By Mark St Andrew
There’s a scene out there, where the men are real men. Proper big, outdoorsy types, with handsome rugged faces and hands the size of doors. In this scene, there’s a lot of leather and buckles, tight jeans and plaid shirts. No, this isn’t XXL (other bear clubs are available) – this my friends, is country and western music. Yee-haw!
Now this quintessentially American music genre has got a little bit gayer. Yep, that’s right. A new cowboy has ridden into town on a wagon full of hair product, wearing an A&F top and his name is Steve Grand.
This has, naturally, attracted some media attention – mainly because of Grand’s latest song, ‘All American Boy.’ In the song, which comes with a video that looks like a DVD extra off Dawson’s Creek, Grand has got the hots for a fit straight lad, which we know because there’s (lots of) lyrics about chests and well-fitting t-shirts. Grand, the straight guy and his girlfriend go on a road trip, where Grand moons creepily over the object of his affection. The girlfriend gets pissed off with this (rightly so in my opinion) and drives off into the sunset leaving Grand and his All American Boy to go skinny dipping. Grand goes in for a snog, and after a big… dramatic… pause… gets rebuffed. But it’s okay because they stay friends.
If you’ve heard about this track and you were expecting some horny cowboy action, don’t bother. Go and watch a Falcon movie instead. I bet they even have a series called ‘All American Boys.’
Now I’ve got some issues with this. Much has been made of Steve Grand’s upbringing, where his parents made him attend some kind of gay-repair therapy. It didn’t work, obviously, and the lad deserves some credit for coming through it seemingly unscathed. But there’s something perverse about the way that he’s tapped into a music genre not known for it’s inclusivity, and then written a song about every conservative American homophobic’s nightmare – the predatory homosexual that’ll try and cop a feel when you least expect it!
The song has been fairly popular on YouTube, racking up more than 1,500,000 views in about a month, although I wonder how many of those were clicked by die-hard country fans and patriots seeing a song title like ‘All American Boy,’ being surprised by what they saw?
Still, like it or not it looks like Steve Grand is going to be the new Gay Icon du jour for the next 10 minutes in America, joining Adam Lambert on the small pantheon of acceptable gay pop stars. His chiselled features, ripped physique and (slightly oversized) arms will look very nice on the front cover of The Advocate.
I realise this might sound a bit negative, and I don’t mean to be. But I am going to get a bit British and superior about this. I’m not an old fart, but I lived through the days when the identity of ‘the gay one’ in a boyband was front page news on the Sunday tabloids. Nowadays we expect our boybands to have at least one bisexual. It’s a lot less of an issue. You’re gay and you work in pop music? Big whoop.
I just hope that Steve Grand isn’t going to try and make a career out of being the gay country and western singer, forever appearing on The View, telling Whoopi Goldberg that he doesn’t want to be defined by his sexuality, all the while singing about ripped, sun-kissed straight boys. Props to him for breaking a few boundaries, but did he really have to milk every gay cliche to do it?