In the past half decade, we’ve witnessed some surprisingly progressive turns in the historically conservative field of folk and country music; be it Orville Peck eclipsing his contemporaries in the mainstream, a Tracy Chapman cover dominating charts, Kacey Musgraves’ ongoing expansion of the genre’s inclusiveness, or Lil Nas X making people debate what even constitutes a country tune. It’s beyond refreshing to watch these tides shift, and thankfully for us Austinites, it’s not just a national trend.
So while we can certainly point to Pelvis Wrestley’s Benjamin Violet as a force for the androgynous queer cowboy visual aesthetic, when it comes to clear-cut alt-country and folk music, we gotta give kudos to Creekbed Carter Hogan. See, in the short time since Hogan shared their debut 2021 Good St Riddance, we’ve seen huge leaps not just in terms of musical maturity, but indeed through major milestones like legally changing their name, having their uterus removed, and publishing their first book. And through this transition, CCH has created a powerful advantage that makes him stand out in the crowded world of Americana-country-folk, and that’s his unique vocal register, much higher than the majority of men but not necessarily feminine in character.
Well, following up last Spring’s Split EP, Creekbed Carter Hogan is taking things to the next level with their eponymous sophomore full-length Creekbed Carter, out March 22nd. Style-wise it maintains the same blunt, clever, and intrinsically queer twist on roots music we’ve come to adore. But strictly speaking to audio quality, it’s a huge step up from the CCH’s relatively lo-fi discography thus far, with glistening sonics that’ll fill a stereo just as well as it could the Grande Ole Opry. Based on what we’ve heard so far, we’re even willing to wager that Creekbed Carter could challenge Golden Hour when it comes to the finest mixes in acoustic music. So as these Texas temps slowly creep up, crawl into the Creekbed with Hogan for a single release show 8PM this Saturday at Radio/East alongside Large Brush Collection, Kind Keith, and Leila Sunier. Until then, show Hogan some love in the streambed by giving a spin to the record’s first offering, “If I Was”. Because at five-and-a-half minutes, bordered by the prettiest instrumental string arrangement we’ve heard all year (which includes Pelvis Wrestley’s Zach Wiggs on pedal steel and Little Mazarn’s Lindsey Verrill on bass), and joined by Large Brush Collection’s Nora Predey and Grabiela Torres in its climax, “If I Was” marks a melancholy beginning for trans folk’s next generation.