5 Queer Country Songs to Make the Yuletide Gay
It's beginning to feel a lot like the holidays. While we all eagerly await the opportunity to slow down, for many of us, the holidays can be stressful as well. Country music is all about yearning for family and hometown pride, but for many people, that nostalgia is a double-edged sword of anxiety and pain. But why wallow in it when you can laugh?
Some of these queer country songs poke fun at the holidays, while others revel in winter nights of chosen family and togetherness. No matter the tone, these five songs get down to the holiday spirit: finding community when the nights get dark and cold.
1. "Inflatable Menorah," Mya Byrne + Lindsey Graves
To our knowledge, this is the first and only queer country song devoted to Hanukkah, meaning there's a wide-open slot for next year's holiday list. Byrne and Graves fly the flag high for Jewish people living in hostile communities. The cheerful arrangement plunges headlong into a rollicking beat and furious fiddling as Byrne casts off a sense of isolation, celebrating the miracle of eight crazy nights with the titular giant inflatable menorah.
2. "The Christmas Flannel Song," Brittany Ann Tranbaugh
It wouldn't be a list of country songs without some deeply bitter irony. Philadelphia's Brittany Ann Tranbaugh croons a classic tale of heartbreak right before the holidays. Rather than wallow, the narrator muses upon the gift she would have given her girlfriend: a flannel shirt, of course. It's the kind of tale that you can really only tell with a same-sex relationship, and Tranbaugh spins it with charm and charisma.
3. "Solstice Hymn," Jessye DeSilva (feat. Cecilia Vacante)
Jessye DeSilva's reverential voice fills their new single, "Solstice Hymn," with a sense of purity. DeSilva's non-denominational winter hymn references the cold of the year's end, and the warmth one can create in spite of it. Written during the winter of 2020, their song is meant to soothe those who have experienced loss. Cecilia Vacante's fiddle adds a sense of earthiness and comfort to DeSilva's angelic performance.
4. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Secret Emchy Society
Secret Emchy Society delivers a twist on the classic you thought you knew. The somber, bittersweet version The Bay Area band covers here is actually the original, written for Judy Garland to sing in Meet Me in St. Louis. She rejected the original's depressing nature and punched up the song into the version most of us know today. Here, Secret Emchy Society filters a depressing dive bar vibe onto the track. With lyrics that ask us to enjoy happiness while it lasts and a delivery that suggests it'll never come again, Secret Emchy Society's version of the song will leave you reeling.
5. "All I Want for Christmas is Nudes," Trixie Mattel
Trixie Mattel's album Homemade Christmas serves some irreverence for the holidays. This salacious song encapsulates everything the songs that make Mattel so popular: a saucy sense of humor, an excellent command of the music, and Mattel's pitch-perfect country voice. The song's title is self-explanatory, but the wordplay can't be missed -- just maybe don't blast it at work.