The reins of a Queen

The cover of Queenie Mullinix's new CD, One Horse Town, contains an unusual and telling detail: The wrangler hat she's wearing has a chin strap. Many country musicians use cowboy headgear as a stage costume, but Mullinix is the genuine article. That hat has a strap because Mullinix rides.
"All the horses on the CD art are ones I actually owned," she says proudly. "My favorite picture is on the back, showing my two little brothers with my first horse, Ninety-Seven, who was named him after his price. Actually he cost $97.50 at auction, so he had a middle name, too."
Mullinix, whose nickname "Queenie" came from a lyric in David Essex's 1974 hit "Rock On," had dreamed of the cowgirl lifestyle since her early childhood in Brooklyn. "Western series were huge all over TV," she remembers, "but the only real horses I saw were police horses. On every birthday, though, I always wished for a real horse."
After relocating to the more equestrian-friendly environment of South Carolina, she found her wish came true on her 10th birthday. "That gave me my optimistic view of the world," she reveals. "I believe if you focus on what you want, you will get it."
The focus of One Horse Town is Mullinix's beautiful voice, which struts across all 10 songs with the jaunty pride of a Tennessee Walker. But the standout number, "Don't Listen to Your Heart," seems in conflict with its singer's worldview. "No," Mullinix explains, "it's about falling in love too easily. Foreign languages have words that mean different things depending on how they're pronounced, and 'love' is that word in English."
So how do her audiences react to the song? "People love it. Sorry," she corrects, "people rather enjoy it."
Queenie Mullinix plays at Fuzzy's Place, Fri., Jan. 26.