Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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Staff Picks: Album of the Year

By the Country Queer Staff

In our Song of the Year post, I described queer country as a cornucopia. I wasn’t lyin’. 2020 has yielded a crop of absolutely top-notch albums by LGBTQ+ country, folk, and Americana artists, and it’s been a joy to behold. In our estimation, these ten are the cream of the crop. Hope you find something you love.

— Dale Henry Geist, Editor-in-Chief

Dale Henry Geist, Editor-in-Chief

“Neon Cross,” Jaime Wyatt

A near-perfect cocktail of flash, trash, and genuine honky-tonk heartache. Wyatt’s roadhouse glam finds its proper setting in Shooter Jennings’ Telecaster-rich production.

Bonus Pick: “New Kind of Outlaw,” D’orjay the Singing Shaman

Sydney Miller, Associate Editor

“Expectations,” Katie Pruitt

Katie Pruitt’s “Expectations” is a stunning debut album that showcases her songwriting, vocals, and sheer musical genius. The album is reflective, inquisitive, and a joy to listen to.


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

Bonus Pick: “New Kind of Outlaw,” D’orjay the Singing Shaman

Mya Byrne, Staff Writer 

“Walkin’ Through This World,” Cidny Bullens

In his official coming out record, this genuine rock n’ roll legend worked with Nashville’s Ray Kennedy and an all-star cast on an album that stands both on its own and as a testament to the power of transition. It can be favorably compared to country-Americana classics like Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.

Bonus Pick: “Devil Told Me,” Ruby Mack 

Adeem Bingham, Buried Treasure Editor

“New Kind Of Outlaw,” D’orjay the Singing Shaman

D’orjay’s debut record is a dynamic collection of well-crafted songs that excite and delight. She makes her mark with an anthemic stomp in step with the Yee-haw Agenda, and colors in the empty spaces with a contagious softness.

Bonus Pick: “Bile and Bone,” al Riggs & Lauren Francis 

Eryn Brothers, Staff Writer

“Spider Tales,” Jake Blount

There is no other album of the year. There is only Spider Tales. Blount has crafted a perfect piece of work, full of folk/traditional queer powerhouse players and the radical cry that is absolutely necessary for country to be nuanced and inclusive. Spider Tales deserves everything, and I’ll stand on the Grammy’s dinner table yelling about it. They sit at a table, right? This was supposed to be just a sentence? I don’t care. I’ll stand on your table too.

Bonus Pick: “Bile and Bone,” al Riggs & Lauren Francis

Rachel Cholst, Podcast Producer

“Eno Axis,” H.C. McEntire

A beautiful work from one of the finest queer country songwriters there is. McEntire, who fronted Mount Moriah, is constantly pushing the boundaries of punk and country: where they join and where they part. On Eno Axis, McEntire goes further afield than in previous releases — and we all benefit from her souvenirs.

Bonus Pick: “Spider Tales” Jake Blount

James Barker, Staff Writer

“Your Life Is A Record,” Brandy Clark

Intimate country storytelling meets cinematic grandeur: tales of everyday life, loss, hardship, and regret meet lush orchestral soundscapes in Clark’s best album yet, sounding vital as only country can, whilst transcending the genre’s common clichés.

Bonus Pick: “Burn the Witch,” Sarah Peacock

Sean Farragher, Playlist Curator

“Electric Park Ballroom,” Paisley Fields

The beauty of Paisley Fields’ album “Electric Park Ballroom” lies squarely on the line it straddles between light-hearted humor and conveying the most important message of all: love yer pard no matter who they chose to ride.

Bonus Pick: “Stay Alive,” Laura Jane Grace

Cher Guevara, Staff Writer

“Cheat Days,” Bette Combs

The debut album by Bette Combs gets my top spot for 2020 because it’s everything I ever wanted in a queer country album: raw, gritty, and honest. It’s street poetry filtered through Hank Williams and Divine.

Bonus Pick: “Bile and Bone,” al Riggs & Lauren Francis

Margie Neely, Live Events

“Blue Eyes, the Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher, & Me,” Waylon Payne

Payne’s album took me on a journey through the ups and downs of an addict dealing with his problem all the way through to recovery.  While the pictures he paints might not be easy to listen to, the soft sound of his voice sure is.

Bonus Pick: “Expectations,” Katie Pruitt

A note about inclusiveness: It’s wonderful that we’re moving the larger culture toward more inclusiveness of queer voices, and our Staff Picks are all thoroughly deserving. Having said that, we notice that they are mostly white and cis. We pledge to continue seeking out and highlighting queer BIPoC and trans artists, and, following from that, we expect to see more diversity in our Staff Picks as time goes on. – Ed.