Tom Goss to Perform at Sunshine Cathedral Jan. 19, & More LGBTQ Artists to Check Out

Tom Goss. Photo via Facebook.

After his most daring (and possibly best) album, 2019’s “Territories,” prolific gay singer/songwriter Tom Goss returns with the bouncy and infectious pop album “Remember What It Feels Like” (tomgossmusic.com).

The more traditional tunes range from dance-floor ready cuts including “Everything,” “Literally,” and “Undercover Summer,” bubblegum numbers “Enemy of Good,” “Don’t Wanna,” “First Date,” and “Break Your Heart.” Ballads including “Something Beautiful” and “Fall Before You Fly,” are examples of his versatility. Goss, who is known for being generous with his fans, packing recent recordings with more than a dozen songs, doesn’t skimp on “Remember What It Feels Like,” with its 15 tracks. Goss performs on Jan. 19 at Sunshine Cathedral Center for the Performing Arts.

At just 22 years old, Joanna Sternberg is an old soul. Most of the songs on their new album “I’ve Got Me” (Fat Possum), come from a bare-bones folk tradition, performed by Sternberg on guitar, piano and keys, violin, and bass. The lyrics, sung in Sternberg’s distinctive vocal style, alternate between introspection (the title tune, “Mountains High,” “Drifting On A Cloud”), yearning (“I Will Be With You,” “I’ll Make You Mine,” “The Human Magnet Song”), and brutal honesty (“Stockholm Syndrome,” and the rocking “People Are Toys to You"). The vocals and simple, yet meaningful, lyrics also sound like they owe a debt to early Carole King. This is especially true on the piano and vocal numbers, including “She Dreams.”

In a perfect and more accepting world, “Out Here Now” (evermorenest.com), the second album by queer Americana act Ever More Nest (aka Kelcy Mae Wilburn), would be embraced by music lovers from all walks of life. The songs are as accessible as anything you’d hear on albums by non-queer musical acts from Austin to Nashville and beyond, as well as those on records by Brandy Clark or Brandi Carlile. In other words, there’s so much to like about “Out Here Now,” including the title track, “What’s Gone Is Gone,” “Out Loud,” “Wishing Well,” “My Story” (check out Fat Kaplin’s fiddle work), “All I Want,” and “Almost Home.”

Could singer/songwriter Rachael Sage be the bi Taylor Swift? Prolific, independent, eternally struggling with love, and empress of her own musical empire, Sage beat Swift to the rerecording punch by a few years when she revisited two of her previously released albums. For the ambitious double disc “The Other Side” (MPress), Sage chose to include a second album of “alternate mixes.” Sage, who plays keyboards and guitar, once again delivers a set of pleasing pop songs including “Flowers For Free,” “The Place of Fun,” “Albatross,” “Butterflies at Night,” “I Made A Case” (which appears in two versions, including a duet with Howard Jones), and “No Regrets” (co-written with her father Stuart Weitzman). Sage’s well-chosen covers include queer singer/songwriter Maria McKee’s “Breathe,” Yaz’s “Only You,” and “Forgive Me This,” an obscure Europop song.

Living up to its title, “Mookie’s Big Gay Mixtape” (Eight Eat Eight) by sexy AF Mike Maimone is required spinning for all queer festivities. The 18-track set, complete with Maimone’s spoken “mixtape” interjections, is dedicated to the memory of his late husband Howard Bragman. The variety of the music, in classic mixtape style, is just one of the examples of Maimone’s versatility. Beginning with the arousing “Taste U,” sung in his trademark Tom Wait-esque growl, Maimone quickly brings things to a boil. The amazing “Unfollow” is a full-fledged club banger that deserves to be heard at Tea Dances far and wide. He takes us to New Orleans on “Stay” and “I Ain’t Goin’ Outside Today” and then fulfills his country music obligation on the rousing “I Wish I Didn’t Know You Anymore,” a duet with Linh Le. The album closes with Maimone’s piano and vocal rendition of “The Best,” which takes on even more meaning following the passing of Tina Turner who had a hit with the song in 1991. Maimone’s version strips away the bombastic period production for a more emotional reading, equally befitting of the song.

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