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Doc Stovall, 2008, photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski

Doc Stovall

1937-2012
 

About Doc Stovall
Poems and Lyrics
Recordings


 


Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com
Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com 


With the deepest sadness, we learned of the death of Doc Stovall in an auto accident on Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

Find additional information here.


From a Booth Western Art Museum March 21, 2012 media release:

It is with great sadness Booth Western Art Museum shares the news of the sudden passing of Entertainment & Sponsorship Manager Doc Stovall.

Executive Director Seth Hopkins states, "Booth Western Art Museum is so sorry to have lost our long-time friend and employee, Doc Stovall, in a tragic accident this morning. He will be sorely missed."

A native Virginian, Doc was well known as a Western singer and cowboy poet throughout America, having performed in twenty-five of the fifty states. Honored in 2002 as Georgia's Official Cowboy Balladeer by the Georgia State Legislature, he entertained audiences both young and old as he strived to keep alive the history of the West in music and song. In November of 2004, Doc was inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame, the first cowboy singer so honored, and in October of 2009 he received the Cowboy Keeper Award from the National Day of the Cowboy Association for his contributions to the preservation of Western heritage and cowboy culture. He had been employed as the Entertainment and Sponsorship Manager for Booth Western Art Museum since 2004.

Continued Hopkins, "We are appreciative of the condolences and kind words received throughout the day. We will let people know of arrangements as they become available.

Photographer Mike McLean (McLeanPhoto.com) was working with Doc Stovall on an album project. He commented on the image below, "He was a special man who touched so many lives. Of all the images I shot last  year this was the one we all agreed captured his spirit most."

Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com
Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com 

Mike McLean also shared additional images:
 

Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com    
Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com 

                  
Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com
Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com 
 

Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com
Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com 
Doc Stovall with friend and performing partner Jerry Warren, above and below
 

Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com
Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com 
 

Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com
Mike McLean/McLeanPhoto.com 
 

 

 

About Doc Stovall 
        
biography from 2001

Where do you find a Cowboy, you know he's a vanishing breed
Cause it's tough to live in modern times and follow the Cowboy Creed
You'll find him on the prairie if there's any prairie left
Or you'll find him somewhere on a horse doing what he does best
                                                         
from "Cowboys Forever," BMI 1996

Doc Stovall hails from the Appalachian Mountains of Southwestern Virginia. His material is entirely musical and for the most part, original.  His work consists of trail songs, songs of ranch life, songs of the western range and mountains, as well as humorous looks at the West through parody and satire. Doc is a BMI songwriter and records on the Treetop label.

Doc frequently performs with Jerry Warren. They are the co-founders of COPAS, the Cowboy Performing Arts Society. 

Jerry refers to Tennessee's Cumberland foothills as home.  He draws on his vast experience as a ranch hand and veteran of the rodeo circuit to support the reality of his writings.  Sarcasm and wit along with pure nostalgia are featured in his efforts.  Jerry is a BMI songwriter and records on the Treetop label.

A few paragraphs from their combined brochure best conveys the spirit of their art and performances:

Cowboy Poetry is an art form that uses an orally graphic medium which allows one's audience to paint their own mental pictures. It brushes a rainbow of colors creatively across the canvass of the mind, lending shape and character to individual events, people, and animals, almost recognizable in one's own memory.  It is presented with such subtle emotions that gently pluck at the heartstrings, often striking both the high and low scale.

It is fueled by a passion which borders on spirituality.  It preserves the determination that secured our shorelines, hoisted "Old Glory," then honored its waving.  It is entrenched in the creed that men, created equal, should live free, forever.  It fights to define a culture that embraces the thinking that most is derived from life when life is most challenged. It is our hope, that somewhere in the line of a rhyme, you find a small part of yourself.

Read about Doc Stovall's radio program, Cowboys and Campfires, co-hosted by Jim Dunham, here.

A Few Poems

Mountain Camp
Escape
Reflections of an Irish Cowboy
Epitaph

 

Mountain Camp

There's nothing like a trail ride through the Rubies or the Rockies
   where the air is pure and mountain breezes blow.
You really have to be there to enjoy that special feeling
   that takes you back in time to long ago.
The time passes quickly as you ride up through the timber,
   mountain meadows lush and green you suddenly see;
You can't believe the sight of a herd of mustang ponies,
   just grazing in grass up to their knees.

Evening falls painting scenes with muted colors
   Mother Nature slowly drops the curtain down.
Another day is ending as you watch the sunlight fading
   and you bask in the serenity you have found.
Suddenly, the sky is lighted by a million twinkling stars.
   you've never seen the Milky Way so clear;
You just lie back in your bedroll 'neath this glorious canopy,
   seems you can almost touch them, they're so near.

Dawn breaks slowly as you rise and brush the sleep from your eyes,
   the last start fades and the sun begins its climb.
Peeking just across the mountains, bathing peaks in golden hues,
   it's time to hit the trail, that's Mother Nature's sign.
It's the same most every morning, the sunlight warms the landscape,
   one more time the light has chased the night away.
The whole cycle starts anew as you saddle up again,
   you can hardly wait to greet the brand new day.

© 1998, Doc Stovall
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Escape

The congestion of a town I just can't handle
   it's cluttered up and I can hardly breath
When I feel it's closing in around me
   I find some good excuse and take my leave.
The murmur of the winds through the grasses
   beats the noise of people trying to talk as one;
Sometimes one needs the solitude of silence
   that's found out on the range when day is done.

There's something to be said for the satisfaction
   and the tiredness felt at the close of the day
You just lay back against your saddle and contemplate
   the reasons why you choose to live this way.
Did you just get tired of the hustle and the bustle
   and the politics and attitudes you found?
Did you yearn for the honesty and truth
   that you found lacking when you stayed too long in town?

You've become a self-styled relic of another time
   an old-time cowboy caught in this modern age
Living a past that exists in fading memories
   that grow dimmer with the turning of each page.
But you still hold on to the principles
   and the rules you leaned to live by long ago
You feel sorry for a misguided civilization
   with no direction or choice that goes along with the flow.

The gentle sounds of the little tumbling creek
   and the rustle of the wind through the trees
The hope of a better day tomorrow
   is carried like a promise on the breeze
The moon rises o'er the mountains in the distance
   and stars abound with twinkles quiet gleam
As you drift off to sleep you're still wishing
   for that better time -- you'll find it in your dreams.

© 1998, Doc Stovall
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Reflections of an Irish Cowboy

It's a road leading nowhere for as far as you can see,
   winding its way through an early morning haze
It's a meadow looking greener in the spring and summer rains,
   the cattle and some sheep that share the graze
It's the clouds that hand so low you feel you can touch them,
   the smell of early morning on the breeze
It's the wind that never stops, it blows for days on end,
   wild and raw, but sometimes gentle as the rocking of the sea
The sun peeks through those broken clouds to dry the earth again,
   and burns away the mist it's clear and free
It's a sentimental journey I take often in my mind
   to a place that's ever home sweet home to me.

It's the faces of the children in the schoolyard as they play,
   I close my eyes and see it like it was yesterday
I see that little stream still flowing, never changing, cool and clear,
   I'm caught up in old memories of a place I still hold dear.
The smoke-blackened chimneys that have warmed hearth and home
   of the ageless little cottages built of gray native stone
And I can't forget the music, I hear 'pipes and fiddles play,
   "Londonderry Air" still haunts me as I go along my way.
I remember the taste of the whiskey that set my mind awhirl,
   'tis said it was invented so the Irish couldn't rule the world.
But with a heart as heavy as the famine on the land
   I left behind that little island to ne'er return again.

And knowing I was leaving everything I loved behind,
   I faced a storm-tossed ocean not knowing what I'd find.
Watched the green fields fade behind me and I boldly looked away
   to face the first part of the journey that brought me where I am today.
This new life on the prairie, this place they call "the West,"
   God knows, it's strange and different, but I think it's for the best.
The days pass by so swiftly, it's the nights that move so slow,
   I think back to bonnie Ireland and wish I hadn't had to go.
But I had to make some choices so I told them all goodbye
   I think of that sad parting and a tear dimes in my eye.
It's those memories I carry through the years that turn me old
  even out here on this prairie, it's always Ireland in my soul
.

© 2001, Doc Stovall
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Epitaph


The words were sadly noticed, obituaries usually are,
  it gave the dates of birth and death and spoke of family scattered far.
It spoke of the interment site and where the remains could be viewed;
  two column inches was the tribute to this old friend we all knew.
It really didn't seem like much as we sat and reminisced,
  we recounted what we knew of him before he tasted death's kiss.
You see, he was a simple man who lived a simple life,
  he took pride in a job well-done, in his children and his wife.
He had good friends and everyone's respect, he lived life by the Book,
  and to his fellow men he always gave more than he took.
Everyone who knew him seemed to look at him in awe,
  there was a whole more to him than what little we saw.
His weather-beaten, wrinkled face, his hands, all twisted and gnarled;
  his frame, once strong, was bent with age, a monument to life's scars.

That old ten-gallon Stetson and the shiny cowboy boots
  always bore witness to his deep-reaching Western roots.
He spoke of days gone by with sadness and with pride
  and I think of all the history he took with him when he died.
I clipped the notice from the paper to later file away -
  an epitaph that should have read, a cowboy died today...

© 1999, Doc Stovall
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

(This is dedicated to the memory of Dick Edwards, a great horseman and a great human being who died as a result of a horse wreck in 1999. This piece was delivered at the funeral service by the writer.)

 

Back to the Yellowstone

The only time he lets his feeling show
  is when the arenaís empty and he has no place to go;
except to the next town, he thinks itís San Antonio.
  Thatís as far as he can see, the next rodeo.

Working the circuit since he was nineteen, back then he thought it fun,
  thought heíd be World Champion after all was said and done.
Fifteen years seems more like fifty, thatís how he sometimes feels
  as he beats his fists in silence on the pickupís steering wheel. 

That old two-horse trailer he started with back in ninety-four,
  Held together by spit and baling wire, he hoped itíd last one year more.
Heís only hauling Thunder since he put old Buckshot down,
  and he tries to shake that memory passing through a nameless town.

It all started in Montana along the Yellowstone,
  he got tired of daily ranch work and he left the family home.
Seeking fame and fortune, he left sweet Susan there behind
  and miles and mile of out of sight soon put her out of mind.

In fifteen years heís tried it all, heís roped, rode broncs and bulls;
  done day-work for beans and entry fees and to keep the gas tank full.
Heís won some silver buckles, the last in Sioux Falls, Idaho,
  but that was a wedding ring and two pick-up trucks ago.

He ainít seen a real bed since a second place last month,
  but mile and days run together and that donít matter much.
That leg he broke in Tulsa, back in ninety-nine
  aches a little more now since he  turned thirty-five

This morning he got a message from someone way back home,
  his momma needs to talk to him, it seems his daddyís gone.
This will have to be the last one, tonight in San Antone,
  heíll have to cash or sell his roping horse to get gas money home.

Thatís when heíll really let his feeling show,
  when the arenaís empty and he quits the rodeo.
Heíll sell Thunder, drop the trailer, leave it sitting there alone,
  and go back to where it started, Back to the Yellowstone.

  © 2011, Doc Stovall
  This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


See
Doc Stovall and his Tumbleweed Band in a video here.



Read Rick Huff's Spring, 2010 profile of Doc Stovall here.



See Pat Stephenson's poem, Portrait of a Balladeer, about Doc Stovall, and her painting of Doc,
here.

 

See A Cowboy Knows, by Doc Stovall and Charles Williams

from the Academy of Western Artists 1st Annual Cowboy Poetry/Songwriting Team Roping Challenge

and

All Trails Lead Home - Texas Version, by Doc Stovall and Charles Williams

which tied for first place in the 2005 Academy of Western Artists 2nd Annual Cowboy Poetry/Songwriting Team Penning Challenge

 

Recordings from Doc Stovall

The Place Where I Worship


2011

includes:

Cowboy Communion by Ed Bruce/Donnie Blanz
Far Side Banks of Jordan by Terry Allen
Fingerprints of God by Jim Bowman
In the Garden public domain
From the Rim of the Canyon public domain
Jesus Hold My Hand public domain
Reins of Glory by Gary Fjellgaard
Rockies from the Ground by Doc Stovall
Singer in the Band by Brad Fulk
The Place Where I Worship/The Cowboy's Prayer public domain and Badger Clark
The Saddle Preacher (poem) by Doc Stovall
The Unclouded Day public domain
When the Roundup's Over by Doc Stovall and Jerry Warren
Will There be Sagebrush in Heaven public domain

In the liner notes, Doc's performing partner Jerry Warren writes about how the CD came about:

In the spring of 2010, Doc's annual visit to his local vet revealed that a tune-up was needed for his ticker. After ordering a cardio repair kit and hiring a bluegrass fiddler to oversee the installation, I was told that the hardest part of the procedure was removing the outer bark and a crust that was an inch thick. He said he had to remove a yard of ego, two feed buckets of bravado and just a hint of BS. Upon completion an entirely different Doc survived; his refurbished heart beats easier as he sings his softer side in this spiritual compilation...
 

The Place Where I Worship is available for $18 postpaid from:

Margaret Stovall
4396 Bluebird Lane
Lithia, GA 30122


 

Passing it Down

The Songs of the West and Westward Expansion

includes:

If They Only Knew a Cowboy by Dan Roberts
Clementine  traditional
Get Along Little Dogies  traditional
She'll be Coming Round the Mountain  traditional
Home on the Range  traditional
Rodeo Joe by Doc Stovall
Red River Valley traditional
Ghost Chickens by Doc Stovall and Jerry Warren
A Cowboy's Dream  traditional
Tumbling Tumbleweeds by Bob Nolan
Got to Sleep, My little Buckaroo
by M. K. Jerome and Jack Scholl

Available for $18 postpaid from:

Margaret Stovall
4396 Bluebird Lane
Lithia, GA 30122

 

Recordings from Doc Stovall and Jerry Warren

Doc Stovall and Jerry Warren often perform together at festivals and gatherings. Jerry was the first poet east of the Mississippi to perform at Elko. They say they " . . . look at the West as our forefathers knew it from every perspective. The serious side depicts life as it was in the early days up 'til and including the present. The humorous side pokes fun at any and everything with nothing (particularly politics) off limits."  

Their most recent recording is Georgia Cowboys: Live at the Booth Western Art Museum, 78 minutes of music and poetry recorded in December 2003 before a live audience:

Contents:

Roundup in the Spring, traditional
Reflections, by Jerry Warren
Never Leave Texas, by Doc Stovall
Yellow Rose of Texas, traditional
No Yellow Rose in Texas, by Jerry Warren
Two Texans, by Jack DeWerff
Oh Texas, by Jerry Warren
Stampede, by Jerry Warren
Ghost Chickens, author unknown
Chicken Ranch, by Rod McQueary
First Baptist Bar and Grill, by Tim Wilson
Diving From a Horse, by Doc Stovall
The Painting, by Jerry Warren
When the Roundup's Over, by Jerry Warren and Doc Stovall
Price of Change, by Jerry Warren
Last Ride, by Doc Stovall
I'll Just Ride West, by Jerry Warren
I Miss John Wayne, by Brian Kennedy/Dan Roberts
Patriotic Close, by Katherine Bates, Jerry Warren/Francis S. Key

The CD is $20 postpaid from:

Margaret Stovall
4396 Bluebird Lane
Lithia, GA 30122

The Georgia Cowboy Poetry Gathering is co-sponsored by and held at the Booth Museum.  See our feature on that event here.

Another favorite here at the BAR-D is Back to the Campfire, which includes Doc's original works and beautiful renditions of "Streets of Laredo" and "Annie Laurie."


 

 

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