Shawna Virago never had it easy, as she declared herself as a trans artist as far back as the early 1990s. At the same time, she was also one of the first anti-folk and punk artists that were more singer-songwriters, who, if you really want to neatly classify her, belong mostly to the alt-country genre if anything else. And that is alt-country that relies more on the lyrics than the music itself.
At the same time, Virago is the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival. Virago is also a filmmaker, and a published writer, in most cases, covering transgender themes.
Her latest single “High Road No. 6” doesn’t steer away from her main theme, nor does it make any compromises, musically or lyrically.
Driving at noontide Cigarette trees on either side Turning off the lane at the old salt flats Out past where the dust devils dance To cast my line into the river of chance On the High Road…
The song was written during this record-breaking year for legislative attacks against transgender people, Virago says, “I’d been a little depressed from the non-stop level of hate aimed at trans people, and needed to write something that gave me some hope and comfort. I needed something to supercharge my resilience. ‘High Road No. 6’ is that song, about escaping the entrapments and negative forces wanting to take you down. It’s a visual and cinematic song, plus you can shine up your boots and break out some of the line dancing.”