Queer Country at the Grammys
Here’s the short version: we killed it.
I did not watch the ceremonies, but here’s a (limited!) recap:
Allison Russell performed “Nightflyer” at the now-televised Grammy Pre-Ceremony. Joy Clark and SistahStrings backed Russell up:
Brandi Carlile also performed in an ostentatious jacket but I can’t find video.
In terms of snubs, I personally am disappointed with Chris Stapleton’s continued avalanche of Grammy wins when Mickey Guyton’s “Remember Her Name” is undoubtedly one of the finest country songs of the decade. It was also frustrating to see Yola (whose album was produced by queer country favorite Aaron Lee Tasjan) and Allison Russell (whose album Nightflyer was universally adored by critics) lose out to a covers album by Los Lobos. There’s no doubt that that band has worked their ass off, and I haven’t listened to the album itself, but it does seem like this particular Grammy is more of an acknowledgment of their cumulative effort – much like Return of the King sweeping all those Oscars when it is objectively bad.
But the big win of the night was TJ Osborne’s acceptance speech after winning Best Country Duo Performance on “Younger Me,” a heartfelt song about struggling with coming out. Naturally, TJ was emotional – and his speech shows just how much you stand to lose by living in fear, and just how much you stand to gain when you produce art that is authentically from the heart, no matter what your industry might tell you.
And as a total aside from the Grammys, I’m finally getting around to listening to Janis Ian’s interview on World Cafe. Ian’s album The Light at the End of the Line came out in January, right before I began the newsletter. It’s a stunningly beautiful album and I didn’t realize it was going to be her last one, after performing professionally since she was 15. You owe it to yourself to check out the album, and I hope she will at least be present in the Staples Center at next year’s Grammys.
Last housekeeping note – I will be out of commission for the next few weeks because I will be getting top surgery! So I might skip an edition of the newsletter. I know you’ll miss me.
If you’re in NYC, there is going to be an absolute blowout of queer country music this Saturday at the Knitting Factory. I’ll be there with copies of Rainbow Rodeo! (All proceeds go to the artists.) If you won’t take my word for it, how about the New York Times’?
For Love & Country, a documentary about Black artists in country music, is now available on Amazon Prime and features, among many other talented musicians, Amythyst Kiah and Allison Russell.
Amidst all the anti-trans legislation in the South, Trisha Yearwood is a real one
Queer country photography show Gayface is traveling! Maybe to a gallery near you?
- I don’t remember when this song, “History Hates Lovers,” came to my attention, but it’s a keeper:
My friend cartoonist Ellen Lindner sent me this article about increasing conservatism in country music. The emphasis on misogyny probably isn’t surprising to anyone reading this, but I found the increasing emphasis on whiteness in country lyrics to be particularly frightening.
Vulture interviewed Orville Peck. He’s a hell of a singer but his music isn’t really my thing, so I didn’t take the time to read this but you probably would like it!
Likewise, I don’t know anything about this project but it seems like something a few of you would be into!
##Rainbow Rodeo Playlist
Updated every two weeks!