Daily Briefs
9 min

That’s how a heartache begins

Former openly gay country star takes on new name and image

A classic country song, made famous by Patsy Cline, is particularly apt for describing what happened to openly gay country musician Josey Greenwell:

“I watched her take him from me/ And his love is no longer my own/ Now they are gone, and I sit alone/ And watch one cigarette burn away.”

Only in this case, “her” is the soul-crushingly heteronormative music industry, “love” is values or integrity or identity or something, and the gay community is the spurned lover.

Out and About Nashville describes the tale worthy of its own country song.

Greenwell was performing at Pride festivals and gracing the cover of DNA magazine and the 2012 Spartacus Gay Guide. He then disappeared from the public eye, only to reappear in a music video for “Wild and Free” under the name Nate Green, which sees the musician grinding on top of a woman in a pile of money, in a song that is about as inane and grating as a modern country-pop song could ever be.

OaAN details how, in an article with DNA, “Greenwell discussed his early experience of getting dropped from a label because they found out he was gay. He finished that project independently, but reported that he was told ‘Music isn’t ready for something as controversial as you and we sure as hell won’t be the first label to have it.’”

The story is about as sad and melodramatic as another Cline song:

“I’ve got the records that we used to share/ And they still sound the same as when you were here/ The only thing different, the only thing new/ I’ve got the records, she’s got you.”