in to tell us that, “‘Healing In The Burn’ is about a time in my life when hope had faded. After a painful event I found myself lost and alone in the middle of the night, and just as I wanted to give up, a stranger came and helped me. His parting words were ‘pay it forward’ which became a guiding force in my life and music. This is a love song to victims of abuse, and anyone who has met a hardship with courage, good intent and love. It’s a thank you, to that guy on the street, to the angels who sent him and a reminder to always pay it forward.”

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.

Got a great new song? Submit it to CQ!