Patrick Haggerty finds new hope in the re-release of his groundbreaking album

Patrick Haggerty explains how the re-release of Lavender Country, the first gay country album, means that it has finally found its place.
Patrick Haggerty

Patrick Haggerty is the musician behind the first gay country album. Released in 1973, Lavender Country was one of the many creative projects emerging from Seattle's lesbian and gay community. "It was a real bootleg community effort," says Haggerty, "I couldn't have made it myself." From raising the money, to recording and distribution, Haggerty explains that the album was made entirely by the gay community and the community loved it.

"It was about us and it was us who were listening to it," says Haggerty, "any audience who wanted to listen to Lavender Country in 1973 was an overtly gay, out, gay liberation audience." Haggerty remembers playing song from the album at Seattle's Pride parade in 1974 in front of a crowd of 200 people. Then 45 years later he played in the exact same location to 700,000 people. "Both were really exciting. The 200 were exciting and so were the 700,000," admits Haggerty.

Lavender Country is currently experiencing a renaissance. "It's a fairytale. It's something that never happens but it did happen," says Haggerty on the re-release of his ground breaking album. When the record label contacted him a couple years ago about re-releasing the music, Haggerty thought it was a scam. He hadn't played the album in a long time as he felt it had no place in the world. "There was no room for Lavender Country in any genre, anywhere," explains Haggerty, "I knew that my career in country music was over before it started."

Haggerty says Lavender Country "defined me forever more and what it defined me as was someone who is excluded and those were hurtful feelings for all those many years." Although he knew what he was getting himself into the country singer says, "I certainly wasn't going to wait around for the world to wake up. I had a life to live."

WEB EXTRA | Watch the documentary on Patrick Haggerty's Lavender Country here

*Editor's Note: there are mature themes and language that may not be suitable for all audiences in the video.


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