retro record: Last News


Before Orville Peck’s latest cover, this swingin’, cowboy-lovin’ ballad had a life of its own

Brokeback Mountain certainly popularized the idea of a closeted cattlehand in the mainstream, one songwriter picked up on the subtext more than 20 years earlier.The man was performer and musicologist Ned Sublette, who left no room for interpretation when he penned “Cowboys Are Secretly, Frequently (Fond of Each Other)” in 1981.Subscribe to our newsletter for your front-row seat to all things entertainment with a sprinkle of everything else queer.A waltzing, mid-tempo country tune begins, “Well, there’s many a strange impulse out on the plains of West Texas / There’s many a young boy who feels things he can’t comprehend.” Later declaring: “No, a small town don’t like it when a cowboy has feelings for men.”Now, queer country crooner Orville Peck is making headlines for his celebratory cover of the track. But its story began many moons ago.Although Sublette identifies as straight, he connected with the solitary feeling of being “different in any way” in a small town.

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