Is it considered payola if the Paisley Fields' lead singer, James Wilson, gave me a lift to Riis Park? Sometimes you hang out after shows at Queer Country Monthly, and sometimes somebody and his band shows up even though they're not playing, and then you start talking about music and the summer. Then he mentions he has a car and you mention you can use your dad's childhood home as a free parking spot. Next thing you know, you're staring slack-jawed at topless lesbians making out in the surf (really.)
Even if James didn't have an album coming out, I could say that he's objectively a great driver and looks cute in a bathing suit (but sorry, boys, he's taken.) But the Paisley Fields do have a new EP and even if I hadn't seen most 15-year-olds' fantasies come to life, I'd say that Oh These Urban Fences is amazing.
On the drive back to the city, James told me that Oh These Urban Fences would have a totally different sound and that he was really proud of the band's work. While the Paisley Fields' first EP, Dixie Queen, was pop with hints of country, Oh These Urban Fences (a reference to Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In") fully embraces cowboy boots and Stetsons. "My Best Years" is a torch song for the best of them, and "Brooklyn Rodeo" is a swinging two-step with a gentle nudge against New York's frenetic culture. James embraced his Midwestern roots for these songs, and the songs shine with those complicated emotions: nostalgia, happiness, heartbreak, isolation. Oh These Urban Fences is a labor of love that demands your attention.
If you're in Gomorrah (ie Brooklyn), you can join the Paisley Fields at queer country ground zero (Branded Saloon) on Thursday, October 1 for a listening/release party. Everyone else can wait til Friday, the 2nd, to get their paws on this important collection of music. And if you'd like more reading material, James writes an intelligent blog about being a queer musician in the big city.
The Paisley Fields -- Official, Facebook, Purchase
The Paisley Fields --