North Carolina songwriter returns to Rumba on heels of new Led Zeppelin cover

When she led Mount Moriah, H.C. McEntire played around with the country sounds that informed much of her North Carolina upbringing, but she never fully gave herself over to country until her 2018 solo debut, Lionheart. “I think I tempered that Southern-ness because I hadn't found a way to reconnect with it or make it mine. I was having this internal conflict with how to exist and how to create this music, but also wanting to challenge it,” she told Alive before her Rumba show last year.

At the urging of Kathleen Hanna (of recently reunited riot grrrl act Bikini Kill), McEntire embraced her Southern self while also upending country conventions in several ways, especially by writing and singing from a queer woman's perspective.

Recently, McEntire released a gentle, lilting, Southern-fried cover of Led Zeppelin's “Houses of the Holy” for Oxford American's North Carolina music issue, along with an accompanying lyric essay. The song — her first bit of music released since Lionheart — “has a mysterious power,” McEntire wrote, and the same can be said of her own songs. (Don't miss it)