Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

Top 10 Stories of 2020

Your Favorites From a Fucked-Up Year

By Dale Henry Geist, Editor-In-Chief

If you had told me a year ago that CQ would publish over 200 pieces this year – 150 in just the last half year! – I’d have asked you for a hit of whatever you were on. But somehow, thanks to our sterling staff and contributing writers, that’s exactly what we did.

Furthermore, if you’d have told me we’d be interviewing Orville Peck, Cam, Elizabeth Cook, and Mary Gauthier, I’d have asked for two hits. But we did – all those, and, as you’ll see, more.

So light one up, kick back, and catch up on what you missed.


Honorable Mention

This is a pure “how-many-people-read-this” list, which means it’s going to favor pieces that were published earlier, and it leaves out our podcast altogether. Let’s spend a moment making up for those deficiencies:

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Country Queer Spotlight, Ep. 2: Amythyst Kiah

This podcast episode has been downloaded an astonishing (to me) 4,200 times. It’s no wonder: Kiah is ebullient and charming, and host Rachel Cholst knows how to bring it out.


10 Best-Dressed Queer Country Artists

Easily the best-looking thing we’ve ever published. Who’d we miss?


BJ Barham’s Saving a Space for You

American Aquarium frontman and ally comes with some straight talk for Associate Editor Sydney Miller.


Esquerita: The Flamboyant Lost Rock ‘n Roll Pioneer

Contributing Writer Alan Richard unearths the queer black man that taught Little Richard how to rock’n’roll.


Brandy Clark Gets Personal

Author of the queer country album that made every Best Of list worth making, Clark gets candid with Contributing Writer Olivia Ladd.


Ellen Angelico’s Feeling Lucky

Enjoy the ride as Nashville’s favorite queer guitarslinger sits for a rollicking conversation with Staff Writer – and noted axemeister – Mya Byrne.


Revisiting the Devil with Sarah Shook

Straight-shooter Shook in conversation with Contributing Writer (and former CQ Editor-In-Chief) Cindy Emch.


The Countdown

Without further ado, our most-read articles of 2020.

10. Ryan Cassata, Making Breakthroughs

Young trans indie sensation Cassata gives fans an exclusive video, photo shoot, and interview with Staff Writer Mya Byrne.


9. “Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher, and Me,” Waylon Payne

This brilliant rumination on an album that’s already become a queer country landmark was published a full half year before the album’s release. (Contributing Writer Steacy Easton has still not revealed their sources.)


8. Bi/Pan Country Artists You Need to Know

Sarah Shook

We published this as a three-parter, with Pt. 1 dedicated to non-mainstream artists, Pt. 2 devoted to marquee and legacy artists, and Pt. 3: Sarah Shook, and Sarah Shook only. Staff Writer Eryn Brothers did the honors.


7. 12 Country Songs for the Queer Liberal

Contributing Writer Annalisha Fragmin created the perfect list for introducing your twang-deficient friends to the yummy goodness of country music.


6. Ten Supremely Sapphic Country Songs

Katie Pruitt

Associate Editor Sydney Miller conceived and executed this handy little list of lesbian love lyrics.


5. Black, Queer, and Hella Country

Kamara Thomas

First published back in January and getting a second life during the summer Black Lives Matter uprising, this piece, by then-Editor-In-Chief Cindy Emch, highlights eight fine Black queer country artists.


4. Non-Binary Country Artists You Need to Hear

Surprised that there are so many incredible non-binary artists making great country music? Sydney Miller fills you in.


3. Trans Country Artists You Need to Know

Mya Byrne
Mya Byrne

Staff Writer Mya Byrne put together this roster of compelling trans twangmeisters.


2. Jaimee Harris: Strong, Badass, & Vulnerable

Jaimee Harris – photo by Brandon Aguilar

We kicked off 2020 (ah, remember those days?) with a probing interview of the wildly talented Jaimee Harris, by then-Editor Cindy Emch.


1. Queering the Country Crooner: Orville Peck, Stephin Merritt and Hank Pine

Orville Peck, Stephin Merritt, Hank Pine

It’s a brilliant meditation on the phenomenon of, well, queer country crooners, by the always-interesting Steacy Easton. It was the second piece we ever published, way back in September 2019, and it just won’t quit. Where you stumble across it I really don’t know, but you continue to flock to this thought-provoking article. Give it a read – or a re-read.