Hey, folks, time for another new feature on the bloggie, this time where I'll spotlight a song/artist from a newcomer or a returning fave that is worth your attention and your support. And what better to kick it off than a rockin' country remake of a RuPaul disco nugget?
Glenn Stewart, who hails from the central Massachussetts suburbs of Worcester, spent his younger years as the bassist in the hair-metal band Roxxi landed him airtime on MTV's Headbanger's Ball with the video for "Drive It To Ya Hard" in 1990. After that ended, Stewart worked the bar circuit before releasing his first solo album in 2006. But with the country radio atmosphere dominated by the milder likes of Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, an Kenny Chesney, the genre wasn't quite ready yet. Fast forward to 2014, when the "bro-country" co-opted the hard rock of the 80s replacing cowboy hats with baseball caps, and gruffed up and pin-up ready male leads like Luke Bryan, Brantley Gilbert, and Jason Aldean eschewed the once-mandatory steel-guitar twang and caught up to the sound Stewart had already been putting out eight years ago. With a new album, Breaking Barriers, released in the fall of 2014, his chops are concentrated into a dozen radio-ready rockers produced by Jim Foster, whose metal experience makes sure this doesn't come off as a half-assed attempt to look hard (I'm lookin' at you, Justin Moore).
But before writing this off as yet another run-of-the-mill rock/country hybrid, Glenn threw a wrench in the works with the lead-off track and single "Around Again". At first listen, you'd never be able to guess the song's origin, as a minor single on drag queen royalty RuPaul's 2011 album Glamazon. Written by Ru with producer Lucien Piane, the album version sounds like it's dug out from a 1983 hi-NRG compilation. But S
ewart, Foster, and the crack band take the escalating and revolving energy of the lyrics and chord changes and turns it into something else entirely. The most daring aspect isn't even this, but rather going whole-on and real and enlisting drag stars, most of whom had appeared on Rupaul's Drag Race, to appear in the music video. The clip, which is filmed as dead-serious as the music is performed, drops the novelty and simply presents Joslyn Fox (who was in last season) and the back-up girls not as comic relief but as a sexy backdrop for Stewart's tough-but-tender side. (See how many you can recognize, including this season's Jaidynn Diore Fierce)....
Now I've been involved with the LGBT country/rodeo community for over 20 years, and I can say this would fit in any great night two-stepping at Charlie's. Now guys and gals, let's put our money where our mouth is. In order to have out and proud performers, we gotta support them. Glenn's album is an amazing listen with more rocking tracks like "Little Miss John Wayne" (which also sports a Joslyn Fox-starring video) and heart-pulling songs like "Dancing". Now go and plunk down your change at Glenn's website or at Amazon or iTunes. Country DJs, play the hell out of this record. Rodeos, get him on your entertainment roster. In Ru's words, "don't f*ck it up!"
(and just for comparison, here's Ru's original version of the song...)