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The Commons
The Arts

A different kind of Cowboy Tour pushes the boundaries

The Paisley Fields puts a gay spin on country music at The Root

For information, visit, where you can also check out Wilson’s new blog about being a gay country musician in New York City . Their first EP, “Oh These Urban Fences...,” is due out later this summer.

Originally published in The Commons issue #314 (Wednesday, July 15, 2015). This story appeared on page B4.

BRATTLEBORO—The Paisley Fields are taking their boundary-pushing brand of country music on the road, and will be riding into Brattleboro on Thursday, July 16, at 7:30 p.m. at The Root Social Justice Center on Williams Street. Opening are local folk acts badweatherfriend and Bella.

Along with their award-winning original music, The Paisley Fields will add some classic country covers to their raucous live shows.

“The Paisley Fields have a good bit in common with contemporary country — rich production, songs with pop bones and twangy accents — the band probably won’t be touring with Toby Keith anytime soon,” according to the Pittsburgh City Paper. “Songwriter and lead singer James Wilson doesn’t dance lyrically around the fact that his songs are about relationships with other men; they’re sometimes tender, sometimes virulent, but unmistakably gay, a refreshing change from country radio.”

As a gay man, Wilson is not the cowboy hat wearing, good ol’ boy one pictures when thinking about country music. The Brooklyn resident and pianist cuts a different kind of cowboy figure. Wilson, along with the rest of The Paisley Fields, is unapologetic about pushing boundaries and seeking inspiration in the unexpected.

Their song “Windows Fogged Up In Your Pickup Truck” was written for Wilson’s longtime boyfriend, now husband, Ryan. The video follows a gay couple as they meet, fall in love and eventually get engaged. The band’s videos have more than 100,000 views on YouTube.

Although many of the songs are written from a gay man’s perspective, the music includes themes like loss, heartbreak and love.

“The Paisley Fields’ music is not only unique, but the lyrics are thoughtful and can strike a chord with any audience member,” according to singer Anna Volpe.

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