I know I've been using this space to kvetch a lot lately so here's some good news! There are a lot of amazing queer country concerts and parties coming up around the South this fall. Sara Gougeon just wrapped up Queerfest in Nashville (I interviewed her about it for The Nashville Scene). In Austin, Julie Nolen is putting together the second OUTlaw Pride Fest on 9/24 with a killer lineup:
Also, it sounds like there will be a queer country showcase in Nashville during Americanafest, but I'm waiting to hear about those details.
For those of you in Jacksonville, I recently learned about a party called the Queer Country Disco, which is happening on August 13 -- that's next week!!!
Here's what the organizer Stacey Bennett told me about it:
Queer Country Disco is an annual event created by Stacey Bennett, a Jax-based songwriter who performs under the name Folk is People. Their music is a playful blend of folk, indie-rock, and Americana. At the heart of their songs is a story, an opportunity to speak truth and connect to others. They recognize mainstream country and Americana are dominated by white, heterosexual, cisgender male voices who center their experiences and leave little room for others. Historically, country music concerts have not been the most inviting places for queer people. Stacey saw an opportunity to create a space for queer folks and their stories, a space for performers and attendees to connect through art while raising money for a local LGBTQIA non-profit.
You can buy tickets here
I'm so excited to see soooo many parties showing up all across the US. We are here and, particularly the places these shows are happening, we are not going back into the closet.
New Orleans-based singer-songwriter Shawn Williams has just released their fourth album, Wallowin' in the Night. (PS -- You can read about it and my favorite albums from July on Adobe and Teardrops.) The album is a deep dive into heartbreak, vice, and -- yes -- wallowin'. It's full of attitude and tasty guitar licks, sampling the best of Americana, swamp rock, and '90s alt-rock. In our interview, Williams breaks down her process.
Name a perfect song and tell us why you feel that way.
Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You." I'm still not sick of it after all these years...of listening to it a billion times. I mean, the first line of the song just explodes with perfection..."I wanna hold the hand inside you." The music is dreamy. Hope's voice perfectly fills and molds directly into it.
Do you have any songwriting tips you can share?
If it takes you longer than 20 minutes to write a song, put it down. I write in 5-15 minutes, 20 minutes at max, and not because I'm trying to rush through something, but because I want it to flow naturally and unfiltered. More than 20 minutes, thinking about it too much and what people will perceive.
Who would you love to collaborate with? Why?
Damn, do I have to choose one? Haha. Since at this moment, I'm sitting in a coffee shop typing this and this dirrty, bluesy song just came on...it made me think of The Rolling Stones and Lucinda Williams. I was gonna say one of them, but how about both in one song. I'd love to do a dirrty, bluesy, rock 'n' roll full of sex kind of song with them. They're both raunchy, and would be fun.
Do you play covers at your shows? Why or Why not?
If I'm doing a four hour show, I might throw in about two covers. Many reasons I don't do covers...I barely remember my own songs, so to remember other people's is just hard, haha. I don't take cover requests from the audience because usually I'm not emotionally connected to the songs or if I am, I just had never played it before or I can't pull it off. People request Janis or Amy all the time, and I'm like, thank you for thinking I can vocally pull those off, but I could never do those artists justice like they deserve. I'm a writer first, singer third. If a venue wants a jukebox, they should just get one or put their ipod on shuffle.
Have you ever been given something remarkable by a fan?
I love getting little gifts from fans. The most remarkable was when my fans came through for my second LP, Motel Livin', with a Kickstarter project, allowing me to make the album. To me, that says, you want me to keep going, in order to create a piece of art that helps me share and connect with you. Fans are the puzzle piece to this whole thing I'm doing. Without them, I'm just laying in bed, staring at the ceiling with a guitar in hand, and only the four walls of my room to share those thoughts and words.
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