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Wilie Nelson

Wilie Nelson


Gay country music lovers received a special valentine from superstar Willie Nelson this year.

Nelson, who also participated in the best-selling Brokeback Mountain soundtrack, chose the holiday to release an iTunes exclusive, "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)." Originally penned in 1981 by New York avant-garde composer Ned Sublette (and subsequently covered by Pansy Division), Nelson's nod to homos on the range quickly became a hot seller. While promoting his brand-new album, You Don't Know Me, Nelson took a few minutes to dish with The Advocate.

How did this obscure tune ever come to your attention? Over 20 years ago I did Saturday Night Live. The show's bass player gave me a cassette of Ned Sublette, and I thought "Cowboys Are Frequently..." was the funniest song I'd ever heard. But I never thought it would have any commercial value, simply because of the content and the four-letter words. Then, all of the sudden, here comes Brokeback Mountain. And I thought, Maybe the timing is right--what a great Valentine's Day song.

You're a longtime Nashville insider. Why are there no openly gay big-name country stars? Are they there and simply forced to hide in the closet? I think you're right. It's political, and it's a shame that's the way it is. But more and more people are realizing that we're all the same, we're all God's children. Brokeback Mountain helped, and if this song can help too, that's great.

You were very vocal in your opposition to the redistricting of Texas a few years ago. Were you pleased when Rep. Tom DeLay had to step down as House majority leader? The truth always comes out on everybody. It's just a matter of time. Which brings us back to the closet again: Whatever is in there must eventually come out--so don't hide anything.

Speaking of the closet: Your longtime tour manager, David Anderson, came out two years ago. Was that a shock? Well, I wasn't that surprised. [Chuckles] One has a way of sensing these things.

You've made several major motion pictures, alongside actresses including Jessica Simpson [The Dukes of Hazzard]. Who was your most memorable female costar? Well, I worked with Dyan Cannon and Amy Irving on Honeysuckle Rose, and Morgan Fairchild too. Heck, I was surrounded by beautiful women there for a few years. Let's just say that really went to my head, and I'll probably never be the same.

Did you cry at the end of Brokeback Mountain? Of course.

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