Queer Group Therapy

It’s interesting that Boy George and Culture Club, as they are now known, would call its new studio album – its first such release in almost 20 years – Life (BMG) as that’s the one thing it could use more of. For a group that was so influential and groundbreaking in its early 1980s heyday, Culture Club sounds surprisingly out of touch. You have to wonder what it is they’ve been listening to all these years. At a time when electronic dance music is having a strong resurgence, Life would have benefited from some of the house music energy that […]

Solo Ventures

The suitably titled Warm (dBpm), the first proper solo album of all original material by Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo fame), is the kind of musical project that will please the artist’s fans, regardless of when they became followers. As personal as it is universal, the sincerity of the 11 songs on Warm generate a welcome ardor similar to what we heard Kacey Musgraves do on her lauded Golden Hour album. Even the most removed listener can’t help but be moved by songs such as the exquisite “How Hard It Is For A Desert To Die,” “From Far […]

Jewel and Thereafter

Are you sitting down? Jewel’s Atlantic Records debut album Pieces of You was released almost 20 years ago. That’s 18 years before 2019 Grammy queen Kacey Musgraves’ trio of major-label triumphs, and a good ten years before Musgraves’ fellow 2019 Grammy-recipient (and Jewel’s fellow yodeler) Brandi Carlile’s debut album. So, how does the 12-times platinum Pieces of You (Craft Recordings), newly (and officially) released as a 180-gram double LP (officially, because Atlantic released a similar vinyl set in the 1990s) with five non-CD bonus tracks, hold up? Better than you might expect. Released in 1995, when the music world was […]

Oh, What a (Queer) Year

 When it comes to LGBTQ music, the present, as well as the past and future, are female. Since the very early days of popular queer music, the women have been the ones to take the lead. While that definitely holds true for 2018, male artists are definitely making certain that they are being heard. 1) Nostalgia Kills (Pinko), Jill Sobule’s first album in four years is another masterpiece and one that deserves the largest audience possible. Living up to its title, the record is a reminder that the past is always with us and it’s up to us what we […]

Cover Stories

The concept of singer/songwriters revisiting their work in new and different settings is not an original one. Some of the most interesting include Joni Mitchell’s Travelogue, Cyndi Lauper’s The Body Acoustic, and, more recently, the Indigo Girls’ Live with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra. On In the Blue Light (Legacy), a new studio album that marks Paul Simon’s return to the Sony Music family of labels, the legendary artist offers “fresh perspectives” on ten of his favorite songs. That’s an important distinction, because if you were expecting to hear some of your favorites, you’ll have to look elsetwhere. Simon […]

Really Retro

Hello 1968! It’s nice to hear from you again. Coming as it did after 1967’s ambitious (and symphonic) Days of Future Past, the Moody Blues’s 1968 album In Search of the Lost Chord (Deram / UMC), reissued in an expanded 50th anniversary edition, had a lot resting on its shoulders. A thoroughly psychedelic affair – check out “Legend of a Mind” with its Timothy Leary name-check – it’s a departure in more ways than one. Regardless, the album was accessible even if you weren’t partaking in mind-altering substances. “Ride My See-Saw” is one of the band’s most popular songs, and […]

Sound Tracking

 If you make plans to go to see a movie in early November 2018, you’ll have your pick of several titles featuring queer characters, including Yen Tan’s brilliant and devastating 1985 and Melissa McCarthy playing gay in Can You Ever Forgive Me. The overt queerness of A Star is Born is either the most calculated move in recent memory or a love letter to gay fans. Yes, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand are beloved by the LGBTQ community (and Garland’s A Star is Born was directed by a gay man), but the new version, directed and co-written by Bradley Cooper […]

Putting Soul (& Sheep) in Christmas

Mama’s Black Sheep, an Americana music group from Baltimore, will celebrate the release of their new CD, The Sheep Save Christmas, on November 15th at Baldwin’s Station in Sykesville, Maryland. Mama’s Black Sheep is the soulful collaboration of singer-songwriters Ashland Miller and Laura Cerulli. Together, this duo has created a blend of hit-worthy originals and covers with a unique spin for the holiday season. Baltimore OUTloud recently sat down with Cerulli to discuss the upcoming CD release and the tenth anniversary of the group. Frankie Kujawa: What can your fans expect at the CD release? Laura Cerulli: Well this new […]

Jill Sobule Kills it on new album

There is no one else like Jill Sobule. Seriously, how many other singer/songwriters can you think of who are outrageously funny, heartbreakingly serious and politically left, sometimes in the same song? Beginning with the commercial breakthrough of her 1995 eponymous sophomore release (containing the groundbreaking, inimitable hit single “I Kissed A Girl”) and continuing with outstanding (but unfairly overlooked) albums including Happy Town, Pink Pearl, Underdog Victorious,California Years and Dottie’s Charms, Sobule never failed to amaze us. Nostalgia Kills (Pinko), Sobule’s first album in four years is another masterpiece and one that deserves a large audience. Living up to its […]

Even More Solos and Sides

If you had the misfortune of suffering through Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, you might not think it would be possible for anything good to come from such a debacle. But you’d be wrong. Cher, who played Sophie’s grandmother Ruby, and performed the song “Fernando” as a duet with Andy Garcia, may be the only one who survived the wreck as a winner. For her new album Dancing Queen (Warner Brothers), her first studio recording in five years, Cher reinterprets ten ABBA songs with mostly delightful results. Not a particularly original concept (Erasure beat sure Cher to it by […]