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Indiana Queen is an alternative-country band based in Nashville and fronted by openly queer singer-songwriter Kevin Thornton. In the still-conservative world of Nashville country, that’s a lot of alternative, but Thornton and Indiana Queen are happy to continue to provide an artistic challenge to the prevailing norm with their second album, I Built a Fire.
Thornton is no newcomer to the Nashville music scene. Around 2000, Thornton moved to Nashville with band and presented himself as an out musician, enjoying moderate success, signing with an indie label and releasing an album. That success was stymied by the uncertainties of the industry more than anything else.
The band, Thornton said, “fell apart while on the rise. iTunes and [other internet outlets] took over and no one really knew what was going to happen.” In the industry restructuring, “we got swept away. In 2006 we didn't know what to do with the internet, and it really brought my career to halt.”
After a break from the Nashville music scene—including time spent on cruise ships, and then Los Angeles—Thornton returned to Nashville with new energy and formed Indiana Queen. Thornton remains unconcerned with the idea that Nashville might not be ready for his music, but he sees that a lot has changed since he first arrived in 2000. “I was told to play down the gay thing,” he said, “that it would hurt me. But I was always out, and I don't honestly feel like it has hurt me except maybe a couple of times.”
This time around, the internet wasn’t a hindrance but a boon for his band, providing them with an audience even in the absence of big label support. “A decade later,” he said, “I'm rediscovering my career through the internet. People are discovering my music there and that’s really where I focus all my attention—plugging into the web—because that's where it's at!”
Indiana Queen’s first album, This I Do Carry Unto the End, may not have been a mainstream chart-topper, but on the internet it found its audience and garnered worldwide attention, as outlets like the Huffington Post touted the music and drew attention the band’s story.
When Thornton released his music video for “This Is Me Trying” in 2015, Huffington wrote, “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.”
Then, in June, Indiana Queen was honored to be one of the few locals to grace the Nashville Pride stage. “We were the first act of the day on that day,” Thornton recalled, “and the festival was just the day after the Supreme Court decision. Honestly, there was a part of me that realized there were a lot of people who weren't happy with what had just happened, and when I got up on stage there was a part of me that was afraid. But the rain cleared and the fear went away, and it was a great and wonderful experience.”
The attention Indiana Queen has received in the past year has helped bring early attention to the upcoming release of I Built a Fire, which spins the group’s country roots from an even more unusual perspective. “The album is country,” Thornton said, “but let’s be serious, there is nothing traditional about Indiana Queen.”
“This is the second album for this project,” Thornton said, “and this time I wanted to record in a different way—I actually bought a bunch of vintage recording equipment and set it up in my house.”
Thorton’s vintage Tascam 246 four track tape machine allowed him to work when and how he liked, and to capture sound of a completely different quality. “In a studio you are rushed, so I spent several weeks holed up in my living room downstairs recording. Because it’s a four track. It's sparse, and I'm happy with how it turned out.”
The character of the recording matches well with the new album’s subject matter. “It's a really simple album,” Thornton explained. “I hate to sound mystical, but when I write I feel like I channel the songs. I sit with some wine and reflect, and I just start singing and playing. A melody will come, and I’ll sing nonsense until a sentence comes to me, and I begin to build on that.”
What came of that process? “It's really a collection of memories about past loves that didn't work out,” Thornton said. “It's funny because I'm engaged to be married now, and I'm really happy. I had a fantastic last year, and you hear a lot of times that when artist get happy the music suffers but I think the opposite happened. I'm so happy that it caused me to look back on my life at times that weren't so happy, and it created this strange melancholy. I'm in my forties and love has never worked out before. I feel thankful, looking back at all these heartaches... It puts an interesting cast on the past heartbreaks to look back on them from here.”
Besides the subject matter and the recording style, this album brings a few new elements to Indiana Queen’s sound. “There is a lot more vocal harmony on this album,” Thornton explained. “The two guys I’m playing with are both great singers and that brings a bit of a Crosby Stills and Nash vibe. We also have a great musician, Samuel Damewood, playing fiddle, which definitely brings it even more into a folk country realm than before.”
“The world is changing really fast,” he added. “I went to Ty Herndon’s Concert for Love and Acceptance, and I realized that while some of us still get extra attention for doing ‘gay’ country, in a couple of years that won't be that novel.” But long after the novelty of LGBT people in country music has faded, the timeless, universal themes captured in I Built a Fire will compel audiences from all walks of life.
I Built a Fire will be released worldwide on February 16 2016, and is currently available for preview and pre-order on iTunes. A mature-audience music video of “I Don't Know What To Do,” a track on the album, is viewable on YouTube and Vimeo.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.