About The Paisley Fields
The Paisley Fields are a Brooklyn based queer country band, unapologetic about pushing boundaries and seeking inspiration in the unexpected. Though lead singer James Wilson is inspired by country musicians like Dolly Parton and Gram Parsons, he wanted The Paisley Fields lyrics to reflect a modern world. Pittsburgh City Paper writes, "While The Paisley Fields have a good bit in common with contemporary country — rich production, songs with pop bones and twangy accents — the band probably won't be touring with Toby Keith anytime soon. They're a refreshing change from country radio." The band tours frequently, and their latest album, Oh These Urban Fences, is described by No Depression as "a labor of love that demands your attention.” The Paisley Fields are James Wilson on keyboard and lead vocals, Anna Volpe on tambourine and vocals, James Steiner on drums and mandolin, Rob Fernandez on bass and Alex Feigin on drums and guitar. Renowned Brooklyn country artist Aron Blue will be joining The Paisley Fields for the first leg of their Paisley Pride tour this summer.
The Paisley Press
Alt-country band The Paisley Fields just released the music video for their latest single, “Butterflies,” and it’s taking us on an animated journey with two gay lovers.
After wrapping up a tour of Pride festivals this summer, the band is now hitting the road to play songs off of their new EP, Oh These Urban Fences, which includes the new track.
The Paisley Fields singer/songwriter James Wilson left Iowa for New York in 2004. His music style and interest has returned to the Hawkeye State by way of Japan, he says.
Paisley Fields, a self-described queer country band based in Brooklyn performs Saturday afternoon at the fifth-annual Cedar Valley Pride Fest. The event brings Wilson close to his hometown of Hudson. However, the appreciation for the music he grew up with that brings him here came when to him when he briefly lived halfway across the world in rural Japan.
Early on June 12, a man armed with semiautomatic weapons killed 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. As a queer alt-country band, The Paisley Fields, based in New York City’s Brooklyn borough, wants to show solidarity with those affected by the massacre. Like many others around the country, lead singer and award-winning songwriter James Wilson felt compelled to help out in any way he could.
The Paisley Fields, a queer country band hailing from New York City, is touring pride festivals this summer, with a stop at the Nashville Pride festival main stage at 11am later this month. In addition they are coming to Two Old Hippies in Nashville at 2pm on Friday June 24th, and Mad Donna’s at 8:30pm on Sunday June 26th. This summer marks the very first Paisley Pride Tour.
-Out & About Nashville (6.11.16)
Interview: Unapologetic Queer Country - One on One with James Wilson of The Paisley Fields
-Pop Hates Flops (6.9.16)
After five years of trailblazing queer country music, New York City’s Gay Ole Opry is hitting the road for the first time.
Opry regulars The Paisley Fields and Karen & the Sorrows are heading south for a weeklong tour, coming to Asheville on April 25. The show is at The Crow & Quill at 106 N. Lexington Ave., and it starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are for sale at the door, on a sliding scale of $5-10.
-Citizen Times (4.21.16)
"This 'Brooklyn Rodeo' features a gay romance, drag queens and a queer country back. WATCH"
"The Paisley Fields are two-stepping it up with their video for "Brooklyn Rodeo." It features lead singer James Wilson in a dashing suit, Anna Volpe in a dashing cut-off, and the rest of the band in dashing plaid, and some dashing cameos from this blog's favorite queer country bands."
-Adobe and Teardrops (4.6.16)
"The Paisley Fields forge their own path in 'queer country' genre"
-Entertainment Lancaster (2.21.2016)
"First off, The Paisley Fields are a three-piece that included piano, a little light percussion, banjo on some songs, and guitar on others; all pulled together with some extraordinary harmony by James Wilson and Anna Volpe. These folks may be young and Midwestern, but they were heavily influenced by classic country and it shows. The songs were beautiful and the lyrics were touching and timely (with marriage equality currently being so celebrated). They sang a song called “Windows Fogged Up in Your Pick-Up Truck” which, Wilson said, he wrote about his husband. It was a really sweet and lovely song which Wilson said they had to gauge the audience before playing (due to its content). He relented with “we’re all friends here, right?” and happily played on to the joy of all of us. Oh! And they also sang a transcendent cover of “Under the Bridge" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, which did my 40 year-old heart all kinds of good."
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 Fencesis a labor of love that demands your attention.
The Paisley Fields is a country band that could easily be heard on commercial radio, but what differentiates the Brooklyn act from the mainstream is its open approach to same-sex relationships. Frontman James Wilson grew up in Iowa and draws from influences such as Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks to write songs that reflect the modern world through his experiences as a gay man. The unique perspective that Wilson and PF members bring to the genre has led to 100,000 views on YouTube, a debut at No. 17 on the iTunes Charts and a sponsorship from Brooklyn Arts Council to record an album.
For the most part, the artists and groups who play the Gay Ole Opry in Brooklyn don't have commercial radio ambitions. And they acknowledge that the stakes aren't as high for gay artists in New York as they might be elsewhere in the US. But they sure as hell was to queer up country.
Fans and artists alike seem to love The Nest both for its sound quality and the intimacy with the crowd. "This feels like being in a living room," said James Wilson, of The Paisley Fields, while he was on stage.
Wilson was also enamored with the baby grand piano on the stage and was thrilled he could take a night off from playing on his electric keyboards.
The Paisley Fields are taking their boundary-defying, Brooklyn brand of alt-country on the road in support of their new five song EP, Oh These Urban Fences... Along with their award-winning original music, The Paisley Fields will play some classic country covers at their live shows.
But seeking inspiration in the unexpected seems be working. The band’s videos have over a 100,000 views on YouTube.
Oh These Urban Fences…features Paisley singer Anna Volpe with Andrew Gialanella on guitar, Alex Feigin on guitar and drums, James Steiner on mandolin, as well as a mini-orchestra of cello, banjo, bass, slide, lap steel and organ.
Pre-sale for Oh These Urban Fences… begins officially on October 2nd. It will be available through thepaisleyfields.com, as well as iTunes and all major digital retailers.
Like a Paisley Cowboy: Queer country band kicks off music festival.
A country band with songs about romance between urban cowboys kicks off the 10th annual Brooklyn Country Music Festival on Aug. 20. The Paisley Fields, a five-piece country outfit with an openly gay frontman, will perform on the opening night of the four-day festival at the Bell House.
Wilson, who writes songs about tortured love affairs with other men, says that the country genre lends itself to storytellers from all walks of life.
“I think country music is just about stories,” said Wilson. “And there are so many stories in New York and peoples’ lives intertwine so often.”
Battles says he has watched the Brooklyn country scene bloom since he put down roots in Park Slope in 1995. The proliferation of Texas-style barbeque joints and country-western bars has helped the scene grow, putting country music on urban stages across the borough. The growth of Brooklyn country music, says Battles, also led to unconventional twists on the genre, with pioneers like Wilson taking the reigns of a historically macho culture and injecting some Brooklyn chutzpah.
"The Paisley Fields are taking their boundary-pushing brand of country music on the road, and will be riding into Brattleboro on Thursday, July 16, at 7:30 p.m. at The Root Social Justice Center on Williams Street. Opening are local folk acts badweatherfriend and Bella.
Along with their award-winning original music, The Paisley Fields will add some classic country covers to their raucous live shows."
"The Paisley Fields are a self-described "queer country band". This song is a great song about lost love."
“While The Paisley Fields have a good bit in common with contemporary country — rich production, songs with pop bones and twangy accents — the band probably won't be touring with Toby Keith anytime soon. Songwriter and lead singer James Wilson doesn't dance lyrically around the fact that his songs are about relationships with other men; they're sometimes tender, sometimes virulent, but unmistakably gay, a refreshing change from country radio.” -Pittsburgh City Paper
“The Paisley Fields play it very straight (so to speak), musically speaking. Most of what they do wouldn't sound out of place on commercial country radio, and with two opera-trained singers and the absurdly prolific pen of songwriter James Wilson, they can belt out the heartbreak with the best of 'em. Still, it's pretty rare to see a country band whose lyrics and videos are this up-front about same-sex love affairs.” -Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“The track starts with simple piano and James’ plain vocals, but quickly evolves into a wall of sound, guitars, drums, piano and harmonies crashing into each other for a passionate power ballad. Set in the aftermath of a relationship, it finds a jilted lover rejecting the attempts to be friends by the other, who is now in a relationship with someone else. ‘Now you wanna be friends, but I’m not gonna wish you well, I wanna be the guy you kiss goodnight,’ the narrator cries, and we really feel the emotion in the song.” –For The Country Record
"We are at once country, bohemian, and post-modern musicians,” James states. “We are inspired by current artists, but are also deeply inspired by the music we grew up with in the Midwest, as well as musicians from the 50s and 60s." –Brooklyn Vegan
“‘She’s No Angel’ debuted at #17 on the iTunes charts for country releases. The video features the Grand River Singers, an adult show choir from La Crosse, WI that stars inVH1’s reality show Off Pitch. The Paisley Fields’ videos have more than 100,000 views on YouTube. The band was also named the #1 country band in NYC by ReverbNation.” –La Crosse Tribune
“Oh snap, we’ve all been there. Heartbreak never looked so sexy. Watch lovers collide in The Paisley Fields’ new video, ‘Not Gonna Be Friends.’ This ain’t your daddy’s country music.” -Accidental Bear
“Headlights hitting us like two suns, as we crawled out of the water caught in the middle of our love/Laughing, running through the night, your hand caught mine, and we almost floated up above that endless countryside” croons singer/songwriter/pianist James Wilson, on ‘Windows Fogged up in Your Pickup Truck.’
The song is on the debut EP for Brooklyn-based barrelhouse country band, The Paisley Fields. With lyrics like these, it is easy to see why James is a two time ASCAP songwriters’ award winner." -Accidental Bear
“Have you guys seen the new music video by The Paisley Fields? If not, you should check it out! The song itself is catchy and we think the video is well done. Who knew heartbreak could look so sexy?” –DNA Magazine
“Joining the homo-hoedown is Brooklyn-based ‘barrelhouse country band’ The Paisley Fields. ‘Windows Fogged Up in Your Pickup Truck’ is their first music video and it. Is. Adorable.” -Queerty
“Hook-up, shack-up, break-up, and make-up. It's a NYC gay love affair with a happy ending.” -Towelroad
“The Paisley Fields plays a mix of country, blues and jazz. Their sound is Mumford & Sons meets The National with a touch of Patsy Cline's heartbreaking twang.” –Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
“The Paisley Fields have a fascinating background. Like many folk singers in Brooklyn, Jessica Kimple is a classically trained opera vocalist. James Wilson, an award-winning songwriter, adds to the low-end of the vocal range and contributes carefully considered piano melodies. (As weird as this sounds, I hate pianos. Wilson's ability to wield his tastefully earns him many points in my book.) Wilson also spent an extensive amount of time in Japan studying Japanese music.
While The Paisley Fields have a traditional American sound, these songwriters bring a worldliness to our traditions.”
“I see myself as coming full circle with The Paisley Fields,” James says. “We are playing country music inspired by the songs I grew up with, and that really brings me back to my roots.” -Riffraf
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