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Star’s recent tweets could make me regret coming out as a country music fan

Country musician Blake Shelton

Confession: I love country music. Perhaps it’s the Cash gene in me or simply because I grew up in the Deep South with a mother who carried a torch for Hank Williams (senior not junior — what a disappointment he is) until the day she died.

I think Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and Little Big Town are among the most talented beings on the planet. Note I did not include Taylor Swift in that group. As an amateur musician, I often find myself drawn as much to Willie Nelson songs as to those of The Beatles and The Eagles.

Coming out as a country music fan has had its challenges. I have been ridiculed by friends and family alike for my subversive leanings. It’s just how I’m made, I explain, it’s in my DNA and there’s no denying it. They accept this without question about my sexual orientation, but they are not so forgiving when it comes to my passion for country music.

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Gay country bar 3 Legged Cowboy throws farewell bash, invites public to dance

Reports of 3 Legged Cowboy's closure quickly spread Sunday afternoon and the gay country and western bar has since created a Facebook event, Final Week of Dancing, to invite the public to come to the bar before it shuts its doors April 30.

The bars owners took to Facebook again today to post a more thorough farewell and offered hope of a new gay country bar popping up somewhere down the road:

I am so sorry to be telling you [we] will be closing as of May 1, 2011. And we want to thank you for all your support and help over the years. We tried up to the end to keep our bar.

As you know, we came back to give you a full time country bar, which I felt we needed at the time for our people. A place to call home and have good, clean fun, to bring your families, parents. I will miss you all. And yes, I hold you in my heart, each and everyone of you.

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Susan Werner brings queer edge to country music

Susan Werner performs at Eddie's Attick on March 26

You never know what delights you’re going to uncover on a new CD by out singer/songwriter Susan Werner. Recent discs found her reinterpreting classic pop tunes, turning gospel music on its ear and breathing new life into the American songbook.

On “Kicking The Beehive” (Sleeve Dog), Werner slips into a pair of comfy cowboy boots and fixes the brim on her ten-gallon hat for the hottest hoedown in town. She brings her tour to Georgia for two dates next week, performing at Dalton State University on March 25 and at Eddie’s Attic, Decatur’s famed acoustic stomping ground, on March 26.

GA Voice: Your last four studio discs were what I would call genre discs and on your new album “Kicking The Beehive,” you visit another genre, country music.

Werner: I just wanted to get out of town. Get out of the city limits. Maybe the direction on this project is south.

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Letter: Sugarland’s Kristen Hall also ‘out of the country closet’

Sugarland’s Kristen Hall also ‘out of the country closet’

To the Editors:

I was surprised to see your article on Chely Wright titled “The road to country’s first openly gay star” (June 11) which questioned “if kd lang should count?”  The answer is neither was the first openly gay country music star!

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The road to country music’s first openly gay star

Some may argue that Chely Wright isn’t technically the first major country singer to come out as gay.

Butch crooner kd lang had three country albums under her belt — along with the 1989 Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance — before she discussed being a lesbian in a 1992 interview with The Advocate.

But it’s difficult to consider lang the first mainstream country artist to come out because she was never really “in” — neither in the closet nor accepted in the Nashville-centered world of country music.

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Chely Wright comes out of the country closet

Newly out country musician Chely Wright

Last month, for the first time in the history of country music, an established country singer came out. In the May 17 issue of People magazine, Chely Wright discussed how she knew she was gay by age 9, but thought she had to hide it to succeed in music — living a lie that drove her to consider suicide in 2006.

Wright had her biggest hit in 1999 with “Single White Female,” which went to No. 1; made People’s list of Most Beautiful people in 2001, and dated fellow country singer Brad Paisley. In her People interview, she described how she decided to come out when making her new album, “Lifted Off the Ground.”

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Outspoken: Country singer Chely Wright, U.S. Rep. Steve King and more…

Country star Chely Wright recently came out of the closet

“When I first moved to Nashville, I worked at Opryland and there are a lot of gay boys running around at those themeparks. I was afraid there was some identifiable factor in me that they could pick up on, that they might know that I was gay.”

— Country singer Chely Wright, who recently came out, in a candid interview last week with Oprah Winfrey (“Oprah” via ContactMusic.com, May 19)