Willie Nelson’s gay cowboy song has people seeing the 90-year-old country crooner in a whole new way

Willie Nelson’s gay cowboy song has people seeing the 90-year-old country crooner in a whole new way

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Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson (Photo: Shutterstock)

Who would have predicted that 90-year-old Willie Nelson would be enjoying a pop culture moment in 2024? Within the space of one week, Nelson has contributed to Beyoncé’s record-breaking Cowboy Carter album and released a duet with gay country singer Orville Peck.

Not bad for an artist approaching his 91st birthday at the end of the month!

Nelson and Peck’s collaboration marks the first release from Peck’s forthcoming duets album. Their track is a cover of Ned Sublette’s 1981 song “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond Of Each Other.” This is actually not the first time Nelson has covered it. He recorded a version in 2006 after the movie Brokeback Mountain thrust the concept of gay cowboys into the mainstream.

In the new video, we see a little more of Peck than we’ve seen before. He’s ditched the fringed mask but retains a mask over his eyes. There are also plenty of same-sex couples, should anyone be in any doubt about the meaning of the song.

Peck has a cult following amongst fans of country music, but Nelson’s involvement on this track has ensured it’s reached a whole new audience. Online, many have been delighted by the veteran singer’s support. We suspect many were unaware he had covered the song before.

“My late mother, who loved Willie almost as much as she loved me, her gay son, would have loved this. Bravo,” was one well-liked comment on YouTube.

Another said, “I’m dedicating this song to my brother Daniel Pitts, who was tortured while dying of AIDS in 1994 in Florida. Tonight, I’m alone as I prefer. I will hold his hand while we dance because I know he is on the other side and has been my guardian angel.”

Another man said, “This means so much to me as a queer cowboy out in AZ. I’ve had the honor of seeing Willie live with my husband, now to see Orville!”

“As a little gay boy that grew up in South Carolina in the 70’s and 80’s, this is so healing,” said another. “And to have a legend like Willie on this song, is nothing short of iconic. My inner child thanks you.”

“This made me cry at 5:30 AM”

The comments on YouTube were overwhelmingly positive. Many said the video moved them to tears.

“Southern gay trans man here. I’ve never been the biggest fan of country unless is older stuff that my dad likes, but this made me cry at 5:30 AM. This is something I never thought I’d need but I’m glad it’s here now.”

And it wasn’t just gay lovers of country warming to the track.

“Wow. I’m as straight as they come but this is incredible,” said one commentator. “Makes me so happy when older legends like Willie show their humanity like this.”

The track has also found fans on X.

Here’s hoping the track gives them both a commercial hit and introduces Peck to new audiences. We already can’t wait to see who else will feature on Stampede, his album of duets.


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