Howdy, cowpokes! I hope everyone who had a spring equinox holiday to celebrate enjoyed it with loved ones, biological family or not.
And spring feels GREAT! At least here in the Northeast, we've got a nice warm spell -- perfect for enjoying a slew of new queer country music.
Before we get to Arend Lee Jessurun's review of Tina and Her Pony's new album, let's talk about Tami Hart's new EP Thanks For Saying Hi, which came out last week.
Tami's been working hard to revive New York's queer country scene post-pandemic. The artists have been here, but people need reminders about the shows. I couldn't make last week's release party, but overall it looks like a raucous time. The state of queer country is looking good up here.
Thanks For Saying Hi, is a love letter to Hart's Southern upbringing and punk rock coming of age. Hart's career playing alongside queercore and riotgrrl legends like Bikini Kill and the Butchies is evident here, with Kate Ryan (FLOWN)'s biting drums piercing Hart's rockabilly rumble. Adrienne Lloyd (Hunter Valentine) holds things down on bass, providing country grooves on "Sorry For Your Heart" and "I'm So Sad." (What better titles are there for country music?) The EP's first two songs, "Thanks For Saying Hi" and "Water Under the Bridge" have a tender punk rock urgency that should be nostalgic for anyone who came out to Sleater-Kinney. The EP is an intelligent take on a truth that's long been accepted but never proved: country and punk are really just two sides of the same coin.
Rainbow Rodeo prides itself on paying queer country creators! Support our community and advertise here.
If you're looking for some sweet tunes to swaddle yourself in as they carry you gently into spring, look no further than Tina and Her Pony's latest record Marigolds. Spring is, traditionally, a season heralding life and renewal, but, for many people, it's also a period of seasonal depression. Marigolds holds space for both springtime experiences. It's an album about cyclical change and death and rebirth as initiation.
After last year's singles, the retro R&B-folk venture of "Yellow Rose" and the classic country nostalgia of "Beautiful Mess," Tina and the band deliver an LP with more songs that follow suit in expanding their indie Appalachian sound. With this new record, Tina and Her Pony incorporates soul influences on songs such as "Pull You Close" and adopts pop songwriting sensibilities as heard on the piano ballad "Flowers."
My favorite track on the album may have to be "Fly Around." This arrangement, which features a flailing banjo, funky drum groove, and fuzzed-out slide guitar accompaniment, manages to at once to do justice to this song's Appalachian tradition while moving today's cosmopolitan listener to dance. I also just love to hear Tina queering this traditional courtship tune, singing, "Fly around, my pretty little miss, / fly around my daisy." I'd always wondered if there was a queer old-time song.
Long-time fans will be glad to know that, despite going through lineup changes, "Tina & Her Pony is alive and well!" as Tina wrote herself in an April 2022 Instagram post. As I listened to the album these last few weeks and took to heart what Tina was singing to me—"We are here today"—I was reminded that I too am alive and well.
Listen on Bandcamp or your favorite streaming service.
You can catch Tina on tour.
Thurs April 27 Blue Moon Charlottesville, Virginia 7p
Sat April 29 Greenfield Farmer’s Market Greenfield, MA
Sun April 30 House Concert Buckland, MA (email for details)
Tues May 2 Tuesday Market Northampton, MA 2p
Sat May 13 Mal’s Marshall, NC 7p
Sat June 10 Power & Light Press Silver City, NM
Sun June 11 Goddess Fest at Unity Taos, NM
Wed June 14 House Concert in Albuquerque, NM (email for details)
Thurs June 15 Founding Fathers Prescott, AZ *w/ Stephy Leigh Griffin 6pm
Fri June 16 The Hitching Post Bisbee, AZ 8p
Sat June 17 The Quarry Bisbee, AZ 8p
Sun June 25 Sierra Nevada Amphitheater Mills River, NC 2p
Fri July 14 Blue Jay Listening Room Jacksonville Beach, FL
Sat July 15 Story & Song Bookstore Fernandina Beach, FL 5p
Arend Lee Jessurun (they/them) is a singer-songwriter, producer-engineer, and music educator. Since coming out as nonbinary, they have a renewed zeal for writing and sharing vulnerable and sincere songs in their own style of genre-expansive folk. Taking a page from artists like Mary Gauthier and Pete Seeger, Arend believes songwriting is a practice of self-discovery, and sharing songs is a radical act of community-building.
Here are all of the queer country album releases this month! Let me know if I should add something to the list!
4/7 — Tami Hart
4/26 — Joy Oladokun
4/28 — The Bootstrap Boys
4/28 — Mya Byrne
I premiered Jude Brothers’ gender-bending ode to Springsteen on Adobe & Teardrops
eryn brothers (Jude’s sibling and a Rainbow Rodeo contributor!) wants YOU to be in their new music video! Info here!
The Indigo Girls staged Jesus Christ Superstar in 1995 and you can watch it here???
Reba spoke out against Tennessee’s anti-drag bill (h/t The Boot)
The CMTS happened. Kelsea Ballerini performed with a bunch of drag queens and The Texas Standard interviewed badass Tejano artist Veronique Medrano (a friend to Rainbow Rodeo!) about the show’s increasing diversity. Medrano covered the red carpet for Wide Open Country. (And Medrano just signed with BMI!)
Read Country Cutler’s beautiful post about authenticity in country music and Judaism
This came out a while ago but one of my favorite trans podcasts, Gender Stories, interviewed one of my favorite trans artists, Rascal Miles. I linked to the Spotify episode but you can listen on your favorite podcast source!
Autumn Sky Hall/Otto is making a "queer as shit Americana" album. Help her!!!
What do you mean you don't want this $2 comic about butch cowgirls and gender rolemodels???
You can sign up to table at the Punk Island zine fair, or volunteer for the Brooklyn-based festival. There will be quite a few Americana and folk musicians there. I don’t think a date has been announced.
If you’re here, you like music zines. Longtime Wide Open Country contributor Addie Moore is taking pre-orders for their indie punk zine No Spectators
You can get almost 50% off the book Queer Country using this code: F21UIP
This thread gives advice on self-managed transition in Alabama and other states that restrict our bodily autonomy
This month’s episode of Rainbow Rodeo features an interview with artist activist Zoe Boekbinder. We discuss their experiences with conflict, restorative justice, incarceration, and question the essence of queer country music and whether there even is one.
4/15 & 16 — The High Water Festival in North Charleston, SC, will feature a number of queer artists like Rainbow Kitten Surprise, SG Goodman, Orville Peck, Ezra Furman, and the Black Opry. Who’s buying a ticket for me?
4/21 — There will be a virtual and in-person celebration of the life of Patrick Haggerty. The in-person gathering will be in Bremerton, WA. See the post for details about submitting notes, etc. to his family.
6/7 -- Ty Herndon's annual Concert For Love and Acceptance is at Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon
6/23 - 25: Melissa Carper, Alisa Amador, Maya deVitry, The Faux Paws, and Amy Martin are playing the Red Wing Roots Music Festival in Mount Solon, Virginia
All kinds of price points to advertise on the podcast, newsletter, or zine. (Deadline for the zine is 3/31!) Click here and help support the queer country community!
Updated every week!
Thanks to Elliott for making a parallel list on Apple Music!
Thanks to Heike Hausmann for making a parallel list on Tidal!
Todd Farrell Jr., lead singer of the Benchmarks and sideman for Sammy Kay Jr and Two Cow Garage, is fielding songs for a comp album to fight voter suppression in Tennessee. Apply here!
Apply to play a street stage at IBMA, the premiere bluegrass festival! (Stacy Chandler says that all roots music artists are encouraged to apply)
DEADLINE 5/19: The Amador Arts Council has put out a call for artists of all media to submit works with the theme WAY OUT WEST, celebrating LGBTQAI2S+ history throughout the western frontiers
We Are Moving the Needle is looking for women and non-binary audio engineers and music producers
Eli Conley is teaching Unlock the Song Inside: Beginning Songwriting Class for Queer & Trans Folks & Allies, and he also offers an online LGBTQ+ songwriter circle!
Are you on Mastodon or another part of the Fediverse? Get your music on RadioFreeFedi! https://radiofreefedi.net/
Submit your music and events to The Q LGBTQ Creative Network
This Twitter thread has a whole list of places to find jobs in the music industry
And here’s a list of resources for “women” entering the music industry — presumably they also encourage nonbinary participants
Submit your profile to the Country Everywhere which seeks to unite BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled artists and professionals
Sign up to the Black Opry Revue’s interest form!
Check out the weekly Queerfolk Fest show in Nashville
Twitter kind of sucks right now and can you really make friends on Instagram? Join us on the Rainbow Rodeo Discord! We've been talking sci fi, tour lineups, press contacts, allyship, gender, and more! Just respond to this e-mail to get the link!