Voices Carry

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com November 19 2008 12:00 AM ET

New york–based singer-songwriter Stewart Lewis is hoping “there are more Rufus Wainwrights in the world.” The folk artist is frustrated with the notion that “gay music” is solely the stuff of DJs and pop stars. “A lot of out musicians have a more poignant message to get across than a house beat,” he says.

Lewis, who has been signed to here! Tunes (owned by Regent Media, the parent company of The Advocate), creates music more suited to the coffeehouse than the club; he’s opened for Ani DiFranco and cites Imogen Heap and Counting Crows as influences. And throughout December he’ll appear along with fellow gay troubadours Jake Walden and Tom Goss in the Rock the Folk Out tour.

The tour, which touches down in seven East Coast cities, aims to attract audiences who can enjoy a love song from a man, about a man. But for all the singers involved, pigeonholing is a worry.

“I’m very conflicted about [being part of a gay tour],” Lewis says. “In one way, we want to utilize the gay market, but in another sense, we feel our music is not ‘gay,’ it just happens to be that we are.”

Either way, Lewis hopes the tour will show the diversity of gay male artists. “There are so many facets of gay culture that are so cool -- fashion, architecture, design -- but when you go to gay clubs it’s the same tired music,” he says. The association between gay men and dance music “is the one thing about gay culture I don’t understand, and it’s a stereotype we’re trying to eradicate.”

Tour ScheduleDec 4 2008 8:00 pmP.A.C.E. W/ REED FOEHL Easthampton, Massachusetts

Dec 9 2008 9:00 pmROCK THE FOLK OUT TOUR w/ Jake Walden and Tom Goss @ All Asia cambridge, Massachusetts

Dec 10 2008 9:00 pmROCK THE FOLK OUT TOUR w/ Jake Walden and Tom Goss@ Zipper Theatre nyc, New York

Dec 11 2008 8:00 pmROCK THE FOLK OUT TOUR w/ Jake Walden and Tom Goss @ Tin Angel Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dec 12 2008 8:00 pmROCK THE FOLK OUT TOUR w/ Jake Walden and Tom Goss @ Hershee Bar Norfolk, Virginia

Dec 13 2008 8:00 pmROCK THE FOLK OUT TOUR w/ Jake Walden and Tom Goss @ Read Street Books Baltimore, Maryland

Dec 14 2008 8:00 pmROCK THE FOLK OUT TOUR @ Common Groundz Coffee House richmond, Virginia

Dec 15 2008 8:00 pmROCK THE FOLK OUT TOUR w/ Jake Walden and Tom Goss @ Iota Arlington, Virginia

Dec 17 2008 8:00 pmROCK THE FOLK OUT TOUR w/ Jake Walden and Tom Goss @ Howler’s Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA