Gillian Welch and David Rawlings release their version of Oscar-nominated ‘Buster Scruggs’ song

Country-folk duo David Rawlings and Gillian Welch will sing their Oscar-nominated song at the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 24.
(Henry Diltz)

Leading into their scheduled performance at the Academy Awards ceremony later this month, Americana duo Gillian Welch and David Rawlings have released their own recording of their nominated song, “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” from the Coen brothers’ film “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”

Posted on YouTube on Tuesday, the stripped-down version features just Welch and Rawlings singing the song with acoustic guitar backing. It is sung in the film by Tim Blake Nelson and Willie Watson, who play the story’s dueling gunslingers.

“We are eternally grateful to Ethan and Joel Coen for giving us the opportunity to write a cowboy duet between the living and the dead, and to Willie Watson and Tim Blake Nelson for bringing it to life,” Welch and Rawlings said in a joint statement Tuesday.


They are set to sing the song on Feb. 24 during the Oscars telecast along with performances of the other four nominated original songs.

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