Premiere: Shawna Virago Shares New Video for “The Barman’s Daughter” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, June 25th, 2024  

Premiere: Shawna Virago Shares New Video for “The Barman’s Daughter”

New Album Blood in Her Dreams Coming May 31st

May 21, 2024 Photography by Lindsay Gauthier Bookmark and Share


Indie singer/songwriter Shawna Virago has been a longtime fixture in the Americana, folk, and punk worlds, drawing on the genres’ storied histories as outsider music. She got her start in the ‘90s as one of the first nationally touring transgender women and has released two full-length albums, 2009’s Objectified and 2016’s Heaven Sent Delinquent. Most recently, she returned this year with a series of new singles teasing her forthcoming album, Blood In Her Dreams.

The album is out on May 31st, and ahead of the release, Virago is sharing a video for one of her latest singles, “The Barman’s Daughter,” premiering with Under the Radar.

“The Barman’s Daughter” sees Virago leaning into vintage rock songwriting spiked with a jagged punk soul undercurrent. Her vocals take on a blown-out garage rock style and she dresses the track’s latter half with a blaring guitar solo, yet the track’s rhythms feel pulled from the depths of ‘50s rock and roll and rockabilly. Meanwhile, her lyrics trace a portrait of the titular barman’s daughter, celebrating the character’s rougher edges as she spends her life working to keep the family business afloat: “Last Night Last Night / I worked late behind the bar on Geary Street / Fighting and dancing spent in equal measure / It’s the life of the Barman’s Daughter / I always knew the power of work / He never did a good turn in the place / I swear he hated me out of the gate / Can I help I take after my mother’s face.”

Virago explains of the track,

“‘The Barman’s Daughter’ is, a character study about a young woman keeping the family business alive, despite having an aging juvenile delinquent as a father. She’s tough as nails, and I went heavy on the overdrive to convey that. It started out as a much more bakersfield-style country song, but in the studio, I felt like channeling Billy Zoom, so it’s more punkabilly than originally envisioned.

The video was trying to capture the feeling of being followed by something, something not necessarily tangible. It features two talented San Francisco Drag Queens, Churro Nomi and Mira. They both look fantastic in the video! The song and the video are made from a trans perspective, but I think there’s a lot of common ground there for anyone to relate to.

Blood in Her Dreams feels like a nighttime record. Maybe because it was recorded in the wee hours in San Francisco’s Mission District. I think the songs are relatable. The themes are communicated, centering on people with an ache to belong in a hostile world. These are people who haven’t learned how to dream, but they know how to work the attitude. The album has laments, folk punk, cowpunk, alt-Americana, and rock n’ roll, and also doesn’t forget the humor.

When you write songs, you hope they sound like they fell from the sky, whether they’re quiet in nature or convey a blast of unhinged adrenaline. I wanted the songs to sound sweet, but also angry when necessary, and in both cases, I was aided by the amazing Lien Do on drums and Grace Coleman in the booth.”

Check out the song and video below. Blood In Her Dreams is due out on May 31st.



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