A Not-At-All Exhaustive LGBTQIA+ Country Playlist
June 14, 2020 4:03 PM   Subscribe

NPR Music brings us A Not-At-All Exhaustive LGBTQIA+ Country Playlist. You can stream the playlist at YouTube or Spotify.
The playlist that follows isn't intended to be exhaustive. You won't find some of the usual suspects that feature in brief intros to queer country—not the once obscure, now celebrated pioneering '70s outsider Lavender Country or k.d. lang or "Follow Your Arrow." What you will find are tracks and videos—the better to fill in the picture of performing and presentation styles and visual theater—from a cross section of LGBTQIA+ artists who call countrified aesthetics and cultures their own.
posted by hippybear (17 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:51 PM on June 14

I’d be fine if this were just Orville Peck on repeat :)
posted by triage_lazarus at 5:02 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]

Came here to see if Sarah Shook is in the playlist and there she is.
posted by NoMich at 5:17 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]

Yeah, Sarah Shook is fantastic.
posted by Mothlight at 5:29 PM on June 14

This is a pretty solid (non-exhaustive list)!

I’d be fine if this were just Orville Peck on repeat :)

Had a chance to see him live at the end of last year. It was a brilliant show.

From a piece on Orville Peck that discusses some of the queer ferment that's been happening in country/country-adjacent music lo these last few years (it's linked from the main NPR article from the post):

In important ways, Peck wasn't alone at all. His emergence was one of many moments that spotlighted relationships between queerness and country (or country-adjacent) music over the last year or so.


The sense of context and community is growing around these music-makers, thanks to initiatives and scholarship from the likes of the nonprofit organizational effort Bluegrass Pride, which found its early momentum in California and will go virtual later this month; DIY, multi-artist Gay Ole Opry lineups in Brooklyn, Nashville, the Bay Area and elsewhere; queer roots showcases tucked into World of Bluegrass and Americana Fest schedules; the online magazines Strange Fire and Country Queer; the events, intersectional projects and thriving social media presence of Queer Appalachia and Southern Fried Queer Pride; documentaries like
Invisible: Gay Women in Southern Music and the oral history Country Queers, and the short film Dominant Chord; books by Hubbs and academics researching queer, rural life outside of music; the autobiographically enriched literary output of Dorothy Allison and so much other existing and emerging work.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:59 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]

It's a little crazy to me that I am a fairly hardcore devotee of making music with electronics who sort of accidentally dated his way into an ocean of fiddles and banjos and now I'm on friendly terms with some of those folks—my gentleman caller dragged me, sometimes kicking and screaming, through a disorienting series of house concerts and old time music festivals before I became the roadie and tech guy for his band. It is still a music that I'm easing my way into, but the scene itself, particularly at the Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia, is stunningly open and welcoming. The young folks are hands-on, open-hearted, with a get-on-in-here-and-play attitude and the older people seem to just roll with it, and when Che Appalache finished their set on the main stage, Joe Troop introduced the band and noted that he hailed from Winston-Gaylem to waves of applause.

Was lucky enough to stand at the periphery of the first-ever rainbow jam tent at Clifftop with my gentleman caller played as I stood in the periphery, almost overcome by the scene of the whole alphabet soup of fellow queer folk in full song despite a pounding thunderstorm trying and failing to drown out the joyful noise. It is, oddly, a scene that feels so familiar to me from working in the sort of hard-to-market realm of DIY electronic music, where it's easier to find a good jam than a concert venue, and I'd decided already that I was gonna be in on the next rainbow jam if it killed me (postponed, alas, to 2021, thanks to C19).

"What's that?" my gentleman caller asked as I returned to the campsite with a big black case.

"Bought a damn dulcimer."

"You did?"

"My dad, were he alive to witness this, would be laughing."

The older ladies from the next couple campsites over offered me some basic lessons, showing me the noter method that was the simplest old school technique on mountain dulcimer.

"Now, a dulcimer's real quiet, so you're likely to get buried in a big jam session."

"That's perfect," I said. "It'll give me time to figure it out. Just gotta hope no one points me out for a solo!"

"You'll do fine."

"Hey, don't want to be nosy, but are y'all dating?" asked one of the ladies, referring to my gentleman caller. "Barbara said she thought y'all were brothers, but I thought y'all were awful kissy for brothers."

"Well, in some parts," her friend said, and they laughed a heady laugh, reading my smirk as a a yes.

"We're glad to have you here. Everyone's welcome to sit in with us!"

Who knew? Can't wait for Clifftop next year. I'm gonna get a handle on that dulcimer if it kills me. Mainly, I need tablature for Bobbie Gentry's "Fancy" for noter-style dulcimer.
posted by sonascope at 6:20 PM on June 14 [31 favorites]

I wrote part of this story! Oh, this is the first time that some of my writing was on the front page! I am very excited!
posted by PinkMoose at 8:59 PM on June 14 [29 favorites]

I wrote part of this story!

It kicks ass!

So good.

Thank you.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:32 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]

sonascope, that's likely to be the best story I read today. Thanks!
posted by allthinky at 4:37 AM on June 15

Oh Hot Damn! Thanks hippybear!
posted by james33 at 5:13 AM on June 15

Sonascope, Joe and I went to high school together...same year and everything. He’s always been extremely talented; we were certainly spoiled listening to his music way back then. It’s good to hear he’s doing well.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 7:00 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]

Haha, I love the description of Lavender Country as "once obscure, now celebrated." Cryin' These Cocksucking Tears is a gem of a song that I will link in any queer country thread until the end of time.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 1:08 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

I love dulcimers! Thank you, sonascope, for that lovely story. Maybe if my new lday caller and I are still calling, I can get her to go to that festival with me next year.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:32 PM on June 15

I've been trying to encourage my friends to listen to the really interesting music being made in country these days but it's not easy.
posted by ShakeyJake at 2:17 PM on June 15

Maybe if my new lady caller and I are still calling, I can get her to go to that festival with me next year.

I can't speak highly enough of Clifftop, and I'm desperately bummed that it's not happening this year because of pandemic precautions. It's just fun and a really embracing, open landscape to explore and to make new friends.

Inspired by hippybear's post, I finally got my ass in gear to assemble some video clips I shot on my phone last year (tragically short, alas) to give a taste of having all these amazing fellow travelers together in a tent (huddled a little tighter when the massive thunderstorm blew through)—the first annual Rainbow Jam at Clifftop 2019. Jake Blount is in the back in the middle clip, and Tatiana Hargreaves is in the foreground in that clip, next to said Gentleman caller, to name a few of the people in the tent, and Rachel Eddy (seen wrapping it up at the end of the video) and her partner organized and hosted the jam (I'm almost certainly leaving some folks out, but I don't have the encyclopedic recognition of people in the scene that my gentleman caller has, alas).

In 2021, I'm bringing a proper camera to do this group justice. It's just a joyous thing.
posted by sonascope at 5:09 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]

Jake Blount is in the back in the middle clip, and Tatiana Hargreaves is in the foreground in that clip, next to said Gentleman caller

Got to see Tatiana with Alison DeGroot perform just before we went into lockdown. It was a room of about 30 people and they were SO good.

And Jake Blount's new album is brilliant.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:33 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]

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