Long before his 2012 public identification as transgender, the Newburyport-born Cidny Bullens (nee Cindy Bullens) built a career as a singer-songwriter that extends back over forty years. Her career kickstarted in 1975, after a chance meeting at a party with Elton John led to her joining his 1975 Rock of the Westies Tour (and an appearance on John’s 1976 album Blue Moves); she also joined up with Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. Additional collaborations followed — Rod Stewart, Gene Clark, Geoff Muldaur, Bonnie Raitt, Al Anderson, T-Bone Burnett — as well as the beginnings of her own small, but well-regarded, discography. Her 1979 debut, Desire Wire, earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance (for the single “Survivor”), and she also earned Grammy nominations for her work on the Grease soundtrack (singing lead on “It’s Raining On Prom Night,” “Mooning,” and “Freddy, My Love”). After taking a break for nearly twenty years to raise a family (and release an eponymous album in 1989), Bullens returned to the spotlight and released several albums including 1999’s Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth, a wrenching song cycle chronicling the loss of a young daughter to cancer, and Neverland, in 2001; she also formed the trio The Refugees (with Wendy Waldman and Deborah Holland). In 2012, Bullens publicly identified as transgender male, and would henceforth be known as Cidny. Bullens debuted his one-person show, “Somewhere Between: Not An Ordinary Life” in 2016, which he continues to perform at venues across the country.
(by Stephen Haag)