Orville Peck

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A self-styled “outlaw cowboy,” Orville Peck is a purposefully enigmatic performer whose music fuses elements of goth, shoegaze, and indie rock with grand-scale vocals and iconography that honors classic country music from the ’50s and ’60s. Performing on-stage with an elaborate mask, Peck’s music and image at once embrace and subvert the accepted tropes of Western culture, while his strong, melodramatic voice keeps the music rooted without letting the subtle ironies of the songs overpower the performances. Peck made a splashy debut with his 2019 debut album, Pony, and created an even grander and glossier vehicle for his talent with his second full-length effort, 2022′s Bronco.
In his public statements, Orville Peck reveals few details about his life off-stage, preferring to talk about his influences (including Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton) and his musical approach. Peck has said that he lived in many cities around the world and toured extensively with punk rock bands before embracing his identity as a cowboy. He began acknowledging his country music influences with the release of his song “Dead of Night” in 2017. In January 2019, Sub Pop announced the upcoming release of the first Orville Peck album by posting a David Lynch-inspired video for his debut single, an upgraded version of “Dead of Night,” with a second, equally surreal video for “Turn to Hate” following in February. The album Pony arrived in March 2019.
Pony received enthusiastic reviews, and in Canada it was nominated for Alternative Album of the Year at the Juno Awards and was long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize. Peck also found himself breaking into the entertainment mainstream in the United States, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and at the Coachella music festival as well as its country-themed counterpart, Stagecoach. In 2020, Peck signed with Columbia Records. His first EP for the label, Show Pony, included the track “Legends Never Die,” a duet with country-pop superstar Shania Twain. That same year, he recorded a steel guitar-influenced cover of Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy” as part of a Pride Month digital singles series, as well as a pair of Righteous Brothers covers with vocalist Paul Cauthen under the banner of the Unrighteous Brothers. In 2021, at the request of Lady Gaga, he recorded a cover of her signature hit “Born This Way” for a collection honoring the 10th Anniversary of the original album’s release. Later that year, Peck recorded a cover of the Johnny Cash/June Carter Cash classic “Jackson” as a duet with drag performer Trixie Mattel for their EP Full Coverage, Vol. 1 and remixed the vintage k.d. lang number “Miss Chatelaine” for her Makeover collection. April 2022 brought Peck’s second full-length LP, Bronco, which paired his expansive voice with full-bodied production and arrangements that added accents of rockabilly, ’60s pop, psychedelia, and bluegrass to his mix. The song “All I Can Say” featured a duet vocal with Bria Salmena, a member of the Canadian indie rock band Frigs who moonlights in Peck’s road band. ~ Mark Deming