In 1973 Patrick Haggerty’s band Lavender Country released what would become widely known as the “world’s first gay country album.”
Only 1,000 copies of Lavender Country were made back then, but thanks to word of mouth and a cult following, the record received a loving re-release in 2014—and now holds its rightful place in LGBTQ and music history. A short documentary, These C*cksucking Tears—named after one of the songs on the album—made its debut on Vimeo in 2016 after winning the jury prize at SXSW.
“To the uninitiated, Patrick Haggerty may seem like a man of stark contradictions,” wrote Vimeo’s Sam Morrill in an interview with Haggerty. “He is both fiercely opinionated and exceedingly tender. His story is larger than life, yet he lives humbly. He’s a country singer and he’s gay.”
Now, some 46 years after Lavender Country’s debut, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help Haggerty release Blackberry Rose, his new full-length album of previously unreleased songs.
“The songs are recorded, but in order to get this music out we need your help,” Haggerty wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Please consider donating and being a part of history.”
Rewards for those who donate include MP3 downloads, vinyls, limited edition Lavender Country shirts, and even a private concert in your home. So far, the campaign has raised more than $1,600 of the $10,000 goal.
Haggerty recently returned to the stage, making a surprise appearance opening for out country crooner Orville Peck on the Seattle stop of his tour—and helping to introduce Lavender Country to a new generation of fans.
“To expose yourself like that in 1973 and acknowledge actual feelings for other men in a complicated, nuanced way must have been terrifying,” said These C*cksucking Tears director Dan Taberski about the original Lavender Country album. “Because I have a hard time doing that now in my relationships. You know what I mean? And to think that he did that in a very public way just gets me every time.”
For more info on the band and its new record, head over to the Blackberry Rose GoFundMe page.