It Took Half a Century for Our Culture to Catch Up to Lavender Country’s Revolutionary Debut

BY AL RIGGS  MAR. 06, 2019  6:30 A.M.

When I messaged Patrick Haggerty on Facebook to ask if he had an opening slot for his March 13 Lavender Country show at The Pinhook, he wrote back saying the slots had been filled, but asked me, “Do you play anything?” I said I play guitar and sing, and he replied, “We may have a spot for you in the band.” This is how I, a semi-known queer songwriter, was welcomed into Lavender Country, the first openly gay country band.

This found family, ever-changing in lineup and size and always led by Haggerty, spent almost half a century in frustrating isolation after releasing its 1973 self-titled debut album, which mixes airy production and dusty Carter Family–style arrangements with queer politics that still blister and bluster to this day—as they should.

Pittsboro label Paradise of Bachelors were eventually clued into the album, long out of print, and prepared it for a wonderful remastered reissue, making it so generations of angry, big-hearted queers could holler along to now classics “I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You,” “Come Out Singing,” and “Cryin’ These Cocksucking Tears.”

I recently spoke with Haggerty about where he fits in the spectrum of queer music, now and then, and picked his brain about Lavender Country’s upcoming follow-up album, Blackberry Rose and Other Songs and Sorrows from Lavender Country.

INDY: I wanted to get your long view of your history as a gay musician.

PATRICK HAGGERTY: Well, let me start from the beginning. When we made Lavender Country in 1973, there were a few gay and out musicians among us. One of them was named Blackberry. I did my first show with him in 1975, and we’ve been co-travelers down this road of gay music for a lifetime. It was very different for lesbians because they had the women’s movement to back them up. But for gay men who were making music in the early seventies, it was an exceedingly lonely road for decades. Well, let me get political about it.

Go for it.

Read the rest of this article at Indy Week

Announcing the first-ever Queer Roots showcase at AmericanaFest

Presented by Rolling Stone Country, The Change Project, BriteHeart, and HearthPR, Nashville will play host to the first ever Queer Roots showcase at AmericanaFest this year on Thursday, September 13, from 5-8pm at the Crying Wolf! Join a host of LGBTQ+ performers from the conference and from around the US, along with key Nashville non-profit organizations for an all-out party at one of Nashville’s best bars. It’s free and open to the public!

Special guest, Patrick Haggerty, will be performing with his full band, Lavender Country. Patrick is in the Country Music Hall of Fame for cutting the first gay country album way back in 1973. The album, Lavender Country, was designed as a viral message and today it’s a document that’s still remarkably ahead of its time. Patrick’s been a life-long activist ever since and was recently honored with Nashville Pride’s Trailblazer Award last year.

Also performing:

  • Nashville band Little Bandit, who NPR described as “classic country music with a sassy and subtly political twist”
  • Southern Gothic, alt-country blues singer/songwriter Amythyst Kiah
  • Nashville Americana artist Mercy Bell with her band
  • Eve Sheldon, formerly lead singer of The Wilders and one of the few trans voices in roots music

Here are the show details:

Thursday, September 13
Queer Roots Party at AmericanaFest
The Crying Wolf
823 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206
Show runs 5-8pm
Free and open to the public!
https://www.facebook.com/events/2191212497824762/

FEATURING

PATRICK HAGGERTY & LAVENDER COUNTRY
https://vimeo.com/186421525

LITTLE BANDIT
http://littlebanditmusic.com/
https://youtu.be/npXVXbgjvn4

AMYTHYST KIAH
https://amythystkiah.com/
https://youtu.be/WoMFLgP4LQk

MERCY BELL
https://mercybell.bandcamp.com/
https://youtu.be/aNQyhx4OjQk

EVE SHELDON
http://bit.ly/2Nv2jIN (YouTube channel)