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Shelby Lynne, Ms. Led, Missy Higgins and More Extra Chick Music
Written by: Catherine Plato and Diane Anderson-Minshall
Photographer: Courtesy Broadzilla

We could have crammed our special music issue with 200 women and still not have enough room to fit in everyone we love. But we’d be remiss if we forgot to mention these staff faves.

Shelby Lynne

Is it just us, or does Lynne look a lot like Alex from The O.C.? Our gaydar is piqued, and we can’t stop listening to Lynne’s latest CD, Suit Yourself, a follow-up to 2003’s Identity Crisis. “I’ve learned a lot in six years,” she says, “and the main thing I’ve learned is not to second-guess myself.” A longtime Johnny Cash fan (one polemic on the CD is “Johnny Met June,” written the day Cash died), Lynne will appear alongside Reese Witherspoon in the Cash biopic Walk the Line. Did we mention Lynne plays guitar on every track on her CD? “They let me in,” she says of her boy bandmate. “You can be a girl singer, but I really felt like one of the boys, which is where I’m most comfortable.” Amen.

Ms. Led

Released on Election Day 2004, Ms. Led’s latest album delivers feminism and empowerment packaged in punk. These Things We Say is the Seattle-based quartet’s fourth release. In addition to playing addictive, anthemic tunes with socially aware lyrics, Ms. Led has also actively supported nonprofits such as the Northwest Coalition for Human Dignity. Fearless and outspoken, Ms. Led offers hope in a grim political climate. As lesbian frontwoman Lesli Wood puts it, “The most important point is that even after this election, the fight’s not over.”

Missy Higgins

Higgins has been Australia’s best-kept secret for way too long. After winning a national demo competition while still in high school, Higgins skipped the surefire road to fame and instead spent a year perfecting her songwriting. Years of jazz training shine through the polished, soulful pop vocals on her debut CD, The Sound of White. Her single “Scar” hit No. 1 on the Australian singles charts and landed her an ARIA Award (that’s an Aussie Grammy). With her knack for lyrics and those big brown eyes, it’s only a matter of time before she mesmerizes the States as well (our publisher is already her biggest U.S. fan).

Deita Klaus

The self-professed Goth Queen of the Galaxy (and yes, she’s a lesbian!) has finally risen from the L.A. Gothic underworld with her latest release, Order of the Golden Dawn. With tracks like “Bloody Kisses,” “Vampire” and “Gothic Gospel,” the album could admittedly have a selective appeal. But Klaus’ pure talent propels lyrics so erotic and enticing, she’ll be sure to hook a couple Abercrombie-clad fans along the way. Plus: We know she’s got scads of dyke fans already — they bombarded the CURVE office with love letters to Deita even before we knew who she was.

Isle of Klezbos

This soulful, all-lesbian klezmer sextet (get it? Klezbos?) has been weaving tradition and innovation since 1998. The band members all draw noticeable influence from their diverse musical backgrounds, including jazz, zydeco, ska and Celtic, creating a coherent and uniquely Yiddish sound in a predominantly male-dominated field. Their new album, Greetings From the Isle of Klezbos, delivers fresh, soulful renditions of klezmer dance, modal trance grooves, retooled vintage Yiddish swing and tango, and inspired originals. Already staples of the New York Jewish music scene, they’re gaining more recognition from the queer community with their recent appearance at Michigan.


This 25-year-old poet/singer-songwriter once told a message board of fellow musicians that she’d just die if CURVE reviewed her CD. Well, call the paramedics, because Ethereal’s new CD Mythillogical — with fablelike songs about imprisoned deities and warring goddesses — has been on constant rotation in our editor’s CD player. That’s because the post-New Agey songs (especially those about sexual freedom) are mesmerizing and seductive.

Steff Mahan

With a voice that’s pure and powerful and lyrics that are heart-crafted and rock-solid, it’s hard not to get hooked on this alt-country songstress. After a year-long U.S. tour to promote her self-titled debut album, her sophomore release, 42.50, is a compelling collection of people, places and stories from life on the road. When Q Television decided they wanted to air a series on the lesbian crooner’s concerts, it’s no wonder they were willing to go the distance: all the way to Nashville for her sold-out shows (one has already aired; the next is up this fall).

Wishing Chair

Engaging performances and haunting harmonies have already made the lesbian folk root duo Wishing Chair a hit at folk festivals across the country. We know: Last year, when we failed to mention them, we received many a complaint from readers. Kiya Heartwood joined forces with the multitalented Miriam Davidson 10 years ago, and they have released six CDs since, including their collaboration with trad-grass instrumentalist Kara Barnard, Dishpan Brigade. Poetic, political lyrics, stellar vocals and an eclectic variety of instruments make this an essential addition to your contemporary folk collection.

Shonen Knife

When Shonen Knife made their way to the United States in the ’80s, word of mouth and celebrity fans like Nirvana and Sonic Youth made them stars. Almost two decades later, this Japanese pop band is still kicking it and Oglio Records has re-released their first four albums to help fans like us remember that raw sugar buzz we got the first time we heard the band.

Emma’s Revolution

A musical uprising of truth and hope, one x 1,000,000 = change is the powerful and promising debut by Emma’s Revolution. You may know Humphries as the author of folk anthem “Swimming to the Other Side,” which rose to fame thanks to national exposure on NPR. After she joined forces with folkster Sandy O, the duo went on to play at venues around the world, including a performance of their song “We Are One” in a South Korean demilitarized zone. Their earlier CD Hands was the No. 1 best seller on Amazon.com for three days after “If I Give Your Name” took top honors at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Better yet: They’re sans clothing in Jayne Toohey’s Naked Folk calendar (along with fellow lesbian folkie Janis Ian).


Hell hath no fury like three chicks torn between the trailer park and punk delirium. From the streets of Motor City come the high-octane vixen rockers Broadzilla, whose second album, Lady Luck, sold out its first and second pressing, following up their first release (Broadzilla vs. The Tramp-o-Lean), which also sold out in record time. Why? These girls rip — and they aggressively confront tired old sex stereotypes while doing so.

Natasha Bedingfield

This Brit has fans on four continents (and gold status in Singapore and South Africa), and her North America debut album, Unwritten, proves why. In the tradition of U.K. female singer-songwriters like Annie Lennox and Dido, Bedingfield promises never to make what she calls “empty music. I’m not interested in lines that go, ‘blah blah blah.’” And it shows, with songs like “Silent Movie” (about a communication breakdown) and “We’re All Mad” (about how people are often judged instead of accepted).

Someone’s Sister

Georgia Winfree and Katherine Jones, the singer-songwriters who make up Someone’s Sister, draw many comparisons (like k.d. lang and Patsy Cline) but trust us: These wailing chicks proved on their recent debut, Hand Me Downs, that they’re in a class of their own.

Antigone Rising

Finally, a reason to go into chain coffee outlets: Antigone Rising’s From the Ground Up is the debut CD in a series of first recordings from emerging artists that Hear Music and Starbucks want you to hear. Don’t let the coffeehouse distribution fool you — the five chicks of Antigone Rising are pure rock. With powerhouse lead singer Cassidy (who joined Aerosmith on “Walk This Way”), Antigone offers up a cross between Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Dixie Chicks with plenty for Joan Jett fans as well.

Anna Egge

The fourth CD from this mesmerizing singer, Out Past the Lights, is a haunting and effortless breakthrough and even more compelling because proceeds go to the ParkinSong Foundation, a New Jersey group dedicated to fight Parkinson's disease.

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