It’s often accepted as a universal truth that country music, as a genre, isn’t so kind to queer folk. But when Chely Wright came out and was hailed as the “first openly gay country singer,” it wasn’t completely true. Queer women have been singing country songs just as long as the rest America, even if they don’t always identify with the good ole American girls and boys each tune tends to be about.
In case you are into some twang, here are 15 albums we reckon you’d like to take a listen to, all from LGBT women, from 1989 up through 2014.
Karen & The Sorrows — The Names of Things (2014)
Karen Pittelman leads the quartet in slow songs about heartbreak while Elana Redfield plays the pedal steel guitar to perfection. There’s even a song called “Tender Buttons” we’re going to assume is named after the Gertrude Stein book.
My Gay Banjo — Country Boys in the City (2014)
Julia Steele Allen is joined by co-conspirator Owen Taylor with beautiful boy/girl duets and dueling uke, banjo, guitar, piano and bass. “Don’t you want me, to want you back?” they sing on “Like Magic,” a romantic ballad about running out of time.
Brandy Clark — 12 Stories (2013)
A talented songwriter who has written hits for Jennifer Nettles, Kacey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert, Brandy released her own album with the unforgettable single “Stripes.” If you like modern country music, it’s inevitable you’ve heard (and loved) Brandy’s work.
Brandi Carlile — Give Up the Ghost (2009)
Songs like “Caroline” make Brandi’s third album one of her most country, as she tends to be more Americana and folk-pop. Although lesbian fans might like to see the song as an ode to a woman Brandi left behind at home while on the road, it’s actually about her toddler niece.