About Orville Peck
Throughout 2019, much of the indie-rock world was consumed with an age-old question: Who is that masked man? Certainly, with his cowboy hat and colorful leather masks that cover his face in a flurry of dangling fringes, Orville Peck looks like he stepped off the screen from some 1950s Lone Ranger flick. And his twangy torch songs complete the period-perfect picture, showcasing a rich, Orbison-esque voice that sounds like it’s beaming out from the AM radio in a ’57 Thunderbird parked at a lookout point. But even as Peck’s Sub Pop debut, Pony, hit the Top 5 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart—en route to Polaris Music Prize and Juno Award nominations in his former home country of Canada, and a spot in Apple Music’s Up Next program—his backstory has largely remained shrouded in mystery (though fans of late-2000s Vancouver punk band Nü Sensae may recognize some of his tattoos). As Peck explained to Apple Music, the mask is ultimately less a tool of obfuscation than of liberation. “The misconception is what I do is a character,” he said. “This is the most sincere thing I’ve ever done. The point is combining ultra-sincerity with a heightened version of who you are at your core.” And for Peck, that means positioning his gay identity front and center in aching serenades—like “Dead of Night” and “Big Sky”—that put a pronounced spin on traditional country-ballad tropes. But in presenting himself as the flamboyant country star of his wildest fantasies, Peck is fast on his way to becoming one in real life: His 2020 EP for Columbia/Sony, Show Pony, hit No. 20 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, and featured the ultimate country-establishment cosign in the form of “Legends Never Die,” a feisty duet with Shania Twain.