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Five Decades of Lavender Country: Inside the World of a ‘Queer, Screaming Marxist B-tch Country Singer’

For a self-professed “screaming Marxist bitch singer” who dropped a mostly ignored queer country album in 1973, it’s been a busy time for 77-year-old Patrick Haggerty of Lavender Country. On the bootheels of his band’s historical reappraisal after a 2014 reissue and ensuing reunion shows, the pioneering group’s legend continues to grow as the singular beauty and groundbreaking lyrical content of its self-titled album become apparent to more open-minded generations.

Not only is there a screenplay about Haggerty’s life floating around Hollywood, but the septuagenarian is reinvesting his energy in recording, duetting with drag star Trixie Mattel last year, releasing the lovely “Treasures That Money Can’t Buy” in January and gearing up to promote the band’s second album, Blackberry Rose, for its reissue. If you missed its initial 2019 self-release, well, you’re not alone: “We don’t know what the hell we’re doing online,” he freely admits with a laugh. “So Don Giovanni Records grabbed it and they’re fixin’ to put it out on vinyl and CD and all the online stuff. They’re planning a campaign with all the accoutrements,” he adds, hamming up an exaggerated pronunciation of the last word.

As Lavender Country warms up to the digital age, they’re performing at several Pride Month showcases, including a digital concert headlined by Amythyst Kiah on Saturday (June 12) called The Future Is Queer Country. “There was a complete explosion of radical queer country artists [in the last decade],” he happily notes. “Now we’re all over. Many of them, especially the transgender artists, are very radical and anti-capitalist and political. For years I was by myself; now I have an entourage of country performers who think I’m their grandpappy or something.”

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