A little kid “sitting around in Johannesburg… listening to Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash,” is how Orville Peck describes himself at the time he was inspired to embrace Country music while growing up his South African homeland. With his pitch-perfect, rich and ebullient voice and articulate songwriting, Peck has become so much more than a “Country” artist in the short time he’s been releasing music to critical and mass acclaim, while also becoming a touring workhorse. Proudly displaying elements of an array of genres spanning Country, Bluegrass, Rock and a hint of Southern California (where Peck now resides), his third full-length release, Bronco, solidifies Peck’s position as a torch-bearing cowboy for the evolving world of Country music, while revealing he’s not ashamed to reference his influences.
After penning the tunes in his L.A. homes while coming to terms with the 2020 lockdowns – which arrived just as he was to begin his biggest tour ever – Peck then took his band to Nashville to record the album with producer Jay Joyce, the tracks were laid down “live,” with almost no overdubs. Which explains the raw power and passionate energy found from the open bass rumble of “Daytona Sand” all the way through to plaintive, SoCal Country Rock strains of “All I Can Say,” which also finds Peck beautifully dueting with Bria Salmena of Bria and FRIGS.
“It was just the coolest experience,” Peck says. “It felt like making a real album like how I grew up… I don’t think I can ever go back to recording the other way again.”
Bronco is a musical adventure that reaches across all genres while firmly rooted in the Country that is uniquely Orville Peck. High points include the Laurel Canyon-ish “Outta Time,” “Any Turn” with it’s very clear musical references to both Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan (he even nods to Dylan’s “bad cough” – listen to the track, you’ll get it), and “C’mon Baby, Cry” which forces favorable comparisons to Roy Orbison.
As Peck gets back to the road, early support from radio singles out “C’mon Baby, Cry” and “Daytona Sand” as KUTX, WFUV, KEXP and The Loft are a just a few of the stations supporting Bronco.
Photo by Julia Johnson