Thoughts on the O&AN Music Issue

This month, O&AN focused on some elements of the music industry and the music scene in Nashville. We know we missed a lot: we’re sorry if we missed your favorite band, or your favorite personality, or your favorite venue. Please let us know of people and places that you feel are under-appreciated in the Nashville music culture who have ties to the LGBT community, and we’ll be pleased to cover them in the future. Remember, we need to hear from you, the reader.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Carmack, and tagging along on the photo shoot we did with him at Bicentennial Park and BB Kings Blues Bar in Nashville (a big thanks to BB Kings for being so accommodating). He was such a pleasure to work with, and so freely gave of his weekend time, and for that we are very grateful.

Now why, you may ask, has the local LGBT newspaper decided to do a music issue and put a straight actor on its cover? I understand that there will be people who take issue with this on a number of accounts. I even asked Chris to address the concern that some people might have at the casting of a straight man to play one of the choicest gay television roles available today. By putting him on the cover, aren’t we, am not I, perpetuating the same “problem”?

The simple answer is that yes, there are issues to be addressed in equitable casting, and in representation, and that conversation can be had. It’s a question of opportunity—and economic and political clout that deserves serious consideration.

However, the fact remains that Chris Carmack was cast to play Will Lexington, and he plays that part well. When Will Lexington kisses a man on the television screen, I believe every moment of it. And when he suffers the shame and degradation people in our community face daily, I believe every moment of it. And in the process, Will Lexington, and thus Chris Carmack, has become the face of “gay country music” in Nashville—on NASHVILLE.

And so the man whose face is most associated with LGBT struggles in the country music industry in our city, whose story line has brought so much attention to and sympathy for that situation, graciously agreed to speak with us about his experiences. So even if you disagree with us, I hope you’ll give him due consideration.

Besides Carmack, this month we feature Nashville couple Gavin O’Neill and Jeremy Ryan’s popular web show, Cotton Mill Live, which offers a professional venue to up-and-coming musicians, Marsha Stevens, the lesbian who has come to be known as the mother of Contemporary Christian music, Billy Gilman a year after coming out, 1980’s pop star and LGBT ally Tiffany, Nashville in Harmony, and much, much more. So stay tuned!


CORRECTION: Last month in our ‘Homes’ edition, we featured Mark Lopez’s Belmont home. In the print edition, I incorrectly identified Patrick Armstrong as Mark Lopez's partner. The online material has been corrected to read Patrick Boggs, with sincerest apologies. — James Grady





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