Storytelling and seasoned musicianship are front and center on the eponymous debut EP from Virginia native Karman Kregloe. A longtime veteran of LGBTQ+ media, Kregloe explores her roots on the EP that includes "Deadwood Days," a murder ballad set in her hometown of Blacksburg, and "Climbing the Vine," about a female military vet who overcame PTSD through the use of Ayahuasca. Other, more autobiographical songs on the collection that is not always explicitly queer but shaped by Kregloe's identity as a queer person include "Hummingbird" and "Fire in the Walls."
"My first single, 'Hummingbird,' was originally used as a theme song for the lesbian romantic drama series Maybelle, written by and starring my wife, Bridget McManus," Kregloe tells The Advocate in a statement. "The series was a hit and I was lucky enough to be nominated for an IAWTV Award for Best Original Song. So my initial outing as a performer and songwriter was for an LGBTQ+ project and I think that's a great lesson for someone like me."
With musical influences that include Tom Petty, Gillian Welch, and Neil Young, Kregloe's country-rock sound and style are also influenced by her experiences as an out musician.
"As a kid and aspiring performer, I was listening to mostly straight artists who were conventional in their gender presentation. On an unconscious level, that's who I thought was 'allowed' to be a performer," she says.
"I grew up thinking that my perspective, my appearance, my queerness made me too 'other' to be relatable. It took time for me to feel free enough to express myself. But once I did, I understood that my queer identity is infused in all of my art and is one of the things that makes me unique," she adds. "I wouldn't trade it for anything."
The EP was "co-produced and recorded by film and television producer Carla Patullo (Spa Night, Lotte the Silhouette Girl) in her LA studio, and includes 'greasy' guitar leads by Eric Edmond Vasquez, atmospheric banjo, mandolin, and lap steel accents by Doug Conlon, and powerful piano and organ riffs by Kathryn Lounsbery. Nashville session drummer Tony Morra brings more than just his considerable drum kit to the party, adding expressive percussion (bongos, shakers, cowbell) to fill out the sound," according to a release.
Listen to "Hummingbird" below. And catch Kregloe's self-titled EP on Spotify or Bandcamp.