Pioneering queer-country group Lavender Country released their self-titled debut album in 1973, marking the first country project by an openly gay singer. It was pulled out of obscurity with a 2014 reissue and has been an important influence on artists like Trixie Mattel, Paisley Fields, and Orville Peck.
Nearly 50 years later, the group led by singer and activist Patrick Haggerty is announcing their new album Blackberry Rose, to be released Feb. 18 via Don Giovanni Records.
The album’s first single is “I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You,” a melancholy ballad that was covered by drag queen and entrepreneur Mattel on the 2020 album Barbara. With twinkling piano fills that nod to Floyd Cramer, plus steel and fiddle, the song sets the stage for Haggerty’s arch lines about the often-confusing line between lust and intimacy.
“Dancin’ with your tight blue jeans on, prancin’ like a palomino on the run,” he sings, describing a potential mate but knowing he’ll never exactly be able to know him fully. By the next verse, the guy is “out to capture a chunk of rapture with someone new” and the cycle is starting again. Still, Haggerty longs for something deeper: “All our favorite fantasies have come to an end/We’ll be waking up tomorrow needing a friend.”
Blackberry Rose track list:
1. “I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You”
2. “Gay Bar Blues”
3. “Leave All Disillusions Behind”
4. “Red Dress”
5. “Sweet Shadow Man”
6. “Clara Fraser, Clara Fraser”
7. “Lament of a Wyoming Housewife”
8. “Blackberry Rose”
9. “Stand on Your Man”
10. “Don’t Buy Her No More Roses”