Willie Nelson & Orville Peck just sang a very gay country duet together

Orville Peck and Willie Nelson in the video for "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other."
Orville Peck and Willie Nelson in the video for "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other." Photo: Screenshot

Out country star Orville Peck and legendary performer Willie Nelson have teamed up on a queer country song that the 90-year-old icon thinks is “more important than ever.”

On Friday, the duo released the video for their collaboration on a new cover of Ned Sublette’s 1981 song “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other.” The song’s lyrics poke fun at both gender stereotypes and stereotypes about cowboys.

Nelson previously covered the song in 2006, releasing his version on Valentine’s Day to celebrate the eight Academy Award nominations received by Brokeback Mountain, a dramatic film about two closeted cowboys falling in love during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.

“I thought it was the funniest goddamn song I’d ever heard,” Nelson told Time magazine in 2006, explaining that he’d been given a cassette featuring Sublette’s recording of the song in the 1980s. “I had it on the bus for 20 years, and people would come in and I’d play it. When Brokeback Mountain come out, it just seemed like a good time to kick it out of the closet.”

Peck recently told Rolling Stone that it was Nelson’s idea for them to rerecord the song together.

“Just getting to be around Willie is so special,” Peck said. “You’d think he would make you starstruck because he is such a legend, but he just emanates joy.”

“As an artist who has sometimes felt excluded from the country music industry, once Willie Nelson wants to work with you, there’s really nothing the country world can say after that,” he added.

“Willie kept talking about how the subject matter in this song was more important than ever. He wanted it to have a new life with the two of us,” Peck told Rolling Stone. “With all the rhetoric surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community these days, it is so encouraging to have real allies like Willie that aren’t afraid to stand proudly next to us.”

“Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other” is the first single from Peck’s upcoming third album, Stampede, his first with Warner Records. Earlier this week, the masked singer announced the album in an Instagram post, revealing that it would feature duets with “a couple of my good friends.”

Stampede will also be Peck’s first album since abruptly postponing the remaining dates on his 2023 Bronco tour last June to focus on his own mental and physical health.

“I took a break from last year to focus on myself and even though it was a difficult decision at the time, I’m so happy I did,” he told Rolling Stone this week. “I feel healthier and happier than I’ve ever felt in my life and I cannot wait to get back on the road.”

Peck, who recently ditched the fringe on his signature mask revealing more of his face than ever before, also announced a 43-date tour for his new album. The tour will kick off in Asheville, North Carolina, on May 28.

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