I’ve written about Chely Wright twice before in this space, once for her album review and on her courage for “coming out” and telling the world that she is the first openly gay country music singer. In that article, I wrote about how strong I felt this woman was, about the rebirth that she must be feeling and about how I hoped that her career would take on the focus that it once had when she was a frequent hit maker on the country charts. For Chely Wright, it was a new beginning in so many ways:Musically, professionally and spiritually. Sadly, with some new beginnings that seems so positive, the negative is never far behind.
I read an article published by QMI Agency where Chely Wright has said that since she has come out with her sexuality, her album sales have dropped and, more seriously, death threats have been received. Some long time fans have turned their back on her. All I can think of in this scenario is “what the hell is wrong with some people?”
Is this not 2011? Do people really have that much time on their hands as to be that concerned about the sexuality of an individual as to threaten them with their very life, simply because that persons’ sexual preference doesn’t match their own? For gods sake people … settle down and get a grip. If you’re upset because she broke Brad Paisley’s heart, you can relax from that one too.While I empathize with what happened to the Country Music Association’s reigning Entertainer of the Year , he’s a big boy and has moved on just fine. So too, and rightly so, has Chely Wright.Everybody has moved on from the past, so let’s carry on folks.
If you read the previous article, you would also note that I had hoped that the biggest story coming out of Chely Wright’s honesty would be the music. The album, Lifted Off the Ground, is fantastic.The music has an honesty to it that you will not hear anywhere else. She has essentially written her story in a neat package of song, brought to life by the ever capable and legendary Rodney Crowell.It’s a first rate album that deserves to be heard. It’s too bad that some people can see past their own negative feelings and just let the music tell the story. If you’ve had your heart broken, if you’ve grieved a lost relationship, if you’ve ever found yourself and are proud of the person you have turned out to be, you will appreciate this album. All of the emotions are there in raw form.
To her credit, Chely Wright is once again rising above this challenge. She has become another strong voice to bring change in how a certain element in the world views the gay and lesbian community. I have never met Chely Wright. I have always been a fan of Chely Wright’s music. She arrived on the scene when I was in college. Her music now shows a maturity that comes with living.It’s something that I, for one, can easily understand. We’re fairly close in age, pocketing lots of life experience along the way. Although our lifestyles are different, I found myself relating to Lifted Off the Ground in a way that only life experience can allow. Sexual orientation doesn’t matter when you’re dealing with the emotions dealt with this album. Love and pain, joy and hurt are universal emotions, everybody feels them at some point. For the younger set, it’s a text book on some of life’s lessons. I encourage you to go out and purchase this album. I believe it’s an important album that deserves to be heard. If it can help one person deal with any confusion, any pain or any joy, then this album will have done its job.
As long as this space is up and running, Chely Wright will have a supporter in her corner. What she did mere months ago took an incredible amount of guts and bravery. I said it back then too, as we move forward let’s make this about the music, not an artists sexuality. At the end of the day, it’s really not our business, so turn the music up and let’s get on with life.