Tag: Album

Live at Northfire Album Release – Lesbian.com

Live at Northfire Album Release – Lesbian.com

Special to Lesbian.com

Pamela Means and The Reparations
Live At Northfire
Six tracks of mastery on full display

Pamela Means’s growing audience continues groove and get woke

PAMELA MEANS, acclaimed singer-songwriter, jazz musician, and activist, has released, Pamela Means and The Reparations, “Live at Northfire,” her tenth album. An in-studio performance, recorded live, for a small group of fans, at Northfire Recording, in Amherst, MA.

“Live at Northfire” showcases six Pamela Means original songs. Primarily, politically-charged indictments of our sociopolitical landscape plus a dose of romantic reprieve from two mesmerizing ballads. For Means, an artist known for mastering many musically diverse projects with ease, this is the first release with a new empowered trio. A live set of punchy protest songs, primal, funky, focused grooves, and sultry queer love songs that will surely send a listener adrift on a soulful journey, soothing and searing, yet, still, speaking truth to power.

Pamela Means’s clever, concise lyrics, tender to raging vocals, and fleet-fingered fretwork are elevated with the thick bottomed bass lines, infectious conga beats and lush, velvet harmonies of bassist, Cinamon Blair, and, percussionist, I-SHEA. Pamela Means puts her gentle wit, big loving spirit and powerful songwriting to work for peace in the world. She just keeps getting better and better. Her voice is strong, her musicality is entertaining and her commitment to peace is deep, genuine and consistent.

Produced by Pamela Means
All songs by Pamela Means
Pamela Means: guitar,vox
Cinamon Blair: bass, vox
I-Shea: percussion, vox

Recorded by Garrett Sawyer, Northfire Recording Studio
Mixed by Garrett Sawyer, Northfire Recording Studio
Mastered by Mark Alan Miller, Sonelab Mastering

Impeachment Now!
James Madison
Color of the Skin
Cinnamon and chocolate
My Love
Hands Up

guitar, vocals

Pamela Means, singer-songwriter with a penchant for protest songs, guitarist, vocalist, educator and social activist, is an Out and proud queer artist that cannot be musically contained. A conservatory-trained musician, Means also fronts her own jazz quartet, breathing life into classics once sung by Billie Holiday, Chet Baker and the like; performs the entirety of the album, The Beatles Abbey Road, solo acoustic, in celebration of its 50th anniversary, and now releases her tenth album, “Live at Northfire,” the first with new empowered trio, Pamela Means and The Reparations.

bass, vocals
Cinamon Blair, bassist and support vocalist from the Empowered Trio, Pamela Means and The Reparations, is a singer, songwriter, bassist, musician, and composer who has been growing her creative expression over the past 30+ years. She loves to sing, play, vocalize harmonies and use music as a tool to self-soothe and build greater connections, to educate and activate herself and the listener into whatever needs to happen. Music is part of our DNA and has real health wealth applications. Cinamon Blair is a collaborator by nature, consistently broadening her musical family, understanding and appreciation.

percussion, vocals
I-SHEA is the percussionist and support vocalist from the Empowered Trio, Pamela Means and The Reparations. I-SHEA is an eclectic ARTist and musician aka ‘The Original Jewminican’ hailing from the source of hip hop and raised in the sauce of merengue, bolero, rumba, salsa, nyabinghi and West African rhythms. I-SHEA has lit up the east/west coast USA, Canada, Latin America, The Caribbean, and Africa, performing at legendary venues like Daniel Sorano National Theatre of Dakar, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Apollo in Harlem. She has opened up for Dead Prez, Sadat X (from Brand Nubian), and Morgan Heritage and has shared stages/performances with Howard Zinn, Rha Goddess, Rosario Dawson, Jane Fonda and Eve Ensler.

Grammy Nomination for Queer-Inclusive Children’s Album

Grammy Nomination for Queer-Inclusive Children's Album

Singer-songwriter Alastair Moock’s queer-inclusive Be a Pain received a Grammy nomination yesterday for “Best Children’s Music Album.” The album, which seeks to inspire young listeners to become leaders for positive change, includes a song for his nonbinary child, one that praises Harvey Milk, and another that invites young listeners to imagine leaders who are LGBTQ, among other identities.

Alistair Moock - Mara Brod 2015

Alistair Moock – Photo credit: Mara Brod 2015

In the title track of Be a Pain: An Album for Young (& Old) Leaders, which I wrote about when it was still being crowdfunded, Moock shares the examples of Rosa Parks, Billie Jean King, the Parkland students, and Harvey Milk:

Harvey Milk, he chose to run
for the council board and won,
even though folks said, ‘You can’t, because you’re gay.’
One brave LGBTQ elected leader ran and knew
You can change things if you choose to be a pain.

In “What Is a Leader?” Moock invites listeners to reflect, “Is a leader a man or a woman? Are they LGBTQ? What color would their skin be? Does a leader look like you?”

Mostly poignantly, “Go Shine (Song for Elm),” written for his nonbinary child, begins:

You are who you choose to be
When you choose to be who you are
The world may be confused by you
But you know who you are

and is alone worth the price of the album. The rest of the songs, with folk, bluegrass, and blues influences, include equally inspiring and catchy tunes about other human-rights activists, as well as ones that look ahead to the next generation and that remind parents that we ourselves should abide by the lessons we teach.

Led by Grammy-nominated producer Anand Nayak, the album features guest spots from a diverse group of musicians including Sol y Canto, Alisa Amador, Reggie Harris, Rani Arbo, Sean Staples, Crys Matthews, Mark Erelli, Kris Delmhorst, Melanie DeMore, Heather Mae, and Boston City Singers. Matthews is a lesbian and Mae is queer—and DeMore was a founding member of the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, long beloved by many queer women and others.

Both Moock and his wife, writer and parenting blogger Jane Roper, have supported the queer community in additional ways. Moock performed last February at First Event in Boston, a long-running conference for “transgender and gender expansive people and those who love and support them.” Roper wrote a piece last year for public radio’s WBUR on they/them pronouns.

Moock’s 2015 All Kinds of You and Mewhich covered concepts like family, gender, ethnicity, and social justice, was also queer-inclusive and gender expansive, with songs about families with two moms or two dads, boys who wear dresses, and girls who climb trees.

Clearly being LGBTQ-inclusive isn’t a detriment to making a lauded children’s album—or two. We knew that already last year, however, when a Grammy nomination went to the Alphabet Rockers’ The LOVE, which includes “We Royal,” a song celebrating trans, gender non-conforming and two-spirit heroes, as well as other tracks about social justice and the spectrum of gender. (Read more about it here.)

Bonus queer fun fact: Moock contributed his “Go Shine (Song for Elm)” to the (not Grammy-nominated but awesome) Trans & Nonbinary Kids Mix album compiled and released earlier this year by Julie Lipson of Ants on a Log. Another of this year’s Grammy nominees for Best Children’s Music Album, the Okee Dokee Brothers (Songs For Singin’), also contributed a song to that project, as did the Alphabet Rockers.

All of the nominees are worth a listen, as they’re a far cry from the insipid and repetitive kids’ music of yesteryear. Aside from Moock’s work, I’m particularly fond of All The Ladies, by Joanie Leeds, a single mother as well as a musician. Her album is a feminist manifesto of songs about girl power, sisterhood, female potential, Mother Earth, and RBG. Dog On Fleas’ I’m An Optimist is simply great fun, and Justin Roberts’ Wild Life offers an exploration of the hopes and fears and excitement of new parenthood. Congratulations to them all!

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

New album ‘coming this month’ singer confirms, saving 2020

Ariana GRnade singing in front of a rainbow

Ariana Grande performs during her Sweetener World Tour at The O2 in London. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Ariana Grande teased a new album coming “this month”, and suddenly 2020 doesn’t seem beyond saving.

Ariana announced Wednesday (October 14) that she will gift the world with the vaccine we so truly need – her sixth album, which will arrive later this month.

Yes, after Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift all came to save music from the horrors of, well, straight male musicians, Ariana is next in line, with Kylie Minogue just a month after.

Taking to Twitter, Ariana wrote: “i can’t wait to give u my album this month,” proving that society has progressed past the need for capital letters.

The abrupt announcement of her sixth release –  the follow-up to her 2019 album, thank u, next – caused countless queer men called Nick, Tom or James to ascend into the heavens.

Ariana Grande will drop new album in October 2020 and the internet can’t breathe. 

Reacting to the news of Ariana Grande’s new album, one user accurately said: “Thus is the best thing I’ve read in the past 10 months.”

Another added: “She said ya’ll getting the WHOLE ALBUM?!?!?!

“Someone needs to check on me because I actually can’t breathe.”

Basically, unlike Ariana’s Twitter timeline, there was a lot of capital letters.

Clues to Ariana Grande’s new album have been emerging for a while.

Though, they were perhaps not as cryptic as the long, long road towards Lady Gaga’s sixth album, which saw everything from billboards to experimental tweets and divine prophecies be used to offer fans subatomic crumbs of information.

Ariana teased that she was working on new material while also doing the Lord’s work by encouraging Americans to vote last week.

“[T]urning in these mixes and reminding u again to register to vote if u haven’t already / to vote early,”  she wrote.

While in September, she casually uploaded a snippet of vocals from a track called “brb”.

We also know that the “7 Rings” hitmaker has a collaboration with Doja Cat in the pipeline.

She told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe that she was “obsessed” with the “Moo” singer and that they had worked together on a song.

Music recommendation: TABS’ first solo album

Music recommendation: TABS' first solo album

Hi! This is my first post on this subReddit! I’m F/38/late bloomer lesbian.

I just thought you might like to know that there’s a really good album (in my opinion!) by quite a prominent (& gorgeous!) butch musician/London-based ‘Butch Please’ club-night organiser/activist here in the UK, named TABS (Tabitha Benjamin). I downloaded it today and I love it.

I thought you might be interested in hearing her work/knowing it exists.

I don’t know her (I wish!), and this post is 100% genuine in just me sharing some music that I think you might like, as her lyrics are very poignant and her voice is amazing: https://tabsldn.bandcamp.com/album/love-like-this

Edit: Butch Please is a club-night in multiple venues, not one nightclub. Just listening to the podcast now!

New Music Album Celebrates Trans and Nonbinary Children and Youth

New Music Album Celebrates Trans and Nonbinary Children and Youth

A new multi-artist, multi-genre music album coming out this month will offer transgender and nonbinary children and youth songs that reflect and support who they are. It’s the brainchild of Julie Lipson, one half of children’s music duo Ants on a Log, who spoke with me recently about the project and shared this sneak peek of the cover art.

Detail from cover of "Trans and Nonbinary Kids Mix." Art by Wriply M. Bennet

Detail from cover of “Trans and Nonbinary Kids Mix.” Art by Wriply M. Bennet.

Lipson, who is also a co-founder of Camp Aranu’tiq, a summer camp for transgender and nonbinary children and youth, told me, “I have always been astounded by the role that music plays” for the campers. “Gender overlaps so much with music and the voice.”

This summer, however, the camp had to cancel in-person sessions because of COVID-19. “This just seemed like the moment where kids need this music,” they said. “We needed some way to keep everybody connected.”

Lipson, who is nonbinary themselves, reached out to their networks in both the children’s music and the transgender and nonbinary music world, and the response was “amazing.” The result, the Trans and Nonbinary Kids Mix album, will contain 20 songs from musicians representing hip-hop, pop, folk, country, and other genres. While some of the songs have appeared on other albums, several are new for this one—and it’s empowering to see them all brought together in one place.

About two-thirds of the musicians are transgender or nonbinary; the rest are allies, some of whom have trans or nonbinary friends or family members. About half are people of color.

I wanted to be a part of this project because trans and nonbinary folks deserve to be at the center of stories, songs, narratives.

The project is personal for many of them. Be Steadwell, a self-described “a black queer artist storyteller witch,” said, “I never saw much of myself in the music I listened to. I never heard my story. I wanted to be a part of this project because trans and nonbinary folks deserve to be at the center of stories, songs, narratives. We deserve to see ourselves in art. To feel affirmed rather than ignored by the music we listen to.”

Storm Miguel Florez, a “trans queer, Xicanx filmmaker and musician,” wanted to participate because “As a teen in the 80s, music saved my life. I was especially lucky to have access to music by older LGBTQ people. It meant everything to know there were older queer people making art and getting to live full and interesting lives. I’m excited for an opportunity to be a part of that for younger people now.”

And Grammy-nominated Alastair Moock, a “cis, white, hetero male,” shared, “I have long worked to be an active and vocal straight ally. That commitment only deepened when one of my twins came out as gay and then non-binary.”

Some of the trans and nonbinary musicians don’t write “kids’ music” per se, but Lipson hopes their contributed songs nevertheless speak to kids. One example is “Weaknees,” by transgender singer and writer Vivek Shraya. “It’s just such a great message: ‘I want to know everything about you, I think you’re so cool,’” Lipson paraphrased. And Lipson also wants kids to think of these musicians and say, “Oh, that’s a role model.”

Every kid of every age is going to interpret these songs differently.

With this broad approach, Lipson hopes that “Five-year-olds and 15-year-olds could listen to this mix and find that they like most of the songs.” Some “are definitely for little children,” but with others, “a five-year-old might like the beat but have no idea what the lyrics mean.” Lipson added, “Every kid of every age is going to interpret these songs differently.” That’s part of the album’s appeal.

The nonbinary musician Totally Knuts’ contribution, “The Trans Wizard’s Song” comes from the genre of “Wizard Rock,” inspired by the world of Harry Potter. Lipson notes that the song was written before author J.K. Rowling’s recent anti-trans statements, but it is (appropriately) a “critique song” about being trans and nonbinary at Hogwarts (Harry’s wizard school) that looks at some of the problems underlying the wizards’ world.

Other musicians on the album include two-time Grammy Award-winner Cathy Fink; Grammy nominees the Alphabet Rockers; Beppie; Be Steadwell; Chana Rothman; Emily Joy; Jennifer Angelina Petro; the Okee Dokee Brothers; Queer Kid Stuff; Ryan Cassata; Shawnee; Star Amerasu; and Two of a Kind.

Notably, the album will be free to all, to make it accessible to “any trans or nonbinary kid who’s sitting at home alone and isolated,” Lipson said. “I did not want cost to get in the way of that.” People are welcome to make donations, however, all of which will go to Camp Aranu’tiq, which is offering free virtual sessions this year but has lost the income from its in-person camps.

Separately, Lipson is also fundraising to provide many of the musicians—all of whom donated their songs—with stipends. Many musicians and artists are unemployed right now because of the pandemic—and the Black Lives Matter movement has reminded Lipson of the importance of supporting musicians of color.

“I’m pretty privileged. I’m a White person who’s doing okay,” they asserted. But they know that not everyone is. “We need to dream into existence the world that we actually want, which is that anybody who doesn’t have the resources that I have can rely on society valuing artists.”

You can contribute here to the fund for the musicians. Lipson will divide the money among them, although they’ve asked that those “who do not identify in a marginalized community or identity give that money back into the pot.” Some will also be used to pay Wriply M. Bennet, the Black trans woman who created the cover art.

The album itself will be available from antsonalog.bandcamp.com later in July. (Right now, that page shows only the Ants’ album You Could Draw the Album Art!, which is great, but isn’t the Trans and Nonbinary Kids’ Mix.) Follow Ants on a Log on Facebook or Instagram for the latest updates.