It is often said in the world of entertainment that everything old is new again.

Truer words were never spoken when it comes to Country music pioneers Lavender Country.

Caught in a time when the phrase LGBTQ+ was never spoken and homosexuals and lesbians remained far back in the closet, Seattle resident Patrick Haggerty took a brave step and formed the band Lavender Country. Along with some friends, the group recorded an album by the same name that for years languished somewhere in the ether of time.

Fifty years later, Haggerty has returned with a reformed Lavender Country…and a new album filled with songs with an LGBTQ+ theme…and no apologies.

Now 78, Haggerty spoke on the original album saying “‘Lavender Country’ had no commercial value when we made it because it was too outlandish. But it was really too outlandish for any genre. So we didn’t have any choice except to make it ourselves and the community of folks who were doing Stonewall rebellion stuff in Seattle.”

Haggerty estimates that they sold around 1,000 copies of the original album.

He continued, “there was a little wound in my heart about the fact that Lavender Country was dead and wasn’t ever going to go anywhere and nobody was ever going to listen to it. But it turned out that I was wrong.”

Now married with a family, Haggerty was surprised when in 1999 the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum reached out and wanted to add the album in a roundup of gay oriented country music.

Despite being out of print, the album appeared on YouTube where a music collector brought the album to the record label Paradise of Bachelors. The label surprised Haggerty once again when they reached out to him and reissued the album in 2014. The album was turned into a ballet and was performed in San Francisco.

Seeing his dreams of being a Country music star revived, Haggerty has collaborated with Trixie Mattel, Orville, Peck, and Paisley Fields.

Fields is one of the musicians who have joined Haggerty and Lavender Country for the new album “Blackberry Rose and Other Songs of Sorrow”.

Out now, “Blackberry Rose” includes original Lavender Country songwriters and over a dozen news contributors. The new album includes “Gay Bar Blues”, “Clara Frazer, Clara Frazer”, and “Stand On Your Man”. The album’s title track “Blackberry Rose” strays from the gay theme to tackle racism with a folk tale of a mixed couple and murder in the South.

James Brown may be the godfather of Soul, but Patrick Haggerty is the godfather of queer Country music.

Noting that the album was originally created to foster social change, Haggerty said, “I made ‘Lavender Country’ to use it as a vehicle to foment social change. I was using it as a vehicle to fight fascism. And now 50 years later, I get to use ‘Lavender Country’ for the exact reason I made it in the first place.”

feature photo credit: Lavender Country – Sarah Stierch – 2019 16.jpg