Oscars 2019: Gillian Welch & David Rawlings Perform Nominated Song 'When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings'
"When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings" is the Americana duo's contribution to the soundtrack for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and it's one of the contenders in this year's race for best original song. (They wrote the track that was performed by Willie Watson and Tim Blake Nelson for the film.)
In matching, intricately embroidered Westernwear that fit right in with the aesthetic of the Coen Brothers' latest feature film, Rawlings and Welch flawlessly strummed and harmonized before a stunning backdrop of a desert night sky.
Frances McDormand -- frequent Coen collaborator and wife to Joel -- let out an approving woop when the last note rang out.
"[Joel Coen] said they needed a duet between two singing cowboys, one the more established one and one the younger, faster, better-looking sweeter singer, and that the duet needed to be sung between them once one of them is dead,” Welch said of the song's origins when she spoke with Billboard shortly following the news of her nomination.
“We love a challenge. We put a bunch of yodeling in there, but the main thing we had to come up with the idea for the song: ‘When a cowboy trades his spurs for wings.’ I kind of came up with that basic idea [while we were] driving across New Mexico on a cross-country trip. I ran it by Dave. It seemed to fit and we started working on it.”
Watch Rawlings and Welch perform "When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings" below, and check out the list of 2019 Oscar winners here.