Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Pale Waves, Alberta Hunter, Queer Country, Disco Icon Sylvester & MORE!

Pale Waves

Hello! Hello! Hello!

Here's your Music News Round-Up for today...

Pale Waves is a band from Manchester, England that I've gotten into recently. Lead singer Baron-Gracie is openly queer. The band has a new album, "Who Am I" and from what I've listened to so far, it is pretty good! Their latest music video is below. Take a look and tell me what you think.

Jazz great Alberta Hunter was a singer-songwriter with a very unique life history so I was glad to see her being featured during Black History Month. Did you know that Hunter was inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011? Well deserved! Hunter kept her true sexuality secret but did have a long-time lady love named, Lottie Tyler.

How happy did it make me to see a new interview with pop singer Melissa Manchester? Very happy I tell ya! Her songs bring back so memories for me. I know the lyrics to her Top 10 smash hit "Midnight Blue" like I know the back of my hand:
Whatever it is, it'll keep till the morning
Haven't we both got better things to do?
Midnight blue
Even the simple things become rough
Haven't we had enough?

And I think we can make it
One more time
If we try
One more time for all the old times
I'm playing the song (singing along, natch) while I write this and it's a good thing you can't hear me, kids. Your Blog Daddy might be singing just a little off key, Just a little (clears throat). 

Check out the interview, articles, videos and more below!

Happy reading!

Shane, Editor

Album Review: "Who Am I?" by Pale Waves
Almost three years have passed since the release of My Mind Makes Noises - the debut album from Pale Waves. The guitar-driven band have captured fans worldwide with their searing honesty and nostalgia for early 2000s pop-punk. Not to mention the intoxicating frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie, who combines her trademark goth aesthetic with a flair for writing irresistibly romantic pop tracks. There’s the presence of a newfound self-assuredness in Baron-Gracie since coming out, with the 26-year-old’s bravery also resulting in emotional tracks addressing mental health and sobriety struggles. Baron-Gracie’s use of she/her pronouns on ‘She’s My Religion’ emphasize her recently discovered sense of queer pride with her fans (“She's cold, she's dark, she's cynical/ She's forever angry at the world/ She's no angel, but she is my religion”) while the multi-instrumentalist defends the LGBTQ+ community more forcefully on the track ‘Tomorrow’ More.

Watch Pale Waves latest music video "Fall To Pieces" from the new album, "Who Am I?"

Alberta Hunter

Alberta Hunter would find great success and went on to tour Europe before returning to Chicago. Despite her fast-growing popularity, she decided to flee the city after growing weary of the violence that plagued the nightclub scene. Her breaking point was when her piano player was murdered during a performance. She made New York City her new home and shortly after, she married a man named Willard Townsend. The marriage was short-lived and rumors emerged that Hunter was a lesbian; however, she did not publicly disclose her sexual identity in order to preserve her growing career. Historians say she remained closeted while singing about tormented romances. More.

WATCH: "Darktown Strutters' Ball" by Alberta Hunter

(L) Billy Gilman, (R) Brandy Clark

They say the genre isn’t always welcoming to gay country singers. Despite major changes in LGBTQ rights around the world, country music remains to be one of the most challenging genres for an out artist to work in. Some even say that fans of country music – which has by tradition been home to songs about partying hard, loving hard, working hard, and praying hard – aren’t as accepting of those in the community as fans of other genres. Fortunately, a handful of gay musicians have found the courage to live proudly as their authentic selves regardless of the age-old machismo – and you can see the struggle and victory keeps shining through their music. More.

Dusty Springfield's Manager/Biographer Describes Singer's Dance With 'Demons'

Dusty Springfield

The late British singer Dusty Springfield had a number of hits in the '60s, many of which are included in a new Atlantic Records anthology. Listen to this podcast interview with Springfield's friend Vicki Wickham. More.

Interview With The Legendary Melissa Manchester

Melissa Manchester

It is said of great artists that they provide the soundtrack to our lives. Melissa Manchester has long been held in such esteem by many in the LGBTQ community. She has an impressive set of classics, “Midnight Blue,” “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and “Through the Eyes of Love” among them, and performs them with clear passion, yet there is more to Manchester than casual listeners know. "Remember, I was raised around gay people. (Chuckles) I never understood what the big deal is, but I feel very blessed for the upbringing I had. I had two uncles, Jimmy and Peter, who were dear friends of my mother’s, who would listen to me recite my poetry—I think I was 14 or 15. They were so supportive, appreciative, and encouraging. That’s what my experience was, and so when I started to perform and saw and read in fan letters that my music was not only resonating with a marginalized gay audience but also with young women at the beginning of the women’s movement, I was tremendously touched," shares Manchester. More.

On January 1, 1982, Melissa Manchester appeared on the Dutch TV show "TopPop" to sing her latest hit song, "You Should Hear How She Talks About You". What a blast from the past!

"Midnight Blue" by Melissa Manchester

Sylvester's Album "Step II"

Sylvester is an icon of soul & disco music and "Step II" is a formative record in the queer canon. a one-of-a-kind talent in no uncertain terms—Sylvester—destined for stardom long before the world was prepared for it. He melded gospel, funk, and disco to create a spangled, unforgettable impression on the ’70s and ’80s, and through it all, Sylvester remained resolutely himself. The qualities about him that were so often marginalized—Black, gay, and feminine—were the same ones that made him an undeniable star. More.

Sylvester's 1978 single "Dance (Disco Heat)"

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