Sydney singer-songwriter Brett Every’s never been shy about wearing his oh-so-queer influences on his sleeve.
His previous two albums, 2008’s Camping Out and 2009’s Fairy Godmother’s Gone To Vegas, included covers of torch songs by Cyndi Lauper and Bette Midler respectively.
But the gravel-voiced singer goes a step further next week with Homage: A Gay Tribute, a free concert at the Oxford Hotel’s Supper Club. Every and band will be joined on stage by a diverse line-up of talent, including Jeremy Brennan, Girl Most Likely and Lady Sings It Better, with all paying tribute to the gay musical pioneers who’ve inspired them.
“I knew a tribute show would be great for the Mardi Gras festival, but I was agonising over trying to decide which queer artist to pay tribute to,” Every explained to the Star Observer.
“I just couldn’t narrow it down, so I decided to throw it wide open and invite a whole bunch of guest artists and ask them each to choose to pay tribute to whoever they wanted — the only criterion being that the original singer or songwriter had to be at least halfway out of the closet.
“Plus, I won’t lie to you — the pun of homage and homo was 99 percent of the catalyst.”
Each artist on the bill will perform two or three songs, with tasteful song choices rubbing shoulders with some unlikely candidates — one particularly brave act will tip their hats to the Village People.
“The sheer breadth of possible candidates is crazy — there are the usual suspects like kd lang, Elton John, Rufus Wainwright and Melissa Etheridge, but also some more novel choices like the Village People, the Scissor Sisters, and Dusty Springfield,” Every said.
“We have a rich history to celebrate.”
He promised his own song choices for the night would reflect his female-centric musical tastes.
“The lesbian force is strong in me. I basically learned guitar by working out how to play Indigo Girls songs. They taught me everything I know. Melissa Etheridge, Ani DiFranco, kd, the list goes on…”
There had been some discussion about whether being a gay icon (without actually being gay) was enough to get an artist’s songs included (“perhaps by the end of the night, we can sneak a couple of the question marks in”).
Semantics aside, the evening will have a relaxed feel, with Every encouraging his fellow artists to get involved in each another’s performances.
“I’m a big believer in duets and threesomes and general all-in hoedowns, so I am looking forward to a whole lot of collaborations. We’ve got a great mix of artists being covered, but also a great mix of local artists doing the covering.
“So it’s really going to be a lovely night — boy songs by girls, girl songs by boys, girl songs by girls, all kinds of permutations. A real mixed bag.”
info: Homage: A Gay Tribute, Supper Club, 8pm Monday February 21. Free entry. Every’s new album Menu out now on iTunes. Visit www.brettevery.com