Orville Peck Proves Superstar Quality on ‘Bronco’ – Tech
Although Dolly Parton has become an icon of the LGBTQIA+ community and Lil Nas X attempts to bring country influences to this music, there remains a void of queer artists in the contemporary country genre.
Orville Peck, a South African artist based in Canada who hides his identity behind a fringed mask and cowboy hat, is trying to change that.
Peck officially arrived on the country scene in 2019 with his freshman album “Pony” which showcased Peck’s heavyweight cowboy ethos and crowd singing guitars.
“Pony” was then amped up in 2020 with the release of Peck’s “Show Pony” EP, which featured an impressive collaboration with the queen of country pop and fellow Canadian Shania Twain.
Despite Peck’s infancy in his solo music business, he’s been recognized by drag queen stars and Grammy winners for major projects.
Trixie Mattel, one of the most successful mainstream drag queens to come out of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” teamed up with Peck to cover Johnny Cash and June Carter’s iconic country duo “Jackson”.
In 2021, Peck was invited to contribute to the 10th anniversary celebrations of Lady Gaga’s album “Born this Way”, releasing a solid country version of the title track.
Peck even opened for Harry Styles during his 2021 Madison Square Garden shows, providing more evidence of the wide range of affection from today’s biggest names in music. feel Peck’s talents.
Peck continues his promising legacy with the release from his second album Broncos. Released on April 8, the album is Peck’s strongest step in the country music scene.
With his best kicked forward, Peck fully explores his identity and challenges the on the edge of the country genre.
The album’s visuals alone show Peck’s transition from freshman puppy to full-fledged cowboy artist, swapping his pastel “Show Pony” images for images from his new album which shows a muscular Orville Peck. , dressed in golden leggings and standing in front of a rearing black stallion.
“Daytona Sand,” the album’s intro track, continues this strong Peck imagery as the roaring instrumentals draw visions of a galloping herd of mustangs through Peck’s vocals.
The lyrics, describing a tumultuous relationship between Peck and the “tall blonde”, mark the beginning of Peck’s exploration of his identity as a gay man navigating conservatism. country music landscape.
Perhaps the album’s biggest lyric, “I’ve been around long enough to know you can’t trust a man,” stems from that solid first track that signals the final departure of Peck’s persistence. . uncertainty as an artist.
Peck’s growing confidence as an artist is evident throughout in his vulnerability on the album. “The Curse of the Blackened Eye,” a track that illustrates the effects of an abusive relationship, is the pinnacle of candid crooner ballads on “Bronco” with Peck’s deep vocals evoking the aforementioned signature cowboy ethos for which he is known.
Peck’s superpower brings listeners who wouldn’t classify as country music fans to pay attention to him.
At the 2021 Shaky Knees Music Festival, held just over a mile from Tech’s campus in Atlanta’s Central Park, Peck was a midday performance that garnered the the attention of many festival-goers.
Many gathered around the main stage of the festival in response to Peck’s powerful singing voice blasting through the park, attracting many with its chic Cracker Barrel aesthetic which differed sharply from the typical festival aesthetic independent alternative programming.
This superpower is evident in the album’s title track, which features a dance-inducing track about breaking free and not letting anything hold you back, a message from Peck that is ever-present. throughout the album.
Peck continues to push back against elements of toxic masculinity and provides listeners with proud references to his sexuality on “Come on baby, cry.”
While some neighboring country artists, such as Lil Nas X, may beat around the bush or sweep their queer identity under the lyrics, Peck offers himself in full in a genre that traditionally lacks LGBTQIA+ representation.
The superstar’s secret song from the album is “Kalahari Down”. Released early as part of Peck’s “Chapter 2” delivery singles from the album, “Kalahari Down” is a personal ode that portrays Peck education in South Africa.
Beginning with a whimsical harmonica solo, the near-perfect song perfectly combines Peck’s soulful vocals, aching guitar soundtrack, and cowboy lifestyle references to create a painful story of losing your way.
Peck’s rendition of the song evokes the “gothic Elvis Presley” characterization given to him by Pitchfork’s album review.
Lasting almost an hour, the album can seem like a long term at first, but Peck’s ability to get listeners lost in his cowboy tales makes for an easy listening experience.
The album showcases Peck’s talents that prove his future superstar status.
Representing a climax of Peck’s newfound confidence and desire to penetrate country genre as a queer artist, “Bronco” provides a successful case argument as to why Peck should be considered one of the best new musical artists of the year.