Brooke Eden is more necessary than ever

Brooke Eden is nearly crying. One could say that it’s a bad sign when your interviewee starts to tear up, but this particular conversation demands it, as we speak, my eyes get misted too. “I’ve had to learn how to take control of my emotions when I’m performing it [the song ‘All My Life’]. Especially as that was our first dance song, so my wife and I danced to it at our wedding in front of all the people we loved the most.” There’s no bad feeling behind the tear ducts, as Eden discusses all the hardships she faced coming out, all the arguments she had with her now-wife along the journey to becoming a queer and out country music artist and all the relief that she experiences every day now that she can wear her heart openly. It’s an emotional conversation all round, except for the part about dogs.  


It was impossible to get into the Saloon Stage at C2C for Brooke Eden’s performance. There was a queue going around the side of the entrance, every person vying for a spot inside the medium-sized venue. Luckily for us, we had the magic of press passes to slip inside and take a peek, only to find that inside, up the four staircases to the bar venue, there was another queue of people waiting to get in. Eventually, someone had to leave and we took their place. It was short-lived, there was nowhere left to stand and no one wanted to give up their spot in the crowd to make way for some pesky journalists. We quickly resigned ourselves to leaving, the space far too cramped for someone of my stature (shout out to the short people at concerts who can never see and almost always get lost amongst heads in a crowd). I have to admit when I meet Eden later in the day that, try as I might, I didn’t hear her sing a single song. “No way! I wish we would’ve known, I would have pulled you in,” she effuses, it’s hard to not sense her aura lightening when she finds out how many people were packed into the room to catch her set. Her kindness wasn’t lost on me, but I tell her I’ll catch her next time she’s in the UK. “I’d love to back another time this year, whether it be for another festival or for my own headlining show or both. I’d definitely love to be back this year.” I agree, the UK demand for Eden’s particular brand of country music is higher than ever, if the queues are anything to go by.  


The Queers That Came Before  

Eden was last in the UK five months ago, playing a show at G-A-Y, the famous gay nightclub and performance venue. She’s a huge fan of Soho nights out with her country music colleague, Fancy Hagood, “We have a group in Nashville, we call ourselves the CowGays. It’s three artists, two managers and a photographer. We’re all queer in country music, so I really feel like this queer country dance party is just getting started!” Eden shares, I tell her that in the UK the movement has been given the name ‘Pink Country’ and her delight is instantaneous, “I love that!”. There’s been a notable rise in the amount of queer people who are taking an interest in country, not just the cowboy/cowgirl/cowperson aesthetic, but also in the music. Artists like Willie Nelson have created a niche for queer people who have always loved country music, but who have often felt that it didn’t represent them. The recent uptick in queer-targeted country music events across both sides of the pond further betrays the obvious truth: whatever name you want to call it, queer country music is here and it’s staying.  


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Hannah Larvin, Editor, Maverick Magazine
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