Queer Country

Author: Shana Goldin-Perschbacher
Searching for a place within country and Americana music
Cloth – $110
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 03/22/2022
Cloth: 03/22/2022
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About the Book

Though frequently ignored by the music mainstream, queer and transgender country and Americana artists have made essential contributions as musicians, performers, songwriters, and producers. Queer Country blends ethnographic research with analysis and history to provide the first in-depth study of these artists and their work. Shana Goldin-Perschbacher delves into the careers of well-known lesbian artists like k.d. lang and Amy Ray and examines the unlikely success of singer-songwriter Patrick Haggerty, who found fame forty years after releasing the first out gay country album. She also focuses on later figures like nonbinary transgender musician Rae Spoon and renowned drag queen country artist Trixie Mattel; and on recent breakthrough artists like Orville Peck, Amythyst Kiah, and chart-topping Grammy-winning phenomenon Lil Nas X. Many of these musicians place gender and sexuality front and center even as it complicates their careers. But their ongoing efforts have widened the circle of country/Americana by cultivating new audiences eager to connect with the artists’ expansive music and personal identities.

Detailed and one-of-a-kind, Queer Country reinterprets country and Americana music through the lives and work of artists forced to the margins of the genre's history.

* Publication supported by a grant from the AMS 75 PAYS Fund of the American Musicological Society, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

About the Author

Shana Goldin-Perschbacher is an assistant professor of music studies in the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University.


"Essential Reading." --No Depression

"Thought-provoking. The author offers a number of valuable insights into the music and you find yourself considering the white patriarchy that has dominated most genres of the music industry, but in particular, aspects of roots music, especially country, and how that has worked not only against LGBT musicians but also women, Black artists and other marginalized sections of society. On the surface, this would appear to be a book aimed at a niche market. In fact, it addresses issues that should be important to all of us." --Americana UK

"An empathetic and illuminating study, sure to expand country playlists. For scholars interested in queer studies and fans of country music." --Library Journal

"An important work." --Washington Blade

"Dazzling." --Country Queer

"Goldin-Perschbacher's research is meticulous, making the book particularly welcome. . . . Recommended." --Choice

"A dynamic, much-needed read." --Variety

"Shana Goldin-Perschbacher's examination of the history of the artists that proudly declared their sexuality displays how the fearlessness of earlier generations made things possible for today's artists that previously weren't." --The Boot

"Goldin-Perschbacher uncovers a treasure trove of non-binary and queer artists working in what has long been a conservative, male-dominated field." --Ticketmaster


"Shana Goldin-Perschbacher's Queer Country shines a light on the long-overlooked but persistent and subversive community of queer musicians in country music history. Of course, we have been there all along! Her in-depth explorations into the voice of each musician explored are lively, personal, and emotional depictions. In French, the word for gender is genre. This is no coincidence! Goldin-Perschbacher connects the dots for us in her exploration of many transgender and queer folks playing country music. The connections are sheer magic, obvious at second glance, and very insightful. Discover why transgender artists defy genre--get it? Just because we are queer doesn't mean we are carbon copies. Goldin-Perschbacher allows each of us to share our light in personal, social, and political motifs. We are all unique, but bound to one another in our struggles to liberate country music from its stereotypical and corporate confinements. Queer Country rips the cover off these and exposes the truths that have existed from the beginning."--Patrick Haggerty, recording artist, Lavender Country (1973)

"At this unprecedented moment when queer artists dominate the Americana Awards nominations, Shana Goldin-Perschbacher's Queer Country arrives offering a timely, necessary, and radically fresh perspective on roots music--as a space for expression of sincerity by queer and trans artists."--Nadine Hubbs, author of Rednecks, Queers, and Country Music


• A Pitchfork Best Music Book of 2022
• A No Depression Most Memorable Music Book of 2022
• A Variety Best Music Book of 2022
• A Boot Best Music Book of 2022
• A Ticketmaster Best Music Book of 2022
• A Happy Magazine Best Music Book of 2022
• Certificate of Merit, Best Historical Research in Country, Folk, Roots or World Music. category, 2023 ARSC Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research, 2023
• Winner, Woody Guthrie First Book Award, International Association for the Study of Popular Music-US Branch (IASPM-US), 2024