Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The (Not So Secret) Gay History Of Country Music

Country music star Chely Wright has come out as a lesbian on the cover of People magazine, part of a high-stakes media campaign that some feel may affect her marketability.

She's hardly the first one to the party:
Though it's unclear why, "Lavender Cowboy," a recording by Texas-born country singer Vernon Dalhart is banned from the radio. Dalhart leaves the industry to become a security guard; is inducted into the Nashville Song Writers Hall of Fame in 1970.

Lavender Country, fronted by openly gay Seattle-based Patrick Haggerty, releases America's first overtly gay-themed country album. The band pressed only 1,000 copies. Songs include "Back in the Closet Again" and "Come Out Singing." "For many," the album cover notes, "Lavender Country is a land of fear, confusion, and loneliness."

Some consider Pirates of the Mississippi's video "Feed Jake" the "first country music video with a gay theme." The clip tells the story of two men, one of whom dies, leaving the other to take care of his dog. Though the song features the lyric: "If you get an ear pierced, some will call you gay," the band's manager denies intentional gay undertones.

Canadian star k.d. lang – whose country recording career began in 1983 — comes out in The Advocate, after she'd effectively switched her focus to pop music.

Musician Doug Stevens, of Doug Stevens & The Outband, forms the the Lesbian and Gay Country Music Association (LGCMA) to support gay country artists and promote country music in the gay community.


Share this article on your social media.