Queer Christmas cheer: A gay country holiday concert in Gowanus

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They’re making the Yuletide gay.

It turns out that there is a surprisingly robust queer country music scene in Brooklyn. And for one night only on Dec. 19, all four of those bands will be in the same place for the Big Gay Country Holiday show at Littlefield. There were only two requirements to take part in the show, said one organizer.

“The main thing is that we all play country music and we are all committed to our queer identities,” said Emily Bielagus, who plays guitar and sings in the folk-country band Kings and who co-organized the show with her bandmate Stephanie Bishop.

It may be surprising that there are so many gay country bands in Brooklyn, but it is less of a shock that all of the groups in the borough managed to find each other, Bielagus said.

“When you define yourself as a queer country band, you find out about each other pretty fast,” she said.

Bishop said the musicians realize the contradiction of playing queer country — a genre that is usually associated with more conservative values. But that is all the more reason to keep strumming, she said.

“Historical­ly, country has not been a safe space for queer people, and that is part of the reason to do something like this,” said Bishop.

The other three acts on the bill are Julia Weldon, Small Talk, and Karen and the Sorrows. The groups all wear their politics on their sleeves, Bielagus said, but the appeal of the music is universal.

“We are two queer women and when we front the band and write about women in that way, it’s a political move,” said Bielagus. “But at the end of the day, they are love songs that anyone can listen to.”

Big Gay Country Holiday at Littlefield [622 Degraw St. between Fourth and Third Avenues in Gowanus, (718) 855–3388,]. Dec. 19 at 7 pm. $8-10.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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