I love it when two of my favorite things come together. You may be aware that the World Baseball Classic is happening right now -- a true World Series similar to the World Cup. Some countries you may be surprised to hear have done quite well: Czech Republic was never supposed to make it, and they gave Japan (the tournament's favorite) a run for their money. Italy has also advanced pretty far and Great Britain's last few games before elimination were downright heroic.
Baseball is also very similar to country music. Once a salt-of-the-earth working person's pastime, it's been gentrified by wealthy suburban sticks-in-the-mud who are often racist and hew to "tradition" as a means of gatekeeping.
Bryan Ruby is at the intersection of queer country music and baseball. His new song, "Baseball Country," comes out today, and we talk more about it. When Bryan Ruby came out in 2021 he was the first professional baseball player to do so as an active player. Ruby hasn't hit the majors yet, but he's no longer alone: White Sox prospect Anderson Comas came out a few weeks ago. The White Sox have been shit at baseball the last two years but their policy towards the LGBTQ+ community is not: Australian pitcher Liam Hendricks signed with the team in part because they were excited about giving him free reign to organize a Pride Night.
In addition to the interview, we have a truly overwhelming array of stuff in the Roundup, plus a great playlist. First, here's Ruby!
How do you feel your coming out journey plays into your music?
BR: Coming out publicly (while playing pro baseball in 2021) was such a pivotal moment for me, in that I felt like I could finally take the weight off of my chest and just be myself. It's also had the unintended consequence of opening up a whole new avenue within my personal songwriting process, and I'm proud to be singing more openly as an out queer artist within the country genre.
Explain the title of your new single out today, "Baseball Country"
BR: Yes! Baseball Country is a song that's true to my personal story and I hope also relatable to anyone who has ever stepped foot into that world. It's a really fun song that's built to blast, and brings together a few different elements of traditional country with a big rock flair mixed in. Hope y'all like it...
Who would you love to collaborate with? Why?
BR: There are so many artists I'd love to collaborate with here in Nashville. First and foremost, I would love to do a duet with Ty Herndon. He's a hero for our queer country community in Music City and one heck of a singer. Maybe we can make that happen sometime soon! Other than Ty, I'd love to collab with Brooke Eden and Brothers Osborne one day. On the songwriting side, I look up to Shane McAnally and my dream is to one day write a song with him too.
How do you feel your queer identity ties into your performance style or music?
BR: Honestly, it's been an evolving process of learning to embrace (and love) who I am as a queer person. I used to hate who I am and have so much shame...now I absolutely love that part of me and am proud to be waving the rainbow flag up high! I want to incorporate more elements of my queer identity into my songs. My next single (which is coming out in June for Pride Month, pun intended), due out after Baseball Country, is going to have a big queer element that I am very excited for...stay tuned!
Photo: Bryan Ruby on stage at Montclair (NJ) Pride, June 2022.
What are some of the best venues you've played? Why?
BR: Some of the best venues I've performed at aren't traditional music venues per se, but they still do a lot of music-related stuff. I've been on a stadium tour going around and singing at different ballparks and promoting our charity Proud To Be In Baseball, which supports and encourages LGBTQ+ youth in my sport. Sometimes it's intimidating singing in front of that amount of people but it's a great way to spread our mission and get exposure within the sports world.
Photo: Bryan Ruby standing with LA Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts before singing at Dodger Stadium. Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Have you ever been given something remarkable by a fan?
BR: A few days ago I got a message from a mother telling me about her young gay son. She said her son is a country music fan and has been inspired by some of my songs. That one hit me in all the feels. I'm glad that my songs are getting out there and people are connecting with them.
What's the best way a fan can support you?
BR: Follow along on Tik Tok, Instagram, and Facebook @bryanrubyofficial and of course, stream my songs! Also be sure to follow our charity Proud To Be In Baseball @proudtobeinbaseball on Instagram & Facebook, and @proudbaseball on Twitter.
Rainbow Rodeo prides itself on paying queer country creators! Support our community and advertise here.
Here are all of the queer country album releases this month! Let me know if I should add something to the list!
3/1 — Tina and Her Pony
3/10 — Brian Falduto
3/10 — Booze Radley
3/17 — Roger Harvey
3/24 — Boys Club For Girls
3/24 — Creekbed Carter Hogan
Will Groff, who spoke with me about the anti-drag bill in Atlanta, wrote about Nashville drag queens in his newsletter
Mya Byrne drops some trans country history in this thread
Been getting a lot of calls lately asking me about all the “firsts” attached to my name. I love it! But let’s talk for a minute about a living legend trans woman in country music: Deena Kaye Rose. Under her old name, she wrote “Some Days Are Diamonds” & “Eastbound & Down”. 1/— Mya Byrne (Mia, Mimi) 🏳️⚧️ (@MsMyaByrne) March 15, 2023
Autumn Sky Hall/Otto is making a "queer as shit Americana" album. Help her!!!
Are you at SXSW? The Austin Chronicle featured some of the excellent queer artists performing this weekend.
Chapell Roan distinguishes between her conservative Christian upbringing and her raunchy song "Casual" for them.
Apple TV's reality competition series My Kind of Country dropped a trailer and there is at least one queer country singer competing! It's out (ha) on 3/24!
Vulture reviewed the movie National Anthem, which seems to be about queer found family repurposing the American West. Thought you'd be interested!
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
Did you know that artists at SXSW get paid in virtual pennies and still have to buy a festival pass if they want to see someone else’s show? That sucks! Demand fair pay for SXSW
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 autonomyhttps://twitter.com/johnpaulkeith/status/1634444458199592960?s=20
This month’s episode of Rainbow Rodeo is a check-in on all of the fantastic queer country that's come out so far -- plus a hint of what's to come. Featuring Sunny War, John-Allison Weiss, Jaimee Harris, Izzy Heltai, and more!
Tell your friends about the podcast!
3/21 -- Black Opry and Hunter Kelly have assembled an Avengers-worthy lineup of LGBTQ+, Black, and QTPOC perfomers at City Winery Nashville to benefit inclusion Tennessee
I hope you will join us at @CityWineryNSH on March 21 to celebrate the voices of some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Together we are a force, and you can be a part of that. All proceeds will benefit https://t.co/uiNs7V5jTM pic.twitter.com/keGewwr2Zi— The Black Opry (@BlackOpry) March 10, 2023
3/25 -- Hey, Philly! Brittany Ann Tranbaugh, Hayfitz, and Lauren Scott are having a songwriters-in-the-round
4/2 - Trans Singers and Testosterone: A Heart-Centered Online Gathering for Folks on T or Considering It with trans voice teachers Eli Conley and Orion Johnstone
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?
4/20 -- The Love Rising Concert at Bridgestone Arena, featuring Mya Byrne, Allison Russell, Brothers Osborne, Joy Oladokun, and some guy named Jason Isbell among many many others
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.
6/23 - 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 Catie Pearl-Hartling for making a parallel list on Apple Music!
Listen on Tidal!
Jessye DeSilva is looking for artists to share a bill with!
I’m booking my album release tour right now and I’d love your thoughts on LGBTQ+ friendly venues! Send your recs!— Jessye DeSilva Music 🏳️⚧️🖤💜🤍💛 (@JessyeDMusic) March 15, 2023
Cities I’d like to visit are:
Dave's Lesbian Bar in Queens, NY is hosting a battle of the bands! The application is due on 3/20
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!