Vintage 4-track tape recordings juxtaposed against emotional homoerotic images and modern dancing will mesmerize.
If there’s one thing that’s clear, Indiana Queen’s founder and sole member Kevin Thornton is passionate about his work and has a razor sharp vision. His latest piece is titled “Summon Without Sorrow” and is a visceral journey into music through the artist’s eyes. Being queer in the world of country might make him seem like a fish out of water, but rather he’s a shark that eats the fish as he grabs folk music by its balls. The end result, releasing to iTunes on November 15, is a beautiful string of videos that interrelate to tell a singular story of pride, love, and acceptance.
With sample lyrics like “well-endowed angels descend, the weight of their cocks are sinking them to the earth,” one might think his target audience is strictly for the LGBTQ+ community. Instead, his delivery subdues any of the visual extremism and makes it highly enjoyable for everyone, regardless of their sexual preference. He weaves together homoeroticism, spiritual references, modern dancing, and traditional straightforward singing to the camera. It all creates a dream with a strong message that fits perfectly with his silky voice and tender lyrics.
Growing up, Thornton was originally inspired by the harmonies and folksiness of bands such as Fleetwood Mac and Crosby, Stills & Nash. At a certain age, he opened Pandora’s Box after acquiring a subscription to Columbia House, and as the penny cassettes poured in, so did new sounds. He found The Smiths and The Cure, amongst other 80’s British bands, and created an amalgam of all his influences to make his authentic, raw sound which we hear today.
What separates Indiana Queen from other bands, is that the band is all Kevin Thornton. Thornton actually prefers it to be called a “project” rather than a band, because through the years he has enlisted the help of others. When you hear harmonies that seem to extend to infinity, they’re surprisingly all him. The outcome is an uncluttered, clean sound that forces the listener to actually pay attention and appreciate the intimacy he provides.
“Summon Without Sorrow” has many tracks which all intertwine, but standouts include the song “This is How it Goes.” It tells the tale of growing up queer in a religious town and being in love with a fellow church-member. It was a secret love affair in Thornton’s mind which never came to fruition. As an adult, he now reflects and wondered what happened to him. This is a very relatable experience for the LGBTQ+ community, and it is perfectly translated in this song. “I like telling a gay story in a genre that has historically not accepted LGBTQ+ people,” says Thornton. “It’s a perspective that needs to be heard.”
“Be My Man” is a sweet love song that would fit alongside any of the great heterosexual folk classics. He dons a cowboy hat and sings directly into the camera, making you feel every word. “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.”
When experiencing the visual album “Summon without Sorrow,” you get a sense that Thornton is an old soul with a lot to say. His sapphire blue eyes appear sage, which brings a layer of brevity to the album. During a spoken-word interlude, two male dancers engage in a silent tête-à-tête that explodes into his final track “You Are Not Alone.” The result is a very powerful video choreographed by professional dancers that is a celebration of acceptance.
You’ll never hear “manufactured shit about trucks and beer,” says Thornton because he “thinks that stuff is garbage.” Instead, his fearlessness permeates through every second of the album “Summon without Sorrow,” and thus gives him the rare title of creating something entirely new and unique in music.