Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Queerlicue #2

Queerlicue* noun, kwir~li~kyoo

1. like a curlicue, but with a queer flourish
2. something amusingly odd, strikingly unconventional or accidentally fabulous

* Yeah, I made up that word.

Examples...

Kazaky. They're a Ukrainian-based synthpop/dance boy band that's been around since 2010.

Kazaky (a current iteration; the lineup seems to change every year)
Although kazaky is Ukrainian for "Cossacks," the revolving members of this group claim their name has nothing to do with Russian history's self-governing military communities, but is rather a derivative form of the Japanese word Kazaki, a popular name for boys in Japan. Personally, I'd have gone with the Cossack thing. Anyway, they gained attention outside the Ukraine back in 2012 after appearing as backup dancers in Madonna's video for "Girls Gone Wild." They aren't just dancing. They're dancing in heels. Stiletto heels. In one of their more recent videos -- below -- they have some fun fusing hyper-masculine and feminine fashion together.




Ke$ha & The Veterans. Four men who served in the armed forces -- Mat, Jarred, Rocco and Derek -- were looking for a way to acknowledge Veteran's Day 2014 and promote their clothing line, Article 15. The solution? A lip dub video shot in a car. The twist? Rapper/singer/songwriter Ke$ha pops up from the back seat to pick the song -- "Your Love Is My Drug," her 2010 hit. And then they all make complete fools of themselves.



If you'd like to check out Article 15's irreverently butch t-shirts or beard care products, go here.


Deviant Otter & "All About That Bass." After shooting a handful of porn scenes, the tumblr sensation known as Deviant Otter became a do-it-yourself adult filmmaker himself. His videos have an uninhibited, unscripted style that the SexFlexible blog called "an unapologetic display of natural, organic, real sex." In other words, he's found a niche in the competitive world of amateur porn. I'm not going to show you one of his fuck scenes -- I'm certain you can figure out how to find those yourself. (Side note: If I was 20 years younger, I'd kidnap this man. Or, at the very least, I'd make porn with him.)

Deviant Otter (photo via his website)
Turns out he's pretty frisky and talented outside the bedroom as well. In his spare time, D.O. and some friends put together a funny, sexy parody of "All About That Bass," Meghan Trainor's 2014 funky pop hit. This is no lip dub -- it's a brand new recording of the song. I can probably get you to watch this just by letting you know he strips down to his underwear, but the whole endeavor is giddy indulgence. Deviant Otter has some moves. And he can twerk.




Wanna see Queerlicue #1? It's here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Beards of Modern Music, Vol. 3

There's a facial hair renaissance going on out there, folks. This series is all about the bearded men who make music. Check out the fuzz and stubble, but stick around for the sound.


The Timbers. They're four men from Down Under -- Simon Basey, Benjamin Roberts, Kyle Vause, Joe Murphy --  who describe their sound as "Raucous Alternative High Energy Modern Australian Folk." Find out more on their website, Facebook page or YouTube channel.

The Timbers, left to right: Joe Murphy, Kyle Vause, Simon Basey & Benjamin Roberts 

Song & Video: "Mean Streak." Catchy, rambunctious as hell, and I bet they have you singing the refrain before it's over. The video is a great example of what a good imagination can do with a low budget.




Synoptix. It's the musical project from a trio of dudes out of Yekaterinburg, Russia. The sound -- a satisfying evolution from their 2010 debut album -- is a blend of beatbox, electronics and electric guitar. Think rock infused with hip hop, funk and lounge. Disarming but gutsy -- and vocalist Alexey Bobylev is my current music man crush. They're recording new tracks as I write this, so -- fingers crossed -- there'll be a new album this year (or they'll release the singles, at least). For now, there's more music on their YouTube channel.

Synoptix, left to right: Alexey Bobylev, Vitaly Finsky & Denis Burhanov

Song & Video: "I Had a Soul." It's an impeccably arranged breakup tune that puts Bobylev's voice up front. Shot on a makeshift stage in an art gallery, the video is a live performance that captures the band's enthusiasm and skill, as well as Bobylev's impressive vocal range.




Carl Espen. At 17 he won a local singing competition and started to believe a career in music was possible. Sidetracked by military service and a day job in the glass business, it wasn't until he was 31 that he got an enormous break: Mr. Espen was Norway's 2014 Eurovision Song Contest entry with a genuinely intimate and evocative ballad called "Silent Storm." Written by his younger cousin, Espen took the song into the Top 10. Post-Eurovision, looks like he might get a shot at that career after all. Check out his website here.

Carl Espen

Song & Video: "Holding On." The tune feels personal, touching on a universal theme: knowing when it's time to let go in a relationship and move on. The lovely plaintive quality of Espen's voice suits it perfectly. Sounds like a downer, right? Nah, it's sneakily hopeful. The video was shot in Oslo, Norway, a city you rarely see represented in pop culture. But the real draw is Carl Espen. The man has a presence; he doesn't need to wave his arms or beat his chest to hold your attention.




Wanna see the first two volumes in this series? Click on either link below.

Volume 1
Volume 2

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Sound of Queer Music, Vol. 5

Celebrating artists and bands that fuck with the heteronormative cultural bias...

The Chew Toys. Formed in 2012, they're a California queercore duo who promise to "get you drunk, singing and deaf." Don't know what queercore means? Think homopunk garage rock 'n roll. In late 2014, drummer/vocalist Jay Tag told music website CMJ that he and bandmate Kevin Dickson bonded over "a silly idea to get drunk and write songs about our friends and take the piss out of stuff." Guitarist/vocalist Dickson adds, "However, as a gay dude, if I'm gonna write a song that's sexy, it's gonna be about a guy. We set out to have those same dumb sex songs like Kiss had on Rock & Roll Over, but about guys. It's not a gimmick, it's how I'd write about sex." Oh, and they're married. To each other. Bet you didn't see that coming. They're self-titled debut album was released in late 2014. You can hear the songs on Soundcloud and purchase the album (vinyl or digital) on their website. To read the entire CMJ interview, go here.

The Chew Toys are Kevin Dickson (left) & Jay Tag (photo: Dave Ehrlich)

Song & Video: "Leather Sweater." According these guys, the song "is about being so hot for a guy you want to basically tear him apart." The video is an endearingly low-budget psychedelic kick.





Brett Gleason. He was asked to describe himself in a 2012 interview with PopCultureZ: "I'm a solo artist from Brooklyn -- I play piano, manipulate electronics and take my shirt off." He's also gay and candidly open about being bi-polar. As his official bio suggests, "Gleason knows what it's like to live a life of intensity outside the mainstream and his music reflects this." The sound is raw and intimate with a palpable melancholy, but it's simultaneously vigorous, progressive and unabashedly theatrical. In other words, Gleason's work defies pop conventions and really challenges the listener. His self-produced, self-titled debut album was released mid-2014 and is available on his website or iTunes. (All the amazing lyrics are on his website, too.)

Brett Gleason (photo: Nicolas Smith)

Song & Video. "I Am Not." Gleason describes the song as a kind of mantra: "It started as something I'd repeat to myself when I felt overwhelmed or hopeless -- an assertion that reminded me I've been through worse and have proven stronger than I ever hoped." The video -- his first, filmed with friends in late 2009 -- is an eerie little murder mystery filmed in his grandmother's Connecticut backyard.




Top Less. This promising Canadian band released their debut album in 2013 -- and with a name like Top Less Gay Love Tekno Party it was bound to draw some attention. The sound is a brash amalgam of electro, dance and glam pop; their live shows are vibrant and theatrical, featuring props, costumes, video projections and -- shudder -- glitter. In a 2013 interview with The Lab Magazine, Top Less co-founder Mike Shindler said: "I would say our shows and music are an acknowledgment of the absurdity of many aspects of human life and then lighting the wick and hoping for an explosion." You can check out their website here.

Top Less (photo: Shea Pollard & Ola Cholewa)

Song & Video: "Danger Love." The song is about those early stages of love, when hearts are tender and vulnerable. Building to something almost anthemic, it soars and swirls and becomes unexpectedly exhilarating. For the video, Top Less essentially answers the question: What does an unabashedly theatrical band do in the woods? They become pixies or tree spirits or sprites... or something... and dance (well, it's actually a form of interpretive movement called Eurythmie). Oh, and they summon some kind of Christ-like figure. Honestly, I have no idea what they're doing here, but it's awesome. And so is the song.




Want to check out other volumes in this series? Just click on any link below.


2014 year-end compilations: Volume 1 -- Volume 2 -- Volume 3 -- Volume 4

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Queerlicue #1

Queerlicue* 
noun
kwir~li~kyoo

1. like a curlicue, but with a queer flourish
2. something amusingly odd, strikingly unconventional or accidentally fabulous

* Yeah, I made up that word.

Examples...

Karl Wolf. This Lebanese-Canadian singer hit big in 2008 with a thumpy pop-rap-dance fusion of Toto's '80s classic "Africa." He's been roundly criticized for reinterpreting old songs, but remains undeterred.

Karl Wolf (from his Facebook page)
I just discovered this: Wolf gave Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" a makeover in 2013. He lifts the chorus, attaches new verses and teams up with award-winning filmmaker David Zennie for a video that can only be described as a glorious homosexual wet dream. You must see this. Seriously, I can't even be mad at the guy for mangling my favorite Fleetwood Mac song when he's so enthusiastic about it... and buff, tattooed, reeks of testosterone and should definitely have a side career in gay porn.


One more photo of Karl Wolf because, well...


Dover Police DashCam Lip Sync. Police officers in various parts of the United States made the news for some pretty heinous behavior in 2014. Is there any way to offset all the negative publicity? Master Cpl. Jeff Davis of the Dover (Delaware) Police Department thinks so. With the Department's encouragement and consent. the father of four performed a super-amusing lip-sync rendition of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" from behind the wheel of his cruiser. "I'm kind of a crazy guy anyway," Davis says. Taylor Swift's Twitter response: "LOLOLOLOL THE SASS." Yup, he's sassy.



Nic Bello and Pancho. Born in Turin, Italy, filmmaker Nic Bello has become famous by co-starring in a series of YouTube videos with his pet Chihuahua, Pancho.

Nic and Pancho (from their Facebook page)
Chihuahuas don't seem to have such a great reputation -- they're often described as nervous, and considered easily provoked to attack. When I was a kid, my favorite aunt and uncle had one named Tissy. She would chase her own tail until she got dizzy and collapsed. True story. Anyway, Pancho is clearly not your typical Chihuahua, perhaps because he's devoted to his yoga and meditation practice with Nic. I'd like to do yoga with Nic, too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Sound of Queer Music 2014, Vol. 4

In this four-part, end-of-the-year series, I'm featuring sixteen queer artists or bands that fucked with the heteronormative cultural bias in 2014.

Volume 4 is probably, mostly and sometimes totally NSFW (Not Safe For Work). Seriously.

Dominic Fournier (AKA Abeardedboy)
He's featured in Holopaw's video for "Dirty Boots" (below)


Queen Mimosa 3. That's the pseudonym chosen by French photographer and musician Jonathan Icher. No, I couldn't find an explanation for the number 3.  Beyond describing his gender as "neutral" on his Facebook page, there's not much information about him out there at all -- even though this persona has been around since 2009 (his first album, So Sexy, includes a song called "You Fuck Like a Dog"). However, if you speak/read French you can probably learn a little more from the handful of interviews he's given. If you'd like to see his amazing photography, go here. Nothing about this guy will leave you indifferent. Trust me.

Queen Mimosa 3 (photo: Jonathan Icher)
Song & Video: "Petit Chat." The name translates in English to small cat or kitten. It's a burst of electropop insanity -- sung in French. Lyrically, it appears to have something to do with how much easier it is to be feline. Directed by Icher himself, the video is a boisterous, demented parody of stuff that generates buzz on the net -- you know, cats or sexy men and women dancing. Lots of half-naked folks here, great beards, crazy costumes, some cats and -- trigger alert! -- a couple of big spiders. And twerking. Also, the lyrics are translated into Japanese at the bottom of the screen.




Cazwell. Real name: Luke Caswell. He's been making music since the late '90s, but probably made his first big impression about a decade ago with an explicit dance release entitled "All Over Your Face." A mashup of hip-hop, dance and electropop, some people have described what he does as "homo hop." Whatever it is, Cazwell does it with irreverence, defiant vulgarity and a wicked sense of humor. Visit his website here. His Facebook page is here.

Cazwell (photo: Athena Maroulis)
Song & Video: "Hot Homo" featuring Big Dipper (A Freestyle Parody of Bobby Shmurda's "Hot N*gga"). A little background: In 2014, rapper Bobby Shmurda released a popular debut single called "Hot Nigga." It's one of those aggressive rap songs about guns and drugs and murder that scares the shit out of white people... for some reason that's never been clear to me. Enter Cazwell and queer bear rapper Big Dipper. They've created a freestyle (and dirty) rap parody that hilariously subverts Shmurda's swagger. (If you want to see the inspiration for this parody, here's the video. Yeah, it's seriously not safe for work either.)




Adore Delano. That's the drag persona created by Danny Noriega, an American Idol semi-finalist (2008) and season 6 contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race. According to a recent Facebook post, she personally regards herself as "a musician in drag." Post Drag Race, she released an album, Till Death Do Us Party -- it peaked at number one on the Billboard Dance/Electronic music chart. So yeah, that musician-in-drag thing is working out pretty good for her so far.

Adore Delano (photo: Magnus Hastings)
Song & Video: "DTF." Just so you know, DTF Stands for "down to fuck. Here's what Delano told The Huffington Post upon the song's release last summer: "I always wanted to create a hoodrat raunchy song. 'DTF' is grimy, pop, hood shit. I'm really excited because the sound is unlike anything else out there." Well, okay. All I know is that it's hard to resist a song with lyrics like, "Everybody get some cherry candy yum yum." Simultaneously silly and provocative, the video is a gloriously garish and terrifically photographed blast. (BTW, the sweaty guy prominently featured here is model Max Emerson. You can follow him on Instagram here. You're welcome.)



Holopaw. Despite having been around since 1997, this is the year I finally (and thankfully) discovered this indie band from Gainesville, Florida. It's fronted by openly queer vocalist John Orth, the lineup has fluctuated over the years but currently consists of Orth, twin brothers Patrick and Ryan Quinney, Jeff McCullen and Matt Radick. Orth's sometimes tremulous voice and his unique approach to songwriting create a sound that doesn't fit easily into any musical category. It's genteel, but sometimes eerie... evocative, but also a little off-kilter. Holopaw's latest release -- Academy Songs, Part 1 -- is available on Amazon; their previous albums are on iTunes.

John Orth (via tumblr)

Song & Video: "Dirty Boots." Really, you should just read the lyrics yourself...

He don't hang around no more
He don't wear those dirty old black boots no more
He don't
He don't switchblade like he did before
He don't drift like the virgin snow
If I could be anything in this world that shines
I would be a switchblade pressed hotly against your thigh
At the top of the stairs like a pink kimono hanging over the rails
He didn't notice
He was taking in the smoke like a French inhaler with his headphones on
He had a beautiful tiger painted on his arm but he can't remember where it came from
No, he can't quite recall the other marks on his body, how they got there either
There were daggers drawn on his skin with a magic marking pen
Lines were bruisy, stance was woozy and his head hung low

Holopaw hired Brooklyn-based filmmaker Adam Baran to create a video. It opens with a short narration by legendary (and semi-reclusive) '70s gay porn star Peter Berlin (Nights in Black Leather), and it stars tumblr sensation Abeardedboy. According to director Baran, "the video follows a sexually-charged day in the life a a gay biker gang in Brooklyn. They awake in a tangle of leather, then suit up and ride to an underground sex club to initiate new members. Boundaries are pushed, but the boys find love, family and the unexpected." So, it's like the most adult Disney move ever made. (Let me remind you again: This is not safe for work or your conservative relatives that watch Fox News.)




BONUS VIDEO! 

Something sweet, sexy and sensual from Matt Alber... "Handsome Man." 

Matt Alber (left) and his beau
This cut from his 2014 release, Wind Sand Stars, is a gentle love song to an adored partner. Alber finds the right romantic notes and wears his gay heart on his sleeve here. The video: two men wake up together and spend their morning in a bubble of profound affection. It's photographed with a surprising intimacy that almost makes you feel like you're eavesdropping.



Wanna see the first three blogs in this series? Volume 1 is here, Volume 2 is here and Volume 3 is here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Sound of Queer Music 2014, Vol. 3

In this four-part, end-of-the-year series, I'm featuring sixteen queer artists or bands that fucked with the heteronormative cultural bias in 2014.

Wiz Kilo, one of the queer artists that flourished in 2014 (photo: Tristan Harris)
The first four appear in Volume 1 -- here; Volume 2 is here. These four made the cut for Volume 3...

Wiz Kilo. This singer/songwriter/producer/dancer was born in Syria. His family immigrated to Canada when he was 5 years old. By 18 he was part of a Canadian boy band called 2Much, where he was given the name "Wiz" -- his real name is Wissam. Kilo released a couple of solo EPs, but his first full-length album didn't arrive until 2014. Jungle Disco is an excellent electro/hip hop/R&B recording that he wrote, recorded, engineered and mixed himself. Visit his website here.

Wiz Kilo (photo: Tristan Harris)
Song & Video: "Warmbody." It's a sinuous electro groove about yearning, desire, sex... and the reality that sometimes we just need a warm body. The song itself is actually over 7 minutes (it's available on iTunes and Amazon), but Kilo serves up an abbreviated version for this video, a minimalist affair in which he expertly (and half-nakedly) grooms his beard and buzzes his head. It's  sort of an inexplicably erotic tutorial. Doesn't hurt that Kilo is a cute, sexy fella.



Stereogamous. This Australian duo, DJs Paul McDermott and Jonny Seymour (AKA Paul Mac and Seymour Butz) have remixed or collaborated with a long list of artists -- Kylie Minogue, George Michael, Sia, The Presets and LCD Soundsystem, to name a few. According to their Facebook page, their particular genre of music is "bath house." It's also been described as "music for making out" and "horizontal dance music." I'm especially fond of Jonny Seymour's philosophy: "Age should be no barrier to the pleasures of dance music. The sense of freedom it brings shouldn't be limited to the young." You can find a stream of their mixes and collaborations here.

Left to right: Paul McDermott, Shaun J Wright (a recent collaborator) & Jonny Seymour
Song & Video: "Sweat," featuring Shaun J Wright. The song, a collaboration with Shaun J Wright, is kind of sleazy and provocative. There's some disco-tech erotica up in the house. Uh huh. The video? Shaun J Wright (he doesn't use a period after that middle initial) and a big ole bearded glitterbear will entertain you. They don't call Stereogamous super gay for nothing.




Bright Light Bright Light. That's Welsh, London-based electropop artist Rod Thomas. The Guardian summed up his 2014 album, Life is Easy, like this: "... combines euphoric melodies, lavish electronics and unabashed pop in a way that showcases his songwriting skills." He's not particularly cool, but he's hard to resist.

Bright Light Bright Light, AKA Rod Thomas (photo: Adrian Tuazon McCheyne)
Song & Video: "Everything I Ever Wanted," featuring The Pink Singers. This is a fresh take of a song featured on his Life is Easy album. He re-recorded it with London's longest-running LGBT choir, The Pink Singers, for 2014 World AIDS Day. A percentage of the sales go to The Elton John AIDS Foundation. It was already a great song; the background choir and effusive arrangement give it a spiritual quality. The lovely video is about the simple joys of childhood friendship.




Against Me! This rousing punk band's been around since 1997, fronted by vocalist/guitarist Tom Gabel. Having dealt with gender dysphoria (feeling strongly that you are not the gender you physically appear to be) since childhood, Gabel came out as transgender in 2012, then transitioned to Laura Jane Grace. Against Me! released their first album with Grace as lead singer in January 2014. Entitled Transgender Dysphoria Blues, many critics hailed it as one of the year's best. It kicks ass.

Left to right: Inge Johansson, James Bowman, Laura Jane Grace & Atom Willard
Song & Video: "Black Me Out." It's intense, brutal and vitriolic for sure. Laura Jane Grace sounds like she had a few things to get off her chest when she wrote it. In the chorus, Grace sings, "I want to piss on the walls of your house." Well, come on, haven't we all felt that way a time or two? Stark and straightforward, this is a gritty video that gets the job done. (Note: Some lyrics are not safe for work.)


If you'd care to see an earlier incarnation of Against Me! with Tom Gabel, go here.

Check out Volume 1 in this series here -- it features Magic Mouth, The 2 Bears, Conchita Wurst and Mary Lambert.

Volume 2 is here, featuring Hercules & Love Affair with John Grant, Angel Haze, MRF (Mike Flanagan) and Logan Lynn.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Sound of Queer Music 2014, Vol. 2

In this four-part, end-of-the-year series, I'm featuring sixteen queer artists or bands that fucked with the heteronormative cultural bias in 2014. The first four appear in Volume 1 -- find that blog here. These four made the cut for Volume 2...

Hercules & Love Affair featuring John Grant.  Formed in 2004, Hercules & Love Affair is a collaborative disco-house project from DJ Andy Butler that features a rotating cast of musicians and vocalists. Yup, there's disco in Butler's DNA, but the sound is a unique and ambitious revival. For his 2014 album -- The Feast of the Broken Heart -- Butler collaborated with gay singer/songwriter John Grant, inviting him to write some lyrics.

John Grant (left) & Andy Butler (photo: Linda Nylind of The Guardian)

Song & Video: "I Try to Talk to You." Butler recalls of Grant: "He tackled the story of becoming HIV+, and while I mentioned to him that he did not need to go there if he was not comfortable, in that beautifully punky, spirited and courageous way he has about him, he told me that was what the song was going to be about. What came of it is an elegant song featuring John singing and playing his heart out." Serious and haunting, yes, but also a shimmering dance track. The evocative video depicts two men engaged in a lover's quarrel -- all done through an enthralling interpretive dance.



Angel Haze. One of the emerging stars of contemporary rap, she's outspoken and brutally honest about a past that includes childhood sexual abuse and growing up in a cult-like family. Haze describes herself as pansexual and adds, "Love isn't defined by gender." Not even 25 yet, she's kind of amazing for someone who wasn't even allowed to listen to secular music as a kid. Her debut album, Dirty Gold, is flawed but filled with some brilliant moments.

Angel Haze (AKA Raeen Roes Wilson)

Song & Video: "Battle Cry." One of Dirty Gold's strongest tracks, the song is about overcoming a painful past, more specifically her own. The verses are personal, the chorus is killer. The video -- beautifully shot and punctuated by some unsettling imagery -- portrays a highly stylized version of events from her own life. (Heads up: It could be a trigger for folks that have experienced childhood sexual abuse or mistreatment in the name of religion.)



MRF. That's jazz musician Mike Flanagan. He's worked with a diverse range of artists, including Grammy winner Esperanza Spaulding. He first came to my attention in 2013 with the release of an empowering anthem called "Be Strong (LGBT Youth)." In 2014 he independently released his second album -- Mob Music -- and it became the highest-selling jazz album in the country on iTunes within 24 hours. Flanagan, who plays multiple instruments, describes his sound as a hybrid of R&B and jazz. His official website is here.

MRF himself, Mr. Mike Flanagan (photo by Patrick Lentz)

Song & Video: "Trying" featuring Lisa Bello, Justin Waithe & Yasko Kubota. Flanagan humbly calls the song a "radio single." It's really a satisfying and relatable jazz pop groove -- and his trio of vocalists are flawless. Flanagan had this to say about the video (which features himself and another musclebear): "My goal for the narrative of this video was to depict the beauty, as well as the normalcy in love and love-lost as represented by two men." Fans of fur and beefcake will surely find it irresistible.




Logan Lynn. On his Facebook page a few years back, Lynn listed "Sex & Guilt, mostly" as his musical influences. More recently, he's added this: "Whatever. Let's dance." Those things make him sound a lot less serious than he really is. This guy is is a writer, composer, singer, producer, LGBTQ activist and TV personality. Based in Portland, Oregon, Lynn has released seven albums, six EPs and over a dozen music videos. And to me, his voice has has an unpolished, endearing, knowing quality that sounds refreshingly real. His official website is here.

Logan Lynn (photo via his Facebook page)

Song & Video: "We Will Overcome." With this song (to be included on a 2015 album) Lynn departs from his so-called "emotronic" sound, adding fuller instrumentation and bit of country-gospel inflection. In a September interview with Vortex magazine, Lynn (the son of preacher) had to this about the lyrics:

“I wrote ‘We Will Overcome’ as my relationship was ending. I had my heart broken earlier this year, and it felt like these dreams I had for a life and family with this person were just ripped from me. (Dramatic sounding, I know—but it really did feel that way.) I started thinking about how this feeling was something of a pattern in my life and began tracing it back to its beginning, which is my experience in the church as a child. I think the song is about letting go, surviving—living through things that, at times, feel impossible to surmount. Love is a hard thing to lose, and in some ways, you never get over it. I have been grieving that loss, and this song is a mantra for me, both in my personal life and in my experience as someone who is part of a marginalized community. I really do believe that I, that we, will win this battle… whatever it is.”  

This fascinating video, directed by Andrew Carreon and superbly edited, features footage of Lynn as a kind of cowboy preacher intercut with grainy old family film footage (provided by relatives) that offers a glimpse of his pentecostal roots.