Q-Music: country Pride playlist

  • by Gregg Shapiro
  • Sunday May 12, 2024
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Q-Music: country Pride playlist

"Neon Cross," the second album by queer country diva Jaime Wyatt, was one of the best releases of 2020. Produced by Shooter Jennings (son of country music royalty Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter), the album was as country as can be. Now, Wyatt has returned with her third full-length, the irresistibly soulful "Feel Good" (New West).

There is an audible sonic shift, beginning with the album opener "World Worth Keeping." Wyatt, who maintains her country twang and vocal lilt, incorporates a funky, Stax Records vibe on the previously mentioned song, as well as on the title tune, queer love song "Love Is A Place," "Hold Me One Last Time," "Jukebox Holiday," and the Grateful Dead cover "Althea." www.jaimewyatt.com

Produced by fellow Nashville resident and music legend Kim Richey, "Love I Swore" (31 Tigers) is another fine effort by independent queer singer/songwriter Amelia White . The 11 songs focus on the rockier side of country although the Nashville energy radiates loud and clear on "Nothing I Can Do," "Beautiful Dream" (featuring duet vocals by Ben Glover), the bluesy "Get To The Show," the fabulous vintage country echo of "Can You See Me Now" (featuring Richey), and the pleasingly rhythmic "Lost Myself." www.ameliawhite.com

"Creekbed Carter" (Gar Hole) by trans folk artist Creekbed Carter Hogan is such an exemplary effort that, at only eight songs in length, listeners might find themselves reduced to begging for more. An accomplished musician, Hogan's plaintive and powerful vocals are the perfect complement to his exceptional songwriting skills.

Each song feels like a revelation, and don't be surprised if, as you find yourself listening to songs such as "Lord, Make Me a Scorpion," "If I Was," "Sycamore," and "Apiary," you discover something new with each spin. "The Relic Song" (in which Hogan takes the Catholic Church to task) is simply brilliant. www.creekbedcarter.com

In the liner notes for "Time and Evolution," the full-length debut album by queer Dallas-based Americana artist Stephanie Sammons, she expresses her gratitude to her "incredible songwriting mentor friends" including Mary Gauthier, Emily Saliers, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Jonatha Brooke, Gretchen Peters, and Suzy Boggus.

You can definitely hear the influence and inspiration of those amazing artists throughout the 10 songs, including the standouts "Lazarus," "Make Me Believe," "Innocence Lost," and "Mend." Fans of the late vocalist Ingrid Graudins are sure to be thrilled to hear her voice on the song "Year of the Dog." www.stephaniesammons.com

Also hailing from the Lone Star State is country-pop duo The Western Civilization, featuring queer artist Rachel Hansbro. The pair's lush new album "Fractions of a Whole" (Reggie) is reminiscent of "Translanticism"-era Death Cab For Cutie (take a listen to "She's By The Sea," for example).

But there's more to The Western Civilization, and songs including "Bible Verses for Kids," "If You're Lucky," "Noctambulism" (which sounds like a lost Bitch song), "Stitches," "The Ocean's On the Rise," and "Proselytism," are all deserving of praise. www.thewesterncivilization.com

Some readers may recognize the name of nonbinary musician Zoe Boekbinder from their time as one-half of the early 21st-century band Vermilion Lies in which they performed with their sibling Max. A transplant from New Orleans to upstate New York, Boekbinder has just released a new album titled "Wildflower" (Are & Be).

Evocative opening track "Cover Up The Moon" sets the modern Americana tone, which they sustain on "The Rest of His Days," the queer love song "More Like A Home" (featuring Megan McCormick on lap steel), "You Won't Let Me Go," and the down-home "No Sunshine, No Hurricane." Detours into vintage pop (the Elvis-esque "Hold My Hand") and experimentation ("Garden" and "Supernatural") keep things interesting. www.zeoboekbinder.com

"When It All Goes Down" (Ringleader), the debut album by queer singer/songwriter Sarah King is described as "Americana Noir," and that's a fitting description.

King's powerful voice has a melancholy quality which gives songs including the title track, "Lord Take My Soul," "Blame It On the Booze," "The Moth," and the titular song, a haunting quality. It's also not all that surprising that King covers Led Zeppelin's "Hey, Hey, What Can I Do," and does the band proud in the process. www.sarahkingsings.com

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