Gay country music artist Kevin Thornton shatters the industry mold

Kevin Thornton's "Indiana Queen" breaks traditional country music tropes.

The music industry is very selective of its artists, and one genre in particular rarely sees LGBT singers make it big with hits, either because the artist is too afraid to come out or the industry itself is not ready for their hetero-demographic to listen to lyrics such as, “The local paper asked if I liked men, said I used to love Jesus, but I gave in to sin.”

But Kevin Thornton is not about to hide who he is behind an industry that can be so cruel, especially when country music is filled with songs of personal strife and overcoming odds.

“I like telling a gay story in a genre that has historically not accepted LGBTQ-plus people," said Thornton. “It’s a perspective that needs to be heard.”

Thornton is the sole singer behind “Indiana Queen,” a project which may not be for everybody, as some songs reference “well endowed” angels who fall to earth, and video images of nude men embracing each other. 

Thornton’s style has a folk appeal with solo guitars and visceral lyrics, but the overtones are clearly nourished by Nashville, in fact his first single from his visual album “Summon Without Sorrow” is called “A Revelation” which takes listeners on his journey as a gay musician traversing his way through the country music capital of the world.

Heavily influenced by artists such as “Fleetwood Mac” and “Crosby Stills Nash and Young,” Thornton suddenly broadened his musical landscape when he began to subscribe to Columbia Music's mail-order albums when he was younger.

He began to appreciate “The Smiths” and “The Cure,” which greatly influenced the signature style we hear in his lyrics and melodies. 

Occasionally he enlists the help of other musicians on his work, preferring to call “Indiana Queen” a project rather than a band. But the singing and harmonies are all him. Each song contains a story which allows listeners to become increasingly intrigued by the narrative to the very end.

His recent release, “Summon Without Sorrow” contains many tracks which break the mold of traditional country music, but advance the genre in a modern direction with songs like, “This is How it Goes,” a lament about growing up queer in a religious town and falling for a male parishioner.

The attraction was never reciprocated and Thornton wonders today what happened to the man he pined for so many years ago.

In another offering; a love song called “Be My Man,” Thornton creates a mainstream ballad which could fit among the normal songs on top-40 radio.

“It’s got folk country roots although it defies both of those genres,” says Thornton. “That’s where I want to exist – in the alternative – the other.”

The visual album should have a permanent place in the LGBT musical market, if not for the fact that Thornton escapes the potboiling redundancy of country music templates, but that he also embraces its design in creating unique works about being gay and an out country singer.

He says you will never hear “manufactured shit about trucks and beer,” he thinks that stuff is garbage. 

The entire NSFW visual album can be seen HERE