When Lavender Country arrived in 1973, mainstream culture – not to mention Nashville – was not ready for Patrick Haggerty, an openly gay country singer who sang candidly about hookups, heartbreak and homophobia. The band’s self-titled album didn’t make much of an impact beyond the widely marginalized LGBTQ communities of the ’70s, and eventually Haggerty drifted away from music.
But as the decades wore on, the boldly pioneering band’s reputation grew. After some reissues, reappraisals and reunion shows, Haggerty – a self-proclaimed “screaming Marxist bitch singer” – found himself enjoying a degree of the attention that eluded him decades earlier, sharing the stage with Orville Peck in 2019 and recording a duet with Drag Race winner Trixie Mattel in 2020.
On Feb. 18, a proper release of Lavender Country’s second album, Blackberry Rose, comes out on Don Giovanni Records – nearly 50 years after Lavender Country became the first queer country album in recorded music history.
Ahead of the album (available for pre-order now) comes a new recording of Lavender Country’s 1973 cult classic “I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You,” fleshed out with a full band arrangement.
“Just because we’re not household names doesn’t mean we haven’t made our mark in history,” Haggerty told Billboard in 2021, reflecting on his career and the current explosion of proudly LGBTQ country music. “For years I was by myself; now I have an entourage of country performers who think I’m their grandpappy or something.”
Check out the new single and the full Blackberry Rose tracklist here:
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