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, but his strong, melodramatic voice is expressive and 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, which made a strong impression despite his desire to keep the particulars of his identity under wraps.
In his public statements, Orville Peck has revealed 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 (where he is rumored to have spent part of his life), Pony 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 the popular chat show Jimmy Kimmel Live! and appearing at the Coachella music festival as well as its country-themed counterpart, Stagecoach. In 2020, Peck revealed that he had 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. ~ Mark Deming