Gay male musicians click with listeners.By Gregg Shapiro
A few weeks before the beginning of October’s GLBT History Month observances, gay male musicians were dominating most of the top slots on Logo’s Click List music video program. If you’ve been following the voting, that’s the way it’s been over the course of the summer, and it looks like it will likely continue into the fall.
Tom Goss and Phil Putnam are a couple of kings, or should I say queens, of the Click List domain. The sweetly affectionate “Till the End” video from Goss’ album Back to Love (tomgossmusic.com) features a variety of couples, queer and straight, hanging out in bed. That song is a fine illustration of Goss’ folk rock style, which is at its best on tunes such as “Take Me On,” “Sometimes We Fall,” and “Legacy of You.” The video for piano man Putnam’s “I’m No Prize,” from his disc Casualties (Box of Wood Music), also involves a bed. The pleasant song has a self-deprecating sense of humor that works to its advantage. Of the 16 tracks on Casualties, “More Than This,” “Sophisticated Life,” “Paris,” “Ache,” “Goodnight, My Devil,” and the Ben Folds-esque “Here to Stay” are standouts.
Levi Kreis is one of the hardest working gay men in show business. For nearly a year, Kreis has been tearing up the stage at the Apollo Theater in Chicago with his show-stopping portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in the musical Million Dollar Quartet. He also sat at the top of the Click List for several weeks during the summer of 2009. Somehow, he also found the time to release a new CD of original songs, Where I Belong (levikreis.com). In addition to the inspirational “Stained Glass Window,” the theme from the Del Shores piece Southern Baptist Sissies, the disc includes blue-eyed soul tunes such as “Gonna Be Alright,” “Nothing at All,” and the bluesy numbers “No Apologies” and “Not Afraid.”
Chicago is also home to Jeffrey Altergott who returns with his fifth album, Balloons (jeffreyaltergott.com). A more plugged-in effort than its predecessor Don’t Be a Stranger, Balloons gives Altergott the chance to rock out on “Everyday Is a Reason,” “Don’t Prove Me Right,” and “Dismal Voyeurs,” as well as swing some on “Kickstand.” The gorgeous “Till Tomorrow Comes” and title tune also shouldn’t be missed.
Sliimy, the first artist signed to blah-blah-blogger Perez Hilton’s Warner Brothers-distributed Perezicious record label is about to find out whether being associated with the malicious gay gossip is a good career move or not. On its own merits, Sliimy’s Paint Your Face disc is a colorful collection of tunes that will surely appeal to Mika’s fan-base. “Wake Up” is a bubbly musical alarm that could motivate even the least morning-loving person. The funky and gay “Magic Game” is tasty as a cupcake, and “Our Generation” isn’t limited to one age group. The vivid title tune comes close to rocking, and “Baby” is another example of Sliimy’s versatility. Personally, I could have done without the “Womanizer” cover. (Editor’s note: Paint Your Face is available for either digital download or with the purchase of a T-shirt at TheMusicTee.com.)
Clear across the spectrum, actor, cabaret artist, and songwriter, D.C. Anderson mixes cabaret-style tunes such as “I’m Right” with more singer/songwriter type of fare such as “First to Go” with pleasing results on Close Companions (LML Music). The album’s centerpiece, a heartbreaking story song about coming out titled “God’s Will,” is sure to linger with listeners after the song has ended. Fellow cabaret traveler Todd Murray includes a couple of originals—“Patricia” and “The Girl from Waco”—along with a number of familiar standards on his Stardust & Swing (todd murray.com) CD.
Gay male singer/songwriters are becoming more visible all the time. Those with recently released CDs include Joe Settineri (Stay on LML Music), Jake Walden (Alive and Screaming available at jakewalden.com), Dan Manjovi (Woke Up This Morning available at danmanjovi.com), Joel Evan (Embracing the Light . . . and then some available at joelevan.com), Stephen Dillard-Carroll (Introducing Me on Oyos Records), Stewart Lewis (In Formation on Here! Tunes), Greg Walter (five-song EP available at gregwalters
music.com), and ’80s indie music legend Tommy Keene (In the Late Bright on Second Motion).
You don’t have to speak Hebrew to appreciate and enjoy The Steady Rhythm of Body Movements (Helicon/Stop Drop & Roll) by out Israeli singer/songwriter Ivri Lider. Lider, who had a song on Music With a Twist’s Revolutions compilation as well as on the soundtrack to Eytan Fox’s movie, The Bubble, sings with great passion and conviction on “Just Ask,” “Waking Up,” “Important for Me,” and the excellent duet “Together from Fear.”
Tired of waiting for the new Scissor Sisters disc? Join the club! Del Marquis probably feels the same way, which is why we have Runaround (delmarquis.com) to hold us over. The eight-song Del Marquis solo disc includes the title track (and four hot remixes) and the Lifeline Remix of “Litter to Society,” which serve to whet our appetites for the early 2010 arrival of the next Scissor Sisters offering.
Gregg Shapiro is a past recipient of the annual OutMusic award that recognizes contributions by non-musicians in furthering the work of LGBT performers.