While Steve Grand and Josey

DNA Magazine - - FEATURE -

Green­well have been re­ceiv­ing a lot of at­ten­tion, col­umn space and giv­ing gay men plenty to ogle, but they are not ac­tu­ally the first gay coun­try mu­sic stars.

In the early 1970s there was a coun­try mu­sic out­fit with the sus­pect name of Laven­der Coun­try led by the openly gay Pa­trick Hag­gerty. Their self- ti­tled 1973 al­bum is con­sid­ered the first gay-themed re­lease in coun­try mu­sic his­tory with tracks such as Come Out Singin’, Back In The Closet Again and the gayest coun­try song ti­tle of all time, Cryin’ These Cock­suck­ing Tears. The band split in 1976, but was re­dis­cov­ered by gay his­to­ri­ans decades later, with the Laven­der Coun­try al­bum fi­nally re­leased on CD in 1999. The band reunited for one fi­nal per­for­mance in Seat­tle. Cryin’ These Cock­suck­ing Tears also fea­tured on a com­pi­la­tion al­bum re­leased last year called Strong Love: Songs Of Gay Lib­er­a­tion 1972-1981.

An­other gay coun­try per­former is the red­headed singer/song­writer Shane McAnally. As well as hav­ing had a mi­nor coun­try hit of his own, he’s writ­ten hit songs for big coun­try names like Lady An­te­bel­lum, Miranda Lam­bert and Kenny Ch­es­ney and five of his songs fea­ture in the 2005 gay drama Shel­ter. The pro­lific mu­si­cian mar­ried his part­ner Michael last year and they are now proud par­ents of twins.

A bi­sex­ual name to have made a mark in the genre is Jim­beau Hin­son. Hin­son is a vet­eran coun­try mu­sic song­writer and a solo artist this year with Strong Medicine, an in­spir­ing al­bum chart­ing his jour­ney as HIV­pos­i­tive since 1985.

Cana­dian Drake Jensen has re­leased three coun­try al­bums of which OUT­law is his lat­est, re­leased ear­lier this year. He mar­ried his male man­ager five years ago and last year re­leased a ver­sion of Tammy Wynette’s coun­try clas­sic Stand By Your Man.

Then there’s singer/song­writer Mark Wei­gle (who wrote The Two Cowboy Waltz), Brian Glenn with his Orig­i­nal In­tent al­bum and hit coun­try song­writer and star of re­al­ity show Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, Shane Stevens. Keen TV watch­ers will have also picked up on the clos­eted gay wannabe coun­try mu­sic singer in Nashville played by Chris Car­mack. His duet, You Ain’t Dolly, ap­pears on the sound­track al­bum to the se­ries.

And while Willie Nel­son is not gay, it’s worth men­tion­ing the coun­try mu­sic le­gend wasn’t afraid to re­lease the pro-gay an­them, Cow­boys Are Se­cretly, Fre­quently (Fond of Each Other), just in time for Valen­tine’s Day back in 2006.

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