GAY TRADITIONS: In 2012, Devon Léger of Hearth Music started a series of articles on No Depression called "Gay Traditions." At the encouragement of the first interview subject, esteemed stepdancer Nic Gareiss, the original idea of the series was as a form of activism. Over time, though, the series became more of a learning tool, as it showed how gay artists have long been reshaping traditional music. The point of the series is not to focus solely on an artist's sexual identity, but to show that tradition can be a positive force in helping artists express many aspects of their identity. At this point, Devon's heard from young gay artists who were directly inspired by the series to start writing about their own experience in the neo-traditional music they create.
INTERVIEWS: For the past seven years, Devon Léger has conducted over 70 interviews of folk, roots, world, and traditional artists of all kinds. It's been a long learning curve, as long-form interviews that can relax an artist's guard and bring forth real revelations, have become somewhat outdated in today's music journalism.