Queer Country Roadshow brings three acts to Nashville
After five years of trailblazing queer country music, New York City’s Gay Ole Opry is hitting the road with their Queer Country Roadshow for the first time. Opry regulars The Paisley Fields and Karen & the Sorrows are heading South for a week-long tour, and they are coming to Nashville to The High Watt at 1 Cannery Row on Wednesday, April 27th. The show starts at 8:00 pm and tickets are $10. They are especially thrilled that Nashville’s Indiana Queen will be headlining. This alt-country band fronted by the openly queer Kevin Thornton has been blazing a new path in the traditionally conservative genre.
With Indiana Queen’s original and unusual spin on country roots, The Paisley Fields’ harmony-driven, piano-based alt-country, and Karen & the Sorrows’ “haunting pedal steel work and unvarnished heartbreak” (Bust Magazine), the show will be a first-of-its-kind good time.
“As the struggle against violent new laws like North Carolina’s HB2 continues, we are looking forward to being in community with so many amazing Southern queer country musicians,” says Karen Pittelman of Karen & the Sorrows. “Country music tells powerful stories about family, love, heartbreak, strength, and healing. Those stories should include our families, our love, and, especially in this moment, our heartbreak and our strength.”
The first Gay Ole Opry queer country music festival was held in 2011 in Brooklyn and the long-running Queer Country Quarterly began soon after as a way to create community for people who love country music even if country music doesn’t always love us back. This queer country community knows that everybody needs a honky tonk angel to hold them tight. And that country music should be for all cowpeople.
More about the bands:
Indiana Queen is an alt-country band based in Nashville. Fronted by openly queer Kevin Thornton, the band is blazing a new path in a traditionally conservative genre. The Huffington Post says, “There are traces of Hank Williams. The pulse of ‘Jolene.’ Chord progressions that originated in the Baptist Hymnal. However these influences meet at an unexpected crossroads with Antony and The Johnsons, Roxy Music and Tom Waits.” Recently, their newest video, “I Don’t Know What To Do,” went viral with 75k views in its first week, and was featured by Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, The Advocate, and The New Yorker. Their new album I Built A Fire was just released this February and continues to take country roots and spin them from an usual perspective.
Karen & the Sorrows
Brooklyn alt-country band Karen & the Sorrows “write loss and heartbreak, and goddamn are they good at it.” (F*** Yeah, Queer Music) Their debut album The Names of Things is full of “haunting pedal steel work and unvarnished heartbreak” (Bust Magazine) and was voted one of the Freeform American Roots Chart’s best debut albums of 2014. New York Music Daily writes, “Country keeps evolving and Karen & the Sorrows are taking it to a place it’s never been before, a good and creepy one.” Queer country pioneers, The Sorrows co-founded the Gay Ole Opry, the first ever queer country music festival, and host the popular Queer Country Quarterly.
The Paisley Fields
The Paisley Fields are a Brooklyn based alt-country band, unapologetic about pushing boundaries and seeking inspiration in the unexpected. Though lead singer James Wilson is inspired by country musicians like Dolly Parton and Gram Parsons, he wanted The Paisley Fields lyrics to reflect a modern world. Pittsburgh City Paper writes, "While The Paisley Fields have a good bit in common with contemporary country — rich production, songs with pop bones and twangy accents — the band probably won't be touring with Toby Keith anytime soon. They're a refreshing change from country radio." The Paisley Fields tour frequently, and their latest album, Oh These Urban Fences, is described by No Depression as "a labor of love that demands your attention.” Officially a five piece band, James Wilson and Anna Volpe will be representing The Paisley Fields on the Gay Ole Opry tour, performing stripped down versions of their original songs as well as some of their favorite covers.