Orville Peck has revealed that his collaboration with Willie Nelson, ‘Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other’, was the country music legend’s idea.

Originally written by Latin country musician Ned Sublette in 1981, the satirical, tongue-in-cheek track explores the secret queer history of cowboys.

Known as the “famous gay cowboy song”, Nelson released a cover in 2006 following the success of Brokeback Mountain (2005) – his version made history as the first mainstream LGBTQIA+ country song by a major artist.

Peck recently told GLAAD that Nelson asked him to collaborate on a new version of ‘Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other’ a “couple of years ago”: “It’s actually been a long time in the making, this whole collaboration”.

He added: “The first thing that Willie said to me, we were hanging out in his tour bus when we talked, when he asked me and said he wanted to do the song, he was saying, ‘You know, it’s more important now than ever.’”

The accompanying music video sees Peck and Nelson sing and play guitar underneath a tree at Nelson’s Luck Ranch in Texas, interspersed with various clips of queer couples dancing inside a saloon.

According to Peck, Nelson pitched the idea to “get gay married in the music video” and for his wife, Annie D’Angelo, to “be the priest” and give the duo “away at the chapel”. Although that did not come to fruition, Annie does make a small cameo in the video.

“It was the most special day ever and I feel so honoured to be included in Willie Nelson’s legacy in some way,” said Peck, before praising Nelson for his unwavering allyship: “I think that the fact that Willie stands next to the entire LGBTQIA+ community by doing this song just shows what an amazing person he is, what a legend he is.

“It’s a win for all of us because that’s true allyship. Someone who’s completely unafraid to be right there next to us, there’s no vagueness involved.”

‘Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other’ will be included on Peck’s forthcoming third studio album Stampede, which is set to be a collection of duets with some “unexpected” and “unlikely” stars.

Peck told Out: “I wanted to make sure that every single song on the album felt like a true 50/50 collaboration of me and the other artists’ style and sound and genre. I didn’t want to just feel like a bunch of Orville Peck songs that feature verses from other artists. I wanted each one to be an actual collaboration.

“Every single song on the album is entirely its own thing, dependent on who the artist is. It’s a really fun journey. It’s definitely the most adventurous I’ve ever been in terms of genre. It’s some of the most country songs I’ve ever done on this album and some of the least country songs I’ve ever done on this album.”

Stampede will be Peck’s first full-length collection since 2022’s Bronco. Released to universal critical acclaim, the country-rock album marked the South African singer’s first appearance on the Billboard 200.