Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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Eight More Great Black, Queer, Country Artists

By Country Queer Staff

This is the second in a two-part series celebrating Black History Month by highlighting Black, queer country artists. The first part, “Eight Great Black, Queer, Country Artists” can be found here.

Listen to your local country station and you might think the universe revolves around straight white dudes: every other song seems to be about trucks, beer, and “my girl.” Listen long enough and close enough, though, and you may hear signs that the foundation is starting to crack, with artists slowly but steadily claiming space for Black or queer perspectives.

What you won’t hear on mainstream radio – yet – is these artists. Artists who are Black and queer, and just as talented as anyone on your local Froggy station. Despite the uphill battle they must constantly wage for acceptance, these artists are deeply rooted in the traditions of American music, and they are without question paving the way to this music’s future.

As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s shine a light on these eight Black, queer artists who are making history today.


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

Joy Clark

Clark’s first name is apt: she’s focused on the blessings that music can bring, and it shows in her work. Clark has played with some well-known names in her home base of New Orleans, but her singular voice and guitar work are best appreciated in her own music, such as this sweet imprecation to her younger self: when you don’t get validation in the world around you, you gotta go inside for it.

Crys Matthews

Matthews is, unequivocally, a folk protest singer. In a subgenre dominated by the shadow of straight white men like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Phil Ochs, when Matthews straps on her Martin and opens her mouth to unleash a cry for justice, she, like Odetta and Tracy Chapman before her, reclaims that space for Black voices. “Call Them In,” released last year, it a prime example. Listen – and be moved to action.

Jett Holden

Holden appeared on our radar less than a year ago, but he’s already got the Americana world buzzing. Hailing from tiny Elizabethton, Tennessee, Holden got his early inspiration from Tracy Chapman and Garth Brooks, but his voice is all his own. He first showed up in his videos of adventurous covers, but in his debut EP, Necromancer, his powerful original songwriting is on full display. Here’s “Taxidermy.”

D’Orjay the Singing Shaman

We first got wind of D’orjay prior to the release of her astonishing 2020 debut LP, New Kind of Outlaw. There was no way, though, that a talent this big was going to escape attention for long. Black, queer, country, and hailing from the plains of Western Canada, D’orjay’s unique artistry promises to vault her over the systemic obstacles to success – and she’s only beginning to sow her magic. Here’s our anthem, “New Kind of Outlaw.”

Luisa Lopez

Lopez hails from East Texas, a melting pot where country, Tex-Mex, R&B, rock, folk, and Cajun meet and mix. Lopez’ writing casts an outsider’s eye on contemporary culture, and the result can be both harrowing and exhilarating. (We recently had the privilege of hearing a rough of an upcoming single, and it’s a powerhouse.)


“Country” may not be the first word that leaps to mind when you hear Celisse Henderson wail. Rock, blues or jazz may more closely describe the styles she works in, but “brilliant” is the first word that leapt to our minds. As a songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumental master, it’s obvious that Celisse can do whatever she decides to, and crush it. Recently featured at Brandi Carlile’s legendary Girls Just Wanna festival, Celisse is finding a new – and well-deserved – audience.


LeahAnn Mitchell, aka Lafemmebear, got a dose of the spotlight last year when she remixed the Reba classic “I’m A Survivor” for an album project that charted in the Top 10. Having built a career on the other side of the glass as an engineer and producer, Mitchell was effectively blacklisted when she came out as trans in 2013; her response was to channel her creativity into her own music as Lafemmebear. This mesmerizing piece features another name familiar to CQ readers: Mya Byrne, a marquee trans guitarslinger and artist in her own right.

Sug Daniels

With her signature ukulele and light, sweet voice, Daniels is instantly engaging; her songs explore the ins and outs, ups and downs of relationships with tenderness and compassion. Irresistible.

Special thanks to Annie Parnell, who contributed to an earlier draft of this article.