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ď...the Charley Russell of Western Music.Ē 
                         
 Cowboys & Indians Magazine

 

About Dave Stamey

Lyrics

More

Recordings

Dave Stamey's Web Site and Contact Information

   


 

About Dave Stamey

Cowboys & Indians Magazine has called him ďthe Charley Russell of Western Music.Ē Dave Stamey has been a cowboy, a mule packer, a dude wrangler, and is now one of the most popular Western entertainers working today. He was named Best Living Western Solo Musician by True West; four times been voted Entertainer of the Year, three times Male Performer of the Year and three times Songwriter of the Year by the Western Music Association; and received the Will Rogers Award from the Academy of Western Artists. Heís delighted audiences in fourteen states, and finds that he prefers this to being stomped by angry horses.   

Dave Stamey has been bucked off and stomped by many horses. He has been stepped on by mules and dragged around branding pens by cattle of many sizes. Heís ridden in the rain, in the snow, in the rain some more, in pretty nasty heat, and in feedlot pens where the air was thick and decidedly fragrant. Heís even wrangled dudes. 

He is an entertainer now, and makes his living inflicting himself upon innocent people at music festivals, agricultural banquets and backyard barbecues. He finds he prefers this. 

He lives in Nipomo, California. He bets you donít know where that is.

 

 

Selected Lyrics 

Song for Jake

Come Ride With Me

The Circle

Sharon Littlehawk

Twelve Mile Road

 

Song for Jake

I am an old cowboy; I donít ride much no more.
I came to this valley right after the war.
I used to shoe horses, and thereís some saddles I built.
And I rode after cattle all over these hills.

Started out at the Pitchfork when I was thirteen,
riding young horses, riding my dream.
Them old hands, they taught me all it takes is some nerve.
Just sit up and ride whatever you ride for all that itís worth.

Some folks regret the life they lead.
They stare out the window, they yearn to be free.
I lived the life that was given to me,
and I threw a leg over and I rode it for all it was worth.
I rode it for all it was worth.

All blue eyed and wind-burned, whipcord and lean.
Wild steers on the mountain, where buck brush was green.
Though some days were dark ones, when that old north wind blew,
I just gathered my reins, and I rode it through.

Time comes a-creeping, to wipe out your tracks.
But when your trailís been a good one, you donít mind looking back.
Dreams are like horses, they run wild on the earth.
Catch one and ride it, whatever you ride, for all that itís worth.

© 2008, Dave Stamey, HorseCamp Music BMI
These lyrics may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Cowboy Jake Copass (1920-2006) inspired "Song for Jake." Dave Stamey comments in his performance that he was a dear friend and a "...quintessential Texas cowboy. He was my partner on the Alisal ranch for over 10 years, taught me more about being a cowboy than almost anyone. Lived to be 86 years old, which is a pretty good run for a cowboy; usually bad horses or failed livers will take us out before then. We lost him in 2006 and it took me a couple of years to get the proper song written."

Jake Copass went to work at the Pitchfork Land and Cattle Company when he was 16. He started writing poetry during World War II, where he was in charge of 1600 mules in the Veterinarian Corps in New Guinea. He settled in the Santa Ynez Valley in 1946. He published a collection of his poems and stories in 1992,
It Don't Hurt to Laugh and in 1997, a memoir, I'll Be Satisfied.

See a fan's video with Dave Stamey's song here.
 

 

 

Come Ride With Me

Come ride with me,
Itís time to saddle up and ride away
Thereís so much to see,
Donít worry, I know the trails, I know the way
I caught a gentle horse, his eyes are big and brown
Heís ready to carry you the whole world Ďround
Come ride with me,
Letís ride away

Come take a chance
Iíll show you where the mountains touch the sky
Itís a horseback dance
We can ride forever if we try
A dreamís in the distance, itís there for you to face
Out in the sunrise with the wind on your face
Come ride with me
Letís ride away

The smell of the leather, the sunlight in your skin
Theyíve got us aching to begin

The smell of the hoofbeats, much stronger than wine

The dust in your hair,
The light in your eyes

Come ride with me,
Weíll run the hills and watch the eagle soar
Itís where you want to be
Tell me just what youíre waiting for
Weíll camp near the meadow and weíll love the night away
And saddle up again when the dawn is turning gray
Come ride with me
Come ride with me today

© 2006, Dave Stamey, HorseCamp Music BMI, from Come Ride with Me
These lyrics may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


 

The Circle 

The horse I ride is old but he has served me well
Coat like old tobacco rich and warm
He is old but he is sound
My rein chains ring like bells
We fit well together as we glide above the storm

The boots I wear are old but they have served me well
Leather like old tobacco cracked and brown
Their tops are scuffed and broken
But my spur chains ring like bells
My rowels gleam like silver
And up here we spurn the ground

And the trails I ride are new
Even though Iíve made this circle many times before
For they change with every season and with every shift of light
From the summit where the clouds fall
To the sweep of valley floor

The saddle I ride is old but it has served me well
Leather like old tobacco buffed and smooth
It fits me like a friend
With no secrets left to tell
Astride I make the circle
And I ride where I choose

And the trails I ride are new
Even though Iíve made this circle many times before
For they change with every season and with every shift of light
From the summit where the clouds fall
To the sweep of valley floor

The life I live goes on it fits me oh, so well
Old and new together evergreen
I mount my horse at dawning
My heart rings like a bell
And we ride through the canyons
Where the air is fresh and clean

© 1999, Dave Stamey, HorseCamp Music BMI, from Tonopah
These lyrics may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


 

Sharon Littlehawk 

Sharon Littlehawk, where did you go?
Tom-boy girl with coal black eyes
I see you in that schoolyard walking through the snow
Underneath a Montana sky

You were a foster kid off the rez
They taught you what the Good Book says
You lived with a family up on Shepherd Road

You told me your people were the Crow
Youíre Granddad a chief who was so wise
I blushed when you said you loved me so
I couldnít even look you in the eyes

But, oh, I was proud
I wanted to shout out loud
Luckiest kid in the whole seventh grade 

          There is truth in these prairie winds
          Truth in the way the mystery begins
          Truth in the way the world can open wide

          And tonight I remember you, Sharon Littlehawk

You know I never even held your hand
A bashful kid just off the ranch
I wanted to, I just didnít know how
Too scared to take the chance

But, oh, I was proud
I wanted to shout out loud
Luckiest kid in the whole seventh grade 

Sharon Littlehawk, where did we go?
Thirty-five years in the blink of an eye
I hope life took you where you needed to go
Do I ever cross your mind? 

You were a foster kid off the rez
They taught you what the Good Book says
You lived with a family up on Shepherd Road 

          There is truth in these prairie winds
          Truth in the way the mystery begins
          All at once the world seemed to open wide
         And tonight I remember you, Sharon Littlehawk

© 2006, Dave Stamey, HorseCamp Music BMI, from Come Ride with Me
These lyrics may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Twelve Mile Road

Thereís an old gravel road
following the section line,
out where lives are held together
with sweat and baling twine,
where you rattle your bones on a tractor
over thirty years old
and thereís a mortgage and kids to be fed
out on Twelve Mile Road.

Just a stretch of country
the wind comes blowing through.
The Homesteaders starved out and blew away
Now thereís nobody out here but you.
And you know someday itís gonna turn around,
but Lord, it turns so slow,
and it ainít rained since April
out on Twelve Mile Road. 

Out on Twelve mile Road,
lord it turns so slow.
Hanging on to a ragged dream,
out on Twelve Mile Road
 

You raise some hay, a few head of calves,
you swing a hammer in town.
You do everything you can by God do
to keep your feet on the ground.
ĎCuz if a man works hard enough
he can turn that straw into gold
Or ainít that how itís supposed to be,
out on Twelve Mile Road?

Out on Twelve mile Road,
lord it turns so slow.
Hanging on to a ragged dream,
out on Twelve Mile Road

You hope for the day when the air is clean,
the fences all run true,
all of your worries have vanished like smoke,
all the hard times are through.
Youíll look down from the top of a hill
and your dreamísll be there to hold.
Ainít that the way itís supposed to be,
Out on Twelve Mile Road?

Out on Twelve mile Road,
lord it turns so slow.
Hanging on to a ragged dream,
out on Twelve Mile Road
Out on Twelve mile Road,
lord it turns so slow.
It ainít rained since April,
out on Twelve Mile Road

© 2011, Dave Stamey, HorseCamp Music BMI, from Twelve Mile Road
These lyrics may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Dave Stamey dedicates this song to his father in in his 2011 CD, Twelve Mile Road. He has written:

They call it Twelve Mile Road now. Back when I was a kid in Yellowstone County, Montana, it didnít have a name; just a gravel section-line road with fields of feed corn on one side and our little hay and cattle operation on the other. I came back forty years later and discovered someone had named it, and put up a road sign, just like they do in town. I guess thatís what happens if you live long enough.

There are plenty of cowboy songs that glorify riding for the big outfits, but you hardly ever hear about the small ranchers on the starvation places scattered all over the west, ranchers who seem to get by on guts and stubbornness and damn little else. ďOut where lives are held together with sweat and baling twine.Ē There are still thousands of them out there; we meet them on our travels along the road, in little communities like Cedarville, California and Burns, Oregon and Tropic, Utahócountless other places. Hanging onto the dream. I thought they deserved a song of their own, so I wrote one.
 

 

See our article here about the collaboration of Dave Stamey and Les Buffham on "Spin That Pony"


More

 

  True West magazine's 2010 Best of the West Sourcebook names Dave Stamey as Best Living Western Solo Musician. The editors comment, "What makes him Best is our view is that he can ride a horse, strum a guitar, sing and look good doing it all at the same time."



  The Spring, 2008 issue of Persimmon Hill magazine, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum's
award-winning journal on the West, includes a photo-illustrated feature article, "Dave Stamey, a Storyteller Through Music," by Corinne Joy Brown.

Corinne Joy Brown writes, "...words don't describe the usual mix of what you hope to hear. His cowboy songs, original or traditional, are taken to new heights with the lilt of a ragtime beat, the addition of a fine fiddle or harmonica, and often, a soulful touch of the blues. No well-worn lyrics here. The original compositions deliver images with clean, clear fresh interpretations...Stamey creates worlds that few of us will ever know but that we intuitively understand....Dave Stamey may be one of the best things to come out of the far West today."

Dave Stamey is quoted, "I've been allowed to inhabit the edges and give it voiceóand my job is to celebrate that."


An April, 2009 article by Bill Reynolds in Western Horseman, billed on the cover as "The 13 Best Cowboy Songs of All Time" in the April, 2009 of Western Horseman features Dave Stamey, his album, Come Ride With Me, and his "The Vaquero Song" from Tonopah. The article singles out Dave Stamey in its editorial portion, and includes his comments about today's audience and the strength of "the quality of writing in both contemporary Western music and cowboy poetry" that lets his genre "legitimately be called 'cowboy' or 'Americana." Dave Stamey comments, "Whatever the description, it's uniquely ours, and that ownership is something the audience appreciates."

Bill Reynolds writes, "Western story songs help capture moments in time. Stamey has been described as the 'Charlie Russell of Western Music' for the visual quality of his writing...there are songs and performances that stand out as classics."

Other "best cowboy songs of all time" include selection by artists including Ian Tyson, Mike Beck, Tom Russell, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott.


 The Winter, 2009 issue of the Western Way, the publication of the Western Music Association, features Dave Stamey on its cover. Dave Stamey was named the 2008 Western Music Association "Entertainer of the Year" and ďMale Performer of the YearĒ and the 2007 "Songwriter of the Year."


There are many videos of Dave Stamey performances at YouTube (some recorded by fans) including:


"If I Had Money"

"Comfortable Shoes

"Bubba and the Goat," April 2010

" Comfortable Shoes," April 2010

"Sweet Grass County Line" from Saddle Up! at Pigeon Forge, February 2010

"Wild Sierra" from Woodside, California, May 2009, "the first song that Dave ever wrote that he kept"

"The Bandit Joaquin" from BlackHawk Entertainment at the 2008 Heber City Gathering

"Buckaroo Man" at Tales from the Tavern

"Ruby Could Sing" at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

"Campfire Waltz"

Mary McCaslin with Dave Stamey, "Geronimo's Cadillac"

"It's the West"

At the Iron Door

2007 Golden Boot Awards


  Dave Stamey teams with premier Western photographer David Stoecklein (www.stoeckleinphotography.com) in a slide show presentation of "Come Ride With Me," the title song from Dave Stamey's 2009 CD.

 

Recordings

Live at Santa Ynez


2014

Includes:

1. Sweet Grass Country Line
2. All I Need is You
3. Blackjack Was Mule
4. The Circle
5. There is an Echo
6. Mojave Moon
7. Tonopah
8. Comfortable Shoes
9. Sunrise
10. Spin That Pony
11. Free and Easy
12. Song for Jake
13. Come Ride With Me

Available for $15 plus postage from www.davestamey.com

 


 

Twelve Mile Road


2011

Includes:

1. Twelve Mile Road
2. Blackjack Was a Mule
3. Buckskin Horse
4. All I Need Is You
5. Song For Jake
6. If I Had Money
7. Never Gonna Rain
8. Sage In Her Hair
9. Bubba and the Goat
10. Wild Sierra
11. Comfortable Shoes
12. Sweet Grass County Line
 

Available for $15 plus postage from www.davestamey.com

From our review:

Dave Stamey comes "from the dust"ó"out where lives are held together / with sweat and baling twine..."ó as the title song depicts it in his new CD, Twelve Mile Road. He dedicates that song to his father, "who lived it" and to "...the little ranchers scattered all over the West, who seem to get by on guts and stubbornness and damn little else..."

Twelve Mile Road delivers complex-but-direct fresh and original songs about the real West, fueled by Dave Stamey's fierce allegiance to that endangered world. He knows the country and he knows what matters.

Authenticity is the hallmark of his work. Whether he's writing about mules in the mine ("Blackjack Was a Mule," dedicated to former miner and top reciter Jerry Brooks), tough old cowboys ("Song for Jake," for Texas cowboy and poet, and mentor Jake Copass), or his devoted partner in life, Melissa ("All I Need is You"), the message rings true. In that, Dave Stamey's songs stand out.

There's a certain wistfulness in songs such as "Sage in Her Hair," "Sweet Grass County Line," and "Wild Sierra." And that Stamey dust makes another appearance in "Never Gonna Rain." His sharp and wry humor, strong as ever, comes through in "If I Had Money," "Comfortable Shoes," and "Bubba and the Goat," a tale from his boyhood on one of those "little scattered ranches."

The stories and spirit of the songs in "Twelve Mile Road" command attention, and likewise the underlying fine musicianship of Dave Stamey and others shines in the meticulous production. Annie Lydon again lends sparkling harmony and a fine stable of musicians (Dorian Michael, Ken Hustad, and Bill Severance) back up each strong piece. Dave confirmed the inspired synchronicity in a comment about the production, "...for once the recording process from A to Z went exactly the way it was supposed to...We had a great crew in the studio, recorded most of it live right there
the same day, and we caught a good feeling. "

Listeners catch that good feeling, too, and Dave Stamey adds another outstanding project to his impressive catalog.
 


 

Come Ride With Me


2009

Includes:

Come Ride With Me
In Old McGee Canyon
Desert Winds
Sharon Littlehawk
Dusty Road
The Mission Bell
Used Rough
Geronimo's Children
Crazy Mary
Someone Go Back Home
Ruby Could Sing
One More For My Baby (hidden track)

Available for $15 plus postage from www.davestamey.com

From our review:

Top songwriter and singer Dave Stamey (www.davestamey.com) has been called "The Charlie Russell of Western Music," and his long-anticipated CD, Come Ride With Me, just released, will add to that already-sterling reputation.

Dave Stamey describes the release, "The result of over a yearís work, it contains 11 original songs, including the studio version of 'Ruby Could Sing,' (with the inimitable Professor Dave Bourne on the piano), 'Dusty Road,' and 'Someone Go Back Home.' Annie Lydonís harmonies produced some of the most magical moments on the recording. It is without a doubt the best thing weíve done to date."

With a great stable of backup musicians and his own guitar wizardry, the CD includes many songs that have already become audience favorites, including the title track, "In Old McGee Canyon," "Used Rough," "Geronimo's Children," "Sharon Littlehawk," and the outstanding "Ruby Could Sing." The collection showcases Dave Stamey's remarkable range in his sensitive and intelligent songwriting, words that come from years spent in the real working West, often with passionate themes of piercing honesty about that endangered world. Those words are expressed with both seriousness and ironic humor, and, always, with his brand: integrity.

Just as in his performances, where he gives it his all, and then somehow, more, Come Ride With Me offers a final gift to fans. The last (hidden) track, "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" is a masterful interpretation with a startling depth of feeling, a perfect example of Dave Stamey's complex and compelling attraction as an artist. He sings, "I'm a kinda poet and I got a lot of things I wanna say...." We're listening.

Come Ride With Me includes "Come Ride With Me," "In Old McGee Canyon," "Desert Winds," "Sharon Littlehawk," "Dusty Road," "The Mission Bell," "Used Rough," "Geronimo's Children," "Someone Go Back Home," "Crazy Mary," and "Ruby Could Sing."

Considered by many to be today's best songwriter and performer of original Western music, Dave received both the Male Performer of the Year award and Entertainer of the Year award from the Western Music Association in 2008. He's received both awards previously.


Read Rick Huff's review here ("...it simply doesn't get any better than Dave Stamey!")


Old Friends


2007

Includes:

Dusty Winds
The Santa Fe Trail
Dan Was a Packer
The One Rose
Waiting For a Train
The Colorado Trail
Cattle Call
I Am My Own Grandpa
The Mission San Miguel
Tumbling Tumbleweeds
That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine
Ghost Riders in the Sky

Available for $15 plus postage from www.davestamey.com


It's Just a State of Mind


2007

Includes:

It's the West
Buckaroo Man
Someone Needs to Go Back Home
Montana
If I Only Had a Horse
Campfire Waltz
Dusty Roads
Crazy Mary
The Mission Bell
Dude String Trail
The Vaquero Song
The Bandit Joaquin
Ruby Could Sing

Available for $15 plus postage from www.davestamey.com



2003

If I Had a Horse

If I Had A Horse
Somewhere West Of Laramie
Campfire Waltz
Talkin' Bronc Ballet Blues
The Bandit Joaquin
Montana Summers
Cowboy Moon
The Skies Of Lincoln County
My Journey Back To You
Spin That Pony
A Pan Full Of Dust
The Trail Took Me Away

Available for $15 plus postage from www.davestamey.com



2001

Wheels

Wheels
Pretty Pauline
Jingle In My Jeans
Crossing The Plains
Child Of The Desert
Dude String Trail
It's The West
Streets Of Laredo
Saddle Tramp
Three Quarter Time
Riding Another Circle
South Coast
 

Available for $15 plus postage from www.davestamey.com



2000

Campfire Waltz

Don't Fence Me In
Ride an 'Ol Paint
Sonora's Death Row
Ridin' the Sage
Night Rider's Lament
Carry Me Back
Mr. Shorty
Coyotes
Old Red
Chime Bells
Ready to Stand
The Old Double Diamond

Available for $15 plus postage from www.davestamey.com




1999

Tonopah

Tonopah
Going To The West
Desert Trails
Rosa May
The Bones Of Benny Gray
Opal
The Vaquero Song
Dear John
Border Affair
The Circle
May The Trail Rise Up To Greet You
 

Available for $15 plus postage from www.davestamey.com



1997

Buckaroo Man

Buckaroo Man
Desert Blues
Cowpoke
Princess Di
Mountain Wind
The Auctioneer
Uncle Harvey's Plane
Montana
Riding Down The Canyon
Mountains Of The Heart
McGee Creek

Available for $15 plus postage from www.davestamey.com

 

 

Dave Stamey's Web Site and Contact Information


photo by Melissa Stamey


www.DaveStamey.com

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