LGBTQ History Month playlist

  • by Gregg Shapiro
  • Tuesday September 5, 2023
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Tom Goss' new album, "Remember What It Feels Like"
Tom Goss' new album, "Remember What It Feels Like"

We've got a select batch of new music from artists you may know, a few that you likely don't but should, and a musical score you have to love.

After his most daring (and possibly best) album, 2019's "Territories," prolific gay singer/songwriter Tom Goss returns with the bouncy and infectious pop album "Remember What It Feels Like." The more traditional tunes range from dance-floor ready cuts including "Everything," "Literally," and "Undercover Summer," bubblegum numbers "Enemy of Good," "Don't Wanna," "First Date," and "Break Your Heart." Ballads including "Something Beautiful" and "Fall Before You Fly," are examples of his versatility. Goss, who is known for being generous with his fans, packing recent recordings with more than a dozen songs, doesn't skimp on "Remember What It Feels Like," with its 15 tracks.

At just 22 years old, Joanna Sternberg is an old soul. Most of the songs on their new album "I've Got Me" (Fat Possum), come from a bare-bones folk tradition, performed by Sternberg on guitar, piano and keys, violin, and bass. The lyrics, sung in Sternberg's distinctive vocal style, alternate between introspection (the title tune, "Mountains High," "Drifting On A Cloud"), yearning ("I Will Be With You," "I'll Make You Mine," "The Human Magnet Song"), and brutal honesty ("Stockholm Syndrome," and the rocking "People Are Toys to You"). The vocals and simple, yet meaningful, lyrics also sound like they owe a debt to early Carole King. This is especially true on the piano and vocal numbers, including "She Dreams."

In a perfect and more accepting world, "Out Here Now," the second album by queer Americana act Ever More Nest (aka Kelcy Mae Wilburn), would be embraced by music lovers from all walks of life. The songs are as accessible as anything you'd hear on albums by non-queer musical acts from Austin to Nashville and beyond, as well as those on records by Brandy Clark or Brandi Carlile. In other words, there's so much to like about "Out Here Now," including the title track, "What's Gone Is Gone," "Out Loud," "Wishing Well," "My Story" (check out Fat Kaplin's fiddle work), "All I Want," and "Almost Home."

Could singer/songwriter Rachael Sage be the bi Taylor Swift? Prolific, independent, eternally struggling with love, and empress of her own musical empire, Sage beat Swift to the rerecording punch by a few years when she revisited two of her previously released albums. For the ambitious double disc "The Other Side" (MPress), Sage chose to include a second album of "alternate mixes."

Sage, who plays keyboards and guitar, once again delivers a set of pleasing pop songs including "Flowers For Free," "The Place of Fun," "Albatross," "Butterflies at Night," "I Made A Case" (which appears in two versions, including a duet with Howard Jones), and "No Regrets" (co-written with her father Stuart Weitzman). Sage's well-chosen covers include queer singer/songwriter Maria McKee's "Breathe," Yaz's "Only You," and "Forgive Me This," an obscure Europop song.

Rachel Sage performs Sept. 12, 8:15pm (with Alexx Calise) at The Lost Church, 988 Columbus Ave. $18.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, the 1977 drama "New York, New York," starring Liza Minnelli and Robert DeNiro, was more of a movie with musical numbers than a movie musical. Considered a commercial and critical failure, especially coming as it did right after 1976's Oscar-nominated "Taxi Driver," "New York, New York" is probably best known for its theme song, both Liza's version and the one that Frank Sinatra turned into one of his signature tunes.

The movie featured a few standards, alongside original tunes by the Tony Award-winning duo of gay John Kander and his writing partner, the late Fred Ebb. In 2023, a stage musical adaptation of "New York, New York," opened on Broadway, featuring the titular song, as well as "But The World Goes 'Round" and "Happy Endings" (from the movie).

You can hear those songs, as well as several new Kander & Ebb compositions (along with lyric contributions by the ubiquitous Lin-Manuel Miranda) on the double disc "New York, New York: Original Broadway Cast Recording."

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