By Christopher Treacy
Breaking up is hard to do. Moving on might even be harder. And what happens when we’re confronted with ghosts from our past? These are the themes pervading this week’s CQ Roundup, featuring newcomers (Camp Bedford, Callie Hines), some recurring reliables (Maimone, Falduto), and a fresh take on Johnny Cash from Lafemmebear with some help from Mya Byrne. It’s all pretty dang queer.
Song of the Week: Camp Bedford – “2AM”
Tallen Gabriel’s cello drives the tense rhythmic undercurrent for this emotional torrent, the lead track from Camp Bedford’s forthcoming EP, So Often & So Sweet (out March 31). When combined with Roxanne Quilty and Mariela Flor Olivo’s guitarwork, the track stays largely anchored in a folksy realm, but the drums and urgent vocal harmonies push it into the territory of a pop power ballad. Initially, it seems simple, but in terms of song structure, there’s a lot going on here.
Lyrically, “2AM” gives voice to the finality of an ended relationship: that moment when you’re confronted with your ex’s new love. It’s a tough spot, and especially if it happens at a bar (as it so often does) and the booze is flowing… things can get ugly. If not out loud, then maybe just in your head. Maybe writing a song about it is the therapy we all could use—in this case, a frenzied, urgent song that gets the angst off your chest while also showcasing what your musical trio is really capable of. We got to reach out to the gals of Camp Bedford and ask a few questions about their new single; the Q&A will run tomorrow. In the meantime, check out “2AM” premiering exclusively here, on CQ, as our Song of the Week.
Mike Maimone – “Unfollow”
Mike Maimone’s first single of the new year is an amusing romp set to a house-y groove about not wanting to deal with what the gals from Camp Bedford are lamenting in “2AM”—having to watch new love interests emerge in your ex’s life. Maimone seems fairly well grounded about it, but we all know how seeing that gleam in an ex’s eye as they pair up with someone new (doting on them in a bar) can bring out the worst in even the most grounded folks. Mike knows what he needs to do and smashes the ‘unfollow’ button to save his own skin. Oh, and there’s even a sax in the breakdown!
Brian Falduto – “Skip the Step”
Billy from “School of Rock” is all grown up… and learning how to process grief in the wake of breakups with other boys. The latest single in the runup to Brian Falduto’s forthcoming album matches the themes expressed in the two songs above, but he’s more intent on making sure not to cut corners… or, at least, acknowledging when you have cut corners and then letting yourself feel the feelings so you can move on. Musically, it’s another great big country song with a soaring chorus that suits his pipes quite well.
Lafemmebear featuring Mya Byrne – “I Still Miss Someone”
Together, LeahAnn ‘Lafemmebear’ Mitchell and Ms. Mya Byrne take this Johnny Cash classic in a completely new direction, turning it into a modern lullaby that fuses elements of R&B with some Americana flourishes. It’s a thoroughly original take on the song, released to coincide with Valentine’s Day.
“[Mya] introduced me to the song, as I’d never heard this particular JC record before,” Lafemmebear wrote in to tell us. “I was so moved by it and we both just started tinkering on keys and organ and guitar and then this came out. We later sent it to Mickey Guyton’s lap steel player, Philippe Bronchtein, and he added amazing lap steel that really just takes it to a whole new dreamy place.”
Callie Hines – “Tell Me Why I’ve Come Home”
Hines demands the answer to a question that many of us have gone to great lengths to avoid having to ask ourselves. You left. You struck out on your own. You got outta Dodge. But Dodge sucked you back somehow. For queer folks (and Hines is from Louisiana), there’s an added layer of complication. Maybe you couldn’t fully be yourself the first time around… now you’re returned to show your face and own your identity. Or, at least, to try to. Whether the song is meant in a literal sense or if it’s metaphor doesn’t matter; it’s about unfinished business. Sometimes the twists our lives take don’t reveal their value until much later on. Hines may be pondering this question for years… thankfully, they do it with a solid country-rock vibe and a memorable hook with some great players on board.
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’s the Managing Editor for CQ and lives in Waitsfield, VT.
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