Willie Nelson is truly an open-minded artist when he decided to cover a song that is not usually favored by the country crowd. Back in 2006, Nelson decided to cover a famous gay cowboy song titled “Cowboys are Secretly Frequently Fond of Each Other,” originally performed by Ned Sublette.
Nelson Making History
The song came out back in 1981. Then, 25 years later, Nelson decided to be progressive with his music. Also, he probably wanted to spark a little bit of controversy in the country scene. We all know that gay culture does not mix well with the country scene so this would definitely put a question on the fans of the music legend.
Just for a Good Laugh
But Nelson is ahead of his time, and he probably wanted to be the first country musician to explore the “taboos” of country music. He said that he used to listen to the tape of Sublette’s version and he often played it with his friends for a good laugh. It must have been an inside joke for country musicians if they are all thinking the same thing: that some cowboys are, in fact, ‘fond’ for each other.
He then decided to do his cover back in 2006 in time for the release of the movie Brokeback Mountain that also talks about homosexuality between cowboys.
Although the song does not contain any explicit words pertaining to the lifestyle of someone who is gay, the song really went in without any reservations. Let us look at some of the lyrics:
And I believe to my soul that inside every man there’s the feminine.
And inside every lady there’s a deep manly voice loud and clear.
Well, a cowboy may brag about things that he’s done with his women.
But the ones who brag loudest are the ones that are most likely queer.
The lyrics do not ridicule nor impose a belief to its audience. Its only intention was to make sense of things if it does not seem like what it is used to be. In men, there can be that feminine side and there is nothing wrong with that. In women, there is that trait that we usually see only in men and there is nothing wrong with that, too.
Now, for the last two lines, I think the lyrics only wanted to bring out a good laugh by insinuating that when you are being loud, you are most likely queer because it is their stereotyped characteristic.
Nelson is most definitely successful in this cover because not only did he show maturity and compassion to his LGTBQ+ fans, but he also became the first country musician to ever tackle this topic. The courage Willie Nelson has is truly amazing and his actions should inspire more artists to break barriers and leave a mark in this world.
You may listen to this groundbreaking song here: