It’s been a busy week when it comes to significant anniversaries in the world of music over the last seven days. Some have been a cause for celebration, and others are tinged in sadness.
With June being Pride Month, Far Out has focused its attention on artists from the community. We have championed contemporary musicians who are LGBTQ+ and also revisited stories from artists that broke ground that allowed society to grow to the place where it is today.
English-Canadian singer-songwriter Connor Roff spoke sat down with Far Out and detailed his experience as a queer musician. Roff chatted about why Pride Month is a reason to be cheerful and shared some of his favourite memories from the annual event. “I think Pride is just great fun. It’s a good celebration. Like, you know, I have no qualms with that,” he noted.
“I think I’ve kind of gone through the motions over the years of like Pride. And like, for me, it just represents like a big party, especially growing up, being in London for quite a long time and experiencing Pride in London,” he added. “We did some really fun things with a couple of shows I did with the choir I was part of over there called London Contemporary Voices. And we performed so a couple of times there.
“I used to be part of this throwing club, which is quite funny, which has an LGBT club there as well. I was part of the parade in some way, shape or form. And I think Pride is just a great, a great reason to go out and celebrate obviously an LGBT+ identity. And there’s no reason why people shouldn’t do that or have anything against that.”
Far Out also celebrated the life and times of the Godmother of Rock and Roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Chuck Berry once said, “My whole career has been one long Sister Rosetta Tharpe impersonation,” which provides a snapshot of the impact she had. Tharpe wasn’t just a musical trailblazer, but an LGBTQ+ one too.
In the 2007 biography Shout, Sister, Shout!, Gayle Wald explored the stories of her sexual promiscuity with both sexes and concluded, “Do I think Sister Rosetta Tharpe had attractions to and sexual relations with women? Yes,” Wald said. “But I don’t know if she used any words to identify herself.”
Adding: “In the gospel world, it was understood that people protected each other’s privacy. You didn’t want to ruin anyone’s career or life,” Wald said. “That way, people lived their lives as openly as they could. I think she lived in a world with a certain amount of openness.”
Elsewhere on Far Out, we provided a beginner’s guide to blues legend Howlin’ Wolf, who would have celebrated his 111th birthday last week. Bob Dylan once declared to Rolling Stone, “Howlin’ Wolf, to me, was the greatest live act, because he did not have to move a finger when he performed – if that’s what you’d call it, ‘performing’.”
A modern-day icon to also celebrate a birthday last week was the controversial artists Kanye West. The rapper often lands in hot water due to his exploits outside of music, and, subsequently, he has become a polarising figure through a series of high profile antics. You either love him or loathe him, there is no in-between. However, most would struggle to talk down West’s achievements as an artist.
There’s a case to be made for the enigmatic producer-turned-rapper as the most influential contemporary artists on the planet, and his repertoire of material speaks for itself. To commemorate his 44th spin around the sun, we ranked all of his solo albums in order of greatness from 2004’s College Dropout all the way through to 2019’s Jesus Is King.
On the new music front, Far Out welcomed Cannons, the Californian band who recently signed with Columbia Records and have started putting together their first album for a major label after two independent LPs. Earlier this year, their single ‘Fire For You’ topped the Billboard Alternative Airplay Chart, and Cannons are primed to break in a big way.
“The last twelve months have been nothing short of life changing for us,” they revealed. “We all previously worked full time day jobs while still committing to our band, so to finally have music be our full time jobs has been a blessing.”
Check out the playlist, below.
The Far Out Weekly Round-Up
- Cannons – ‘Fire For You’
- Connor Roff – ‘Lover You Should Have Come Over’
- Harry Nillson – ‘Without You’
- Sister Rosetta Tharpe – ‘My Journey To The Sky’
- Kanye West – ‘Bound 2’
- Bob Dylan – ‘Little Sadie’
- Rolling Stones – ‘Wild Horses’
- The Breeders – ‘Cannonball’
- Howlin’ Wolf – ‘Spoonful’
- Ray Charles – ‘Hit The Road Jack’
- George Harrison – ‘This Is Love’
- Nirvana – ‘Blew’
- The Specials – ‘Ghost Town’
- Ice Cube – ‘You Know How We Do It’
- Joy Division – ‘She’s Lost Control’