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Uncle Billie       photo courtesy Nell Daley, local gal

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Throughout the year, we're pleased to spread the news of new books and recordings. Following is a roundup of books and music taken from  our news announcements during 2008.

Listings are posted in general chronological order, most recent first.

Below you'll find:

Cowboy Poets and Cowboy Poetry
Books
Cowboy Poetry Recordings
Mixed Cowboy Poetry and Music Recordings

Western Music 
Western Music recordings

More
Books and Recordings of Western interest and beyond
 


Elsewhere at the BAR-D:

A selection of some standards in Cowboy Poetry and Western Music

New in 2009

New in 2007

New in 2006

New in 2005

New in 2004

Christmas books and music

Rick Huff's Best of the West Reviews

Jeri Dobrowski's Cowboy Jam Session

 

 

 

Your news and additions are always welcome.  Email us.

 

 


 

 

New in 2008: Books:  Cowboy Poetry and Stories

 

  A Prairie Prayer is a new collection of poems from North Dakota rancher and writer Bruce Roseland, whose previous book, The Last Buffalo, received the Wrangler award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City for “outstanding poetry book of 2006.”

He comments “My publisher subtitled this book "A Sequel to The Last Buffalo," and it is, indeed, a continuation of the material contained in my first book because I am still compelled to record the experiences with and observations about living on, and making a living from, this land that some view as desolate. I, however, see much of beauty and value all around me, and I’m convinced this way of life should be preserved in writing precisely because it sadly, may soon die out and fade from memory.”

Read selections and find the table of contents here in our feature about Bruce Roseland.

A Prairie Prayer is available for $12 from the North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies at the North Dakota State University in Fargo, where you can order by mail or phone 701-231-8338. The book is also available online at Barnes & Noble.com.

Posted 12/3


  The widely read poetry journal, RATTLE, "celebrates the poetry of the Western range" in its Winter, 2008 issue, with work by 24 cowboy and Western poets. Among those included are J.V. Brummels, Thea Gavin, D.W. Groethe, Al "Doc" Mehl, Rod Miller, Red Shuttleworth, Jeff Streeby, Larry D. Thomas, and Paul Zarzyski. The feature includes illustrations by Ciara Shuttleworth; the cover illustration, "Long Day," is by Mike Callahan.

Rod Miller contributes a far-reaching and provocative essay, "A Brief Introduction to Cowboy Poetry, or, Who's the Guy in the Big Hat and What is He Talking About?," which includes history of the genre and commentary on contemporary cowboy and Western poetry. He steps into the free verse fray, "So, when a Great Basin buckaroo like Rod McQueary, an experienced rodeo hand like Paul Zarzyski, a ranch woman like Linda Hasselstrom, or a ranch hand like DW Groethe chooses to describe cowboy life in words that don't rhyme (or meter) it's difficult to argue convincingly that what they're doing isn't cowboy poetry." He continues with the comment that "...cowboy poetry doesn't end with 'cowboy' poems....Which brings us back to Zarzyski, who has written about racism and the Holocaust. Wallace McRae has made poems about environmentalism and strip mining, Rod McQueary about war, DW Groethe about romantic spiritual connections, Doris Daley about answering machines and acronyms, Pat Richardson about ducks..."

The issue also includes Alan Fox' conversation with three-term Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. Among other subjects, Pinksy talks about writing and listening to poetry, the Favorite Poem Project (www.favoritepoem.org) he founded (the inspiration for our Favorite Western and Cowboy Poem Project), intellectual property rights, and how editors choose poems for publications: "...you pretty much inevitably are making mistakes; some of those people who think you have blundered are right...Sometimes something remarkable and distinguished will escape your notice. Sometimes you'll be fooled by something that looks good but is really just plausible. That's the nature of the process."

RATTLE's  Winter, 2008 issue includes an additional Alan Fox conversation, with Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey, 60 pages of open poetry, and the 11 winning poems from the 2008 Rattle Poetry Prize.

RATTLE publishes print issues each June and December, with 200 pages of poetry and essays, plus two interviews with contemporary poets. Electronic supplements in March and September are available as free PDF downloads, and there is a free e-newsletter. The RATTLE web site includes poetry, news and reviews.

The Winter, 2008 issue is available for $10, and is included in a subscription to RATTLE. Read more about the issue here and find order information at the RATTLE web site.

Posted 12/1


  Nebraska rancher and writer Willard Hollopeter has a new book, Lost Trails. He describes the book, "108 pages of original poetry, some humorous, some serious and some tear jerkin' sad. And factual stories. Some about wrecks, which weren't near as funny at the time of their happening. It has photos, some really old to go along with the 'Lost Trails' title, and some cartoon-type drawings."

The book includes historical and family photos (the cover photo is of Willard Hollopeter's grandfather and uncle) and illustrations by David Dorsey.

Read some of Willard Hollopeter's poetry here.

Lost Trails is available for $15.00 plus $2.00 postage from: Willard Hollopeter, HC 68 Box 13 Wood Lake, NE 69221.

Posted 10/3


  Baxter Black, top cowboy poet and humorist, describes his new book, The World According To Baxter Black: Quips, Quirks, & Quotes, as "...a collection of mental pictures, slippery alliterations, verbal hors d’oeuvres and a trail of broken consonants that may miss the point, but still lead you on to the next page."  From the official description:

This brand new 156 page hardcover book from Baxter is a crossbred collection of cowboy slight of hand, humor, and perspective. It’s filled with Baxter’s vaguely skewed philosophical observations, and heavily embellished with authentic cowboy cartoons by A-10! Start your day with laughter, as you read Baxter’s view on Golf, Punkin Roller Rodeos, Canine Time or Pestilence to name a few! Perfect for a quick shot of cowboy hilarity anytime!

Thoughts as deep as a boot heel in the mud, as handy as pockets in your underwear, and poignant as foxtail in a dog’s ear.  Does horseradish make fishes eyes water? Why do dogs roll in horse manure? And, why don’t cows have prehensile lips?

This little book will come short of making you think profound thoughts, and that’s not bad when you’re texting.

The enticing cover is illustrated by Becky Harvey, and inside are illustrations by top cowboy cartoonist "A-10" Etienne Etcheverry. 

The World According To Baxter Black: Quips, Quirks, & Quotes is available for $19.95 plus shipping from Baxter Black's web site, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 8/20


  JV Brummels' Book of Grass, a satisfying collection of his unique, vivid poems, earns praise from impressive quarters.

William Kloefkorn writes in the foreword, "... at heart Brummels is a rancher, and he is; but at heart he is also a gypsy who cannot resist the urge to go beyond that place he has sunk his roots so deeply into—“to find where / in the journey / the adventure is.” And I’d add that he is a clear-eyed realist, and a teacher, one who lives not only in the classroom and on the land, but who is likewise of them. Alongside his students he is a learner, and the boots he wears more often than not have manure on them. His language derives from both the muck and the sweet clover he walks through..."

Poet Paul Zarzyski comments, "The sonorous essence of rural America, Jim Brummels’ storytelling voice elucidates, once and for all, 'that the wild/geography we long to learn always lies just within.' And if we’re fortunate enough to locate it, like, say, finding dynamite 'by match-light in the shed,' we’ll realize that it’s comprised of an almost infinite diversity of landscapes and landmarks. Book of Grass (call it 'cowboy poetry' and/or call it 'cosmos poetry') guides us, moves us, physically, emotionally, spirituallyeast, west, north, south, outward and, especially 'within'through country we’ve seldom, if ever, covered. In short, we’re talking the gospel of unfenced ground, of the wireless wide-open. Jim’s poems speak truth into all lives, into all deaths, into every deep belief in the hereafter."

Read more about about JV Brummels and his poetry in our feature here.

Book of Grass is available for $14 postpaid from www.loganhousepress.com, Amazon, and by mail: Logan House, Route 1, Box 154, Winside, NE  68790.

Posted 8/12 


  Jonah, a collaboration between cowboy poet Andy Nelson and photographer Nikki Mann, offers readers a vast and engaging perspective on a part of the American working West—a place where the past and present converge in a microcosm of pertinence—through impressive and complementary images and words. The Jonah Infill Drilling Project, taking its name from geographic features (Jonah Gulch, Jonah Ridge, and Jonah Reservoir), is natural gas drilling site in south-central Sublette County, Wyoming.  From the book's description:

From cowboy poet Andy Nelson and photographer Nikki Mann comes a unique look into a small section of desert in western Wyoming called the Jonah Field. Jonah documents an area where wildlife, ranching, history and industry all come together. Sometimes they coexist in peace, sometimes they don't; sometimes one aspect benefits another, and sometimes it doesn't.

Jonah is a stunning photographic chronicle of an ever-changing landscape and a poignant poetic insight to an ever-changing heritage.

Nikki Mannphotographer, journalist, horsepacker, farrier, and field biologistwrites that "The idea for this book began while driving one of the hundreds of roads in Jonah. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a cowboy come riding up from behind the truck. He was looking for some lost cows, in the same manner that cowboys have been looking for lost cows in Jonah and the surrounding landscape for generations...Jonah was once a sea where Alligatoroids swam 40 million years ago. It was a place where prehistoric people hunted with arrowheads, where cattle roamed without fences and is now where natural gas is drilled from beneath the surface to heat homes around the West."

In addition to its photography and poetry, the book includes historic and geographic information, a "roughneck glossary," and a "cowboy dictionary."

Read more about Andy Nelson and read some of his poetry in our feature here.

Jonah is available for $38 postpaid from Andy Nelson, PO Box 1547, Pinedale WY 82941; (307) 367-2842; www.cowpokepoet.com/publications.html.

Updated 7/31


  Somewhere in the West by Texas poet and writer Linda Kirkpatrick is the third in a semi-annual chapbook series (Volume 2, No. 2, June 2008). Carrying on the title from her popular collection of stories and poems, her chapbooks’ topics are devoted to “the history of the West and those who played an important role in making it."

 

The latest volume's feature story, "A Pig’s Tale, Feral Hogs of the Frio Canyon," is accompanied by the poetry of the late Texas Poet Laureate Carlos Ashley and Montana’s DW Groethe, photos, historical information, interesting recipes, and colorful tales of "hog hunters" of Real County. The cover incorporates the art of Pat Richardson.

 

The previous chapbook's feature story is "The Mysterious Yellow Rose of Texas," an exploration of the history of the famous song and its place in Texas history. Engrossing biographies of several important figures accompany versions of lyrics (including the first-known, circa 1835), along with engravings and a bibliography. 

The feature story for the premiere volume is "Conflict in the Frio Canyon; The Incident at the McLaurin Ranch," accompanied by a bibliography and vintage photos; her poem, "Conflict in the Frio Canyon"; and classic poetry by Bruce Kiskaddon, "Graves by the Side of the Trail."

 

The chapbooks, in authentic vintage style, also include a list of rare, old, and out-of-print books and more available from her Frontier Book Store. The chapbooks are available for $10.00 postpaid each ($25 for the set of three) from Frontier Books, P.O. Box 128, Leakey, Texas 78873; www.lindakirkpatrick.net.

 

Posted 7/14 


  Cowboy Miner Productions has announced the publication of the poetry of respected poet Ray Owens (1934-2007), Tracks That Won't Blow Out. The 248-page hardcover book also includes illustrations and photographs. Rolf Flake, Red Steagall, Joel Nelson, add their endorsements for Ray Owens' work. Red Steagall comments, "In this presentation, Ray brings us a picture of a young man's pride in 'The
Saddle His Granddaddy Rode,' the goodness of heart in 'Good Sam Mary,' and the pride of accomplishment in 'A Tour Around The Homeplace.'"

(This release was announced earlier this year, but there was a publication delay.)

Read some of Ray Owens' poetry in our feature here.

Tracks That Won't Blow Out is available for $30 postpaid by mail from Verna Owens, 1305 E. Castleberry Road, Artesia, NM 88210; or phone 575-746-3694; or here on line from www.cowboyminer.com.

Posted 6/17


  California's Janice Gilbertson has a gem of a new collection of poems, Sometimes, in the Lucias. Finely crafted— inside and out—the poetry resonates with a deep sense of place, of the Santa Lucia mountains that she calls home.

Poet, author, and editor Rod Miller comments on the book, "Lots of cowboy poems, even good ones, come across as the observations of the poet—and outside-looking-in view of the subject. Janice Gilbertson's poems are almost the opposite. They seem to grow from within the subject, as if the poem is inside the subject, or is the subject, giving readers a deeper sense of a place, a moment, a feeling..."

Respected poet Virginia Bennett provides a foreword, in which she writes, "These mountains, canyons and cattle trails all harbor secrets worth telling. This land deserves a voice, and that voice belongs, in part, to Janice Gilbertson." Read the entire foreword here, along with the book's table of contents.

The book, which also includes photos and drawings by Janice Gilbertson, is beautifully designed by Betty Rodgers of BK Publications, Eagle, Idaho (designer Vince Pedroia's 2007 book, A Mano).

Janice Gilbertson's work has appeared in print and audio anthologies and in publications, She was an invited performer to the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 2004. Read more about Sometimes, in the Lucias here, along with some of Janice Gilbertson's poetry.

Sometimes, in the Lucias is available for $17 postpaid from: Janice Gilbertson, 43345 Canyon Creek Rd., King City, CA 93930; email.

Posted 6/9


  The poems in John Dofflemyer's tenth collection, Poems from Dry Creek, are deeply rooted in place, a place where his family has ranched since soon after the California gold rush. He writes in the book's notes:

After forty years of harvesting grass with cattle, what I know most of all are the things I have learned within this watershed, watching for weather harbingers and observing and inspecting intertwined relationships that beg to be personified.

Poet Gary Snyder (recent recipient of the Poetry Foundation's Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize) comments on Poems From Dry Creek, "...a diverse set of poems really, political, personal, historical, in the moment. Reminding me again it's not that there need be a 'cowboy' poetry but, as we move toward it, a poetry of work and daily life and the land..."

The book includes new and selected poems, including some that have been published in John Dofflemyer's engaging blog, Dry Crik Journal, Perspectives from the Ranch, hosted on the Western Folkife Center web site. In that blog, regular posts follow his work and daily life and include poetry, commentary, and observations. Robin Dofflemyer's photography is found throughout. "Home" and "John Cutler's Cowboys" on the blog are examples of two of the poems included in Poems from Dry Creek.

John Dofflemyer's Dry Crik Press has published books by Laurie Wagner Buyer, Rod McQueary, Paul Zarzyski, and others, and published the respected journal, Dry Crik Review of Contemporary Cowboy Poetry. A publication for serious writers and readers, Dry Crik Review was published from 1991-1994. See our feature about Dry Crik Review of Contemporary Cowboy Poetry here, which includes an index of all issues. A "lost" issue is published on the Dry Crik Journal blog, which also has a list of available back issues.

Poems from Dry Creek is available for $17 postpaid from John Dofflemyer, P.O. Box 44320, Lemon Cove, CA 93244.

Winner of the Western Heritage Wrangler Award
from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Posted 5/7


  Texas A&M University Press Consortium has published New and Selected Poems by 2008 Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas, the fourth volume in the TCU Texas Poets Laureate Series.

The publisher comments. "... Thomas explores the natural world of Texas—its animal icons like the Hereford or hawk or rattlesnake, the larger-than-life geography, which is the stuff out of which legends are made..." Read more at the Texas A&M University Press Consortiun web site.

The 96-page book is available for $15.95 from the publisher, Amazon, and other book sources.

Read some of Larry D. Thomas' poetry here at the BAR-D.

Visit Larry D. Thomas' web site, where you can find audio of his work and more about him and his poetry.

Posted 5/5


  Montana ranch hand DW Groethe has collected 30 recent poems in a chapbook, My Father's Horses. A frequent participant at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, he has performed his poetry and songs at events across the West, and at the Library of Congress and Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. His previous book, West River Waltz, received the Will Rogers Medallion Award.

The title poem in My Father's Horses is included on the forthcoming edition of The BAR-D Roundup. The recording is from a session at the 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which you can listen to in a cybercast from the Western Folklife Center (the final "Hooves of the Horses" program).

My Father's Horses is available for $15 postpaid from D. W. Groethe, PO Box 144, Bainville, MT 59212; 406/769-2312.

Posted 2/11


  Texas poet and writer Linda Kirkpatrick has a new edition of her chapbook, the second in a semi-annual series (Volume 2, No. 1, January 2008). Carrying on the name from her award-winning collection of stories and poems (Cowboy Miner, 2002), the Somewhere in the West chapbooks are published in January and June, and "Topics are devoted to the history of the West and those who played an important role in making it," The most recent volume includes a feature story, "The Mysterious Yellow Rose of Texas," which explores the history of the famous song and its place in Texas history. Engrossing biographies of several important figures accompany versions of lyrics (including the first-known, circa 1835), engravings, and a bibliography. The chapbook, in authentic vintage style, also includes a list of rare, old, and out-of-print books and more available from her Frontier Book Store.

The feature story for the previous Volume 1, No. 1, was "Conflict in the Frio Canyon; The Incident at the McLaurin Ranch," accompanied by a bibliography and vintage photos; her poem, "Conflict in the Frio Canyon"; and classic poetry by Bruce Kiskaddon, "Graves by the Side of the Trail."

 
Read more about Linda Kirkpatrick and some of her poetry here at CowboyPoetry.com.
 
The Somewhere in the West chapbooks are available for $7.00 postpaid each from Linda Kirkpatrick at Frontier Books, P.O. Box 128, Leakey, Texas 78873. 

Posted 2/7



New in 2008: Cowboy Poetry recordings, CDs and DVDs

 

  Award-winning Alberta poet Doris Daley's new CD, Beneath a Western Sky, includes "'A Baxter of Blacks,' 'Average Girl,' 'Dancing with the Stars,' 'Firefighters,' 'What is a Westerner,' '100 Years from Now,' plus many more, including two guest appearances from my songwriting partner Eli Barsi."  See the entire track list here.

"Average Girl" will appear on the 2009 edition of The BAR-D Roundup.

As her bio tells:

Doris Daley grew up leaning into the Chinook winds of Southern Alberta. Her great grandfather came west with the North West Mounted Police in the 1870s; her family has been ranching in the Alberta foothills for five generations.  She can bake a pie, recite the alphabet backwards, catch fish, get the gate, hobble your horse, build a fire, write a poem, be the tenth caller in, and hum the theme songs to Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel. A featured entertainer and emcee throughout the west, she and her husband Bob, an Orvis-endorsed fishing guide, live on the Bow River near Calgary.

Doris has been an emcee and featured performer at every cowboy festival in Canada and several in the U.S., including gatherings in Nevada, Texas, California, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Oregon.  In 2001 she was invited to perform at a command performance for Canada's Governor General, amazing her friends and astonishing her relatives. In 2004, she received the Will Rogers Award for the Top Female Poet by the Academy of Western Artists.

Read more and some of Doris Daley's poetry in our feature here.

Beneath a Western Sky is available for $20 (Canadian) and $15 (US), plus postage. Order from www.DorisDaley.com, ddaley@telusplanet.net; (403) 933-4434.

Posted 11/25


  South Dakota poet Slim McNaught's CD, Reminiscin', includes eleven tracks of cowboy poetry written and recited by Slim McNaught, with background music and sound effects. Music and singing is by Joel Gothard, and the CD was recorded and published by Prairie Sage Publishing, Lew Vasquez, Gillette, Wyoming.

Slim notes that the cover "picture of me on the horse was taken in 1949 and that horse is a full brother to the mare in the poem 'Tom Cat Wreck,' who was a year older." See the entire track list here and listen to all tracks at CDBaby.

Read some of Slim's poetry here at CowboyPoetry.com and at his MySpace page, where there are audio tracks.

Reminiscin' is available for $18.50 postpaid from Slim's web site, CDBaby, or by mail: Slim McNaught, P.O. Box 274, New Underwood, SD 57761; 605-754-6103.

Posted 10/8


  Colorado poet Slim Farnsworth's new CD, Cows Are People Too, includes 17 tracks of cowboy poetry, including "Directions," "The Big City Cattle Buyer," "The End of the Trail," "Little Green Men at the Bar T Ranch," "Bovine CPR," "The Toast," "Cowboy Math," and more.

Read some of Slim Farnsworth's poetry here and at his web site.

Cows Are People Too is available for $18 postpaid from: West Elk Cowboy Company, 199 SW 12th Street, Cedaredge, CO 81413, 970-856-3690, www.slimfarnsworthcowboypoetry.com

Posted 10/7


Arizona poet Mike Dunn has released a second CD of his original poetry, Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth—Volume #2. The twelve original poems are accompanied by the music of Ken & Lyn Mikell. See the track list and read some of Mike Dunn's poetry here.

Mike Dunn's book with the same title, Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth, received the Will Rogers Medallion Award.

Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth—Volume #2 is available for $18 postpaid from  Linda's Letters & Publications, 3045 N. Lemon
Mesa, Arizona, 85215.

Posted 9/3


California poet J.D. Seibert has a new CD, Cowboy Poetry, with "15 new, original poems on it accompanied by sound effects and original music." The CD is available for $15 postpaid from: J. D. Seibert, 35417 Anthony Rd., Agua Dulce CA 91390, (661) 904-3958; jdseibertcowboypoet@gmail.com.

Find track samples at his web site, www.jdseibertcowboypoet.com.

Posted 8/4


  Missouri poet and writer Jerry Schleicher has a new CD of cowboy poetry, The Missouri Matador. From the official announcement:

Missouri cowboy poet and humorist Jerry Schleicher has released The Missouri Matador, his debut CD introducing 15 humorous cowboy and country poems that revel in the funny side of rural life.

The CD opens with the title track, "The Missouri Matador," a hilarious tale about a Missouri cattleman and an old range bull that falls in love. "Gimme Caps" explains the real reason farmers don't dress like ranchers, and "Leadin' the Tour" shows what can happen when a busload of school kids visit a dairy farm. The CD also contains laugh-out-loud poems about country dogs, barnyard cats, 4-H calves on the loose, cowboy bug tales, women poker players, and more.

A member of the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association who performs at events across Nebraska, Missouri and Texas, Jerry is also a magazine journalist and PR consultant, and writes a country humor column for GRIT magazine. His humorous poetry frequently draws on his experiences growing up on a crop and cattle operation in western Nebraska.

"I like to take a cockeyed look at the funny side of farming and ranching and rural life," says Jerry. "Instead of writing poetry about ropin' and ridin' and roundups, I write about country cafes, road hunters, washboard county roads, reluctant milk cows and mutant grasshoppers.

Read more and some of Jerry Schleicher's poetry here.

The Missouri Matador is available for $15 postpaid from Jerry Schleicher, 8515 Lakeview Drive, Parkville, MO 64152; gschleicher1@kc.rr.com.

Posted 7/2


  Canadian poet and songwriter Mag Mawhinney describes her new CD, Passin' it On:

Passin' it On is an expression of my western roots and experiences I’ve had along the trail. It contains 31 tracks, 27 of which are original western/cowboy poems (well…I liked them all!) and 4 original songs, sung by award-winning singer/co-writer, Abe Zacharias. The poems, both serious and humorous, are set to music by Juno-nominated composer/producer, David K. Two of the poems have won awards: “Winter Range” and “Those Who Have Gone Before.”

See the track list here and find some of Mag Mawhinney's poetry here at the BAR-D.

Passin' it On is available for $20 postpaid from Mag Mawhinney, 835 Chapman Rd., Cobble Hill, B.C., Canada V0R 1L4; mvmawhinney@shaw.ca. Find additional information at www.magmawhinney.com (where you can listen to samples) and www.davidk.biz.

Posted 5/20


  CowboyPoetry.com and the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry presents the the third annual edition of The BAR-D Roundup.

The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three showcases contemporary and traditional works, including Robert Service's vintage recording of "The Cremation of Sam McGee"; the poetry of past Texas Poet Laureate Red Steagall, National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow Wallace McRae, and Montana Governor’s Arts Award for Literature recipient Paul Zarzyski; noted reciters Randy Rieman, Ross Knox, and Jerry Brooks presenting classic poems by Henry Herbert Knibbs, D. J. O'Malley, and Badger Clark; a third annual selection from Grass, the master work of the late Buck Ramsey, an NEA National Heritage Fellow, recognized as the modern spiritual leader of the genre; and eighteen additional offerings from today’s top poets and reciters, including Joel Nelson, Ken Cook, Doris Daley, DW Groethe, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Paul Kern, Linda Kirkpatrick (reciting a Bruce Kiskaddon poem), Deanna Dickinson McCall, Andy Nelson, Susan Parker (reciting an A. V. Hudson poem), Pat Richardson, Georgie Sicking, Bill Siems (reciting a Curley Fletcher poem), Jay Snider (reciting a Luther A. Lawhon poem), Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, Hal Swift (reciting a James Barton Adams poem), Mick Vernon (reciting an S. Omar Barker poem), and Smoke Wade. The CD includes a radio Public Service (PSA) Announcement by Francie Ganje, radio broadcaster and director of the Heritage of the American West show.

The CD cover is a photo of Perry Preston ("P. P.") Dickinson, circa 1912, Texas cowboy. Perry Preston was the grandfather of Deanna Dickinson McCall, and great grandfather of poets and reciters Rusty McCall and Katie-McCall Owens.

 

The BAR-D Roundup CDs create a growing cowboy poetry archive. CDs are offered to libraries in the Rural Library Project, an important Cowboy Poetry Week outreach program that fulfills our mission to serve the rural Western population. CowboyPoetry.com, Cowboy Poetry Week and the Rural Library Project are programs of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry. Center supporters at the Partner level and above receive the CD (and the Cowboy Poetry Week poster by William Matthews). The CD is also available for $20. There's a special offer for the 2007 and 2007 CDs.

 

Read more about the CD, including on-line notes for each track, in our feature  here.

 

Posted 4/14


Australian poet and balladeer Merv Webster describes his latest CD, The Storyteller:

Storytelling goes back as far as the first inhabitants of a Nation and the storytellers often used the fire to share them around.  Whether it be through the medium of verse, ballads or yarns it is still enjoyed by many folk all around the world today. Cowboy poetry and bush verse are included. I figured that for my sixth album I would make it a combination of original songs and poems. Some of the songs and poems featured include, "Boondooma's Balladeer," "So Many Roadside Epitaphs," "The Oriental Cure," "The Ballad of Faylene Anderson," "Bluey's Reflections," "The Wallet," "Old Jacko in the City," "Flowers on a Friday," "Keeping the Culture," "Something For Our Stevie,"
"Caravanning Mayhem," "That Motel Whiskey Dream," "The Lady in the Locket," "The Payday Dilemma" and "Where's the
Water Gone?"  I invited my daughter Meagen to sing "Flowers on a Friday" and "The Lady in the Locket." This collection of poems and songs reflect the laughter and tears of life today. 
It is available from me, thegrey@tpg.com.au, for $25 (AUS) postpaid. Contact me for PayPal.

Read some of Merv Webster's poetry and more about him here and at his web site, where you can hear samples from The Storyteller.

Posted 4/11


  Bob Schild, Idaho poet, saddle maker, and former rodeo champion, describes his new CD, Lazy SB Poetry, as "poems of humor, heartache and horse sense, based on a life in ranch, rodeo and roughhouse and polished by half a century in cowboy poetry." The "Lazy S" was Bob's registered horse brand. The CD includes 17 original poems and another with an interesting back story. See the entire track list here.

Bob Schild was invited to the  Western Folklife Center's first National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985, and nine additional times. He recently returned from an appearance at the 24th annual event. Read some of his poetry and more about him in our feature here.

Lazy SB Poetry is available for $18 postpaid from B Bar B Leather, P.O. Box 478, Blackfoot, Idaho 83221; www.bbarbleather.com.

Posted 3/11


  The forthcoming 2008 edition of The BAR-D Roundup includes a rare recording of Robert Service reciting "The Cremation of Sam McGee ."

The recording is from Robert Service in Person; The Bard of the Yukon CD, which includes Robert Service reciting "The Spell of the Yukon," "The Shooting of Dan McGrew," and "The Cremation of Sam McGee." The 1948 recordings were discovered by radio broadcaster Gene Kern, who introduces the recordings on the CD and tells how they came to be.

The Robert Service in Person; The Bard of the Yukon CD is available from www.reason-for-hope.com. Read more here at their web site. The CD is $18 postpaid, but CowboyPoetry.com visitors can email stuart@lightspeed.ca and quote discount code CP01 to buy the CD for $10 postpaid. The company also offers a discount on all of its DVDs ($12.50 postpaid) with the same discount code information for CowboyPoetry.com visitors.

Posted 3/10


  Nevada poet Hal Swift has issued six CDs of poetry with various themes: Bunkhouse Poems and Tall Tales; Campfire Poems and Twilight Tales; Goin' fer the Mail; Holiday Poems; Waco Walmsley, Cowboy Curmudgeon; and What Was it Like Back Then?

See the track lists for each CD here and read some of Hal Swift's poetry here at the BAR-D.

Each CD is available for $10 postpaid from Hal Swift at: 632 #1 Pine Meadows Drive, Sparks, NV 89431

Posted 3/7


  Texas poet Bob Upchurch describes his CD, Poems from the Porch Swing, as "country poetry with a spiritual twist."  Bits of wisdom, "more truth than poetry," are sprinkled between the ten original poems. The CD was recorded and produced by Waynetta Ausmus. You can hear audio samples and read more about Bob Upchurch, his alpacas, and his poetry at his web site: www.boisdarcacres.com.

Poems from the Porch Swing is available for $15 postpaid from Bob Upchurch, 2288 County Road 2998, Windom, Texas 75492.

Posted 1/4


  Utah poet Paul Kern describes his new cowboy poetry CD:

Rimrock—Where Memories Rhyme (Hopelessly Romantic Cowboy Poetry) is an autobiographical ride through mists of time.  It begins with my earliest memories on horseback "At Codding's Place" continues on through my teenage years "When the Coyote Calls Down Moonlit Dreams," and then proceeds on to marriage "As I Bridle in the Morning," work "Only a Cattleman Knows" and children "A Cowboy's Pay." It deals with aging parents "On Smokey Before I Go" and throws in a little mirth "Sunday Drivers" as well as life lessons learned along the way in "A Horse Camp has a Rhythm of Chores" and "Sign of the Grass"  The poetry is set to music performed by Shaun Harris Studios and includes the original Crawford Gates arrangement of "As Evening Sets on the Yellowstone" sung by Cliff Cole. Cover photos by Cindy Furse were taken during our annual buffalo roundup. This is not exactly your typical cowboy poetry CD. It was produced for family and close friends with whom I have shared these experiences, but others have enjoyed it as well. Rimrock—Where Memories Rhyme can be ordered here.

See the complete track list here, where you can also read more about Paul and read some of his poetry.

Posted 1/3 


New in 2008:  Mixed Cowboy Poetry and Music Recordings

 

  Kansas poet and singer/songwriter Roger Ringer's CD, Song of Wyoming, includes 7 songs (one original collaboration by Roger Ringer and Jim Farrell) and three original poems.

The CD was produced by Jim Farrell and songs are backed by Jim, Stu, and Steve of the Diamond W Wranglers. 

Song of Wyoming is available for $18.00 postpaid from Roger Ringer, 1374 NE Goldenrod, Medicine Lodge, KS, 67104 or bunkhouse@havilandtelco.com.

Posted 12/29


  Top singer, songwriter, and Texas Poet Laureate Red Steagall launches the Christmas season with a CD of poetry and music, A Cow Camp Christmas. Red comments on his first commercial seasonal album, "It includes songs from some of America's great musical and lyrical minds and it is held together by the musical talents of some of the finest musicians..." It includes three poems, including the late Ray Owens' "When the Parson Went to Church" and S. Omar Barker's "Cowboy's Christmas Prayer," and seven songs from songwriters including RW Hampton, Andy Wilkinson, Fletcher Jowers, and the late Larry McWhorter's "I'll Meet You at the Throne." Musicians include Rich and Valerie O'Brien. See the entire track list here and visit www.RedSteagall.com for more information.

A Cow Camp Christmas is available for $16.95 plus postage from here from Red Steagall's mercantile.

Winner of the Western Heritage Wrangler Award
from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Posted 12/8


Texas poet, singer and songwriter Joe Green has a new release, JOE GREEN Texas Original Live. From the official announcement:

Released October 2008, JOE GREEN Texas Original Live presents one of the West's favorite cowboy entertainers sharing original cowboy poetry, stories and songs with an enthusiastic studio audience. The twenty three tracks are all original, except for a couple of western favorites, "Don't Fence Me In" and "Miles and Miles of Texas." The wonderful western swing singer, Carolyn Martin, adds her rendition of "Vaya Con Dios" for an extra treat. You can see video selections from the show at www.youtube.com/joeagreen1.

You can purchase Joe's CD on-line at Joe Baker's www.BackFortyBunkhouse.com for $15.00 with no charge for mailing or at http://cdbaby.com/cd/greenjoe2 for $12.97 plus postage. If you don't do the on-line thing, call Joe Green at (615) 305-6165. Joe will send you the CD for $15.00 with no charge for mailing. Joe will even sign it if you like!

Visit Joe's web site at: www.tengallonrecords.com.

Posted 10/29


  Oklahoma/Arkansas cowboy, bootmaker, and entertainer Paul Harris' new CD, Paul Harris, includes seven songs and four poems. Preview some of the songs and poems at his MySpace Page.

Read Rick Huff's review of the CD here.

The Paul Harris CD is available for $18 postpaid from www.myspace.com/tmf3ph, and by mail from Wood Western Music, HC 63 Box 18C,
Saratoga, WY, 82331.

Posted 10/9


  New Mexico cowboy, poet, singer and songwriter Mike Moutoux's new CD, Spirits Still Remain, includes 8 poems and 4 songs. Mike says, "This is my fourth CD and includes many of the audience favorites folks have been hearing the last year."

 

See the track list here along with some of Mike's poetry. Visit his web site for more.

 

Spirits Still Remain is available for $17 postpaid from Mike Moutoux, PO Box 53114, Pinos Altos, NM 88053; www.enchantingcowboy.com.

 

Posted 7/18


The Golden Spike Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival produced a compilation CD of cowboy poetry and Western music by artists who took part in the 2008 event. Included are tracks by Don Kennington, Jan Erickson, Bob Christensen, STAMPEDE!, Bob Urry, Blue Sage, Stan Tixier, Richard Olsen, Sam DeLeeuw, Latigo, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Coyotee Moon, Fall River Boys, Robin Arnold, Kortnee Urry, Saddlestrings, Jerry Brooks ("Brooksie"), Matt Urry, Curly Musgrave and Belinda Gail, Smoke Wade, and Phil Kennington.

See the entire track list here, along with Jo Lynne Kirkwood's report about the first annual event, which was held in May, 2008.

The Golden Spike Festival CD is available for $12 postpaid from Vaneta Stephens, Enable Industries Inc., 2640 Industrial Drive, Ogden, UT 84401.

Posted 5/29


  Canadian poet and songwriter Mag Mawhinney describes her new CD, Passin' it On:

Passin' it On is an expression of my western roots and experiences I’ve had along the trail. It contains 31 tracks, 27 of which are original western/cowboy poems (well…I liked them all!) and 4 original songs, sung by award-winning singer/co-writer, Abe Zacharias. The poems, both serious and humorous, are set to music by Juno-nominated composer/producer, David K. Two of the poems have won awards: “Winter Range” and “Those Who Have Gone Before.”

See the track list here and find some of Mag Mawhinney's poetry here at the BAR-D.

Passin' it On is available for $20 postpaid from Mag Mawhinney, 835 Chapman Rd., Cobble Hill, B.C., Canada V0R 1L4; mvmawhinney@shaw.ca. Find additional information at www.magmawhinney.com (where you can listen to samples) and www.davidk.biz.

Posted 5/20


From Jerry Schleicher:

Old Cowboys Never Die is the title of the newest CD of country gospel music and cowboy poetry of faith and humor from Steven Spalding, a country pastor, family therapist, singer/songwriter and member of the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association from Lebanon, Missouri. The CD opens with the original country gospel songs, "Back When the Cowboy was King," and the title track, "Old Cowboys Never Die," before segueing into a collection of inspirational and humorous cowboy poetry including "Cowboy's Prayer," "Binder Twine," and "Taters." Offering thirteen tracks, this professionally-produced CD showcases Steven's smooth vocals and skilled guitar work, and easily reflects the musical talent that led him to earn three CMA award nominations in 1979 for Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist, and Single Record of the Year.

Old Cowboys Never Die is available for $17 postpaid. To order it and other CDs and books by Spalding, and to learn about his Circle S Ministry, visit his website at circlesministries.org; Circle S Ministry, 25569 Highway 32, Lebanon, MO 65536.

Posted 5/15


Arizona poet, songwriter, and singer Sally Harper Bates' new CD, The Canyons of My Heart, includes 14 new cowboy songs, 3 gospel songs, and 8 poems. She comments, "Most of the songs are family history or stories about friends and personal incidents. Canyons of My Heart seems to hold what has been hidden in the canyons of my heart until it found its way into this album."

The Canyons of My Heart is available for $18.85 postpaid from Sally Bates, P.O. Box 2814, Chino Valley AZ 86323.

Posted 3/4

 


 

 

New in 2008:  Western Music recordings

 

  New Mexico's Jim Jones, recipient of the Academy of Western Artists Will Rogers Cowboy award for Best Male Western Vocalist of 2008, has a new CD, Still Ridin'. The thirteen tracks include writing collaborations with Les Buffham, Allan Chapman, Blaine McIntyre, Ross Knox, Jon Messenger and Susan Clark.

Jim quips, "I was going to write a song about the secret of life which is, of course...KEEP BREATHING! I couldn't figure out how to make it cowboy, though, so I wrote the song 'Still Ridin'' instead. Here's to all of you who keep gettin' back up after you get knocked down."

Still Ridin' is available from CDBaby. Read more about Jim and his five previous CDs at his web site: www.jimjonesmusic.com.

Posted 12/12


  Popular singer and songwriter Terri Taylor of STAMPEDE! (www.saddlepalmusic.com) has released a solo CD, The Cowgirl Way. The title song was sparked by "The Cowboy Way" by Riders in the Sky. Terri comments, "We always hear about the "Cowboy Way" for this and that and I had never heard of anything that would be the cowGIRL way....hence, the song...."  Vintage photos and bandana designs make for an attractive package for a CD that includes songs for and about people who have inspired her, and other tracks that reflect her love of the West and her warm and energetic spirit.

The Cowgirl Way is available for $17 postpaid from Terri Taylor/STAMPEDE!, PO Box 944, Roy, UT 84067; www.saddlepalmusic.com.

Posted 12/9


  Around the Campfire radio host, songwriter, and musician Marvin O'Dell has produced The Silver Screen Cowboy Project, a two-CD set of "24 original songs about the silver screen cowboys like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, Rex Allen, Lash LaRue, Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, Gabby Hayes, Monte Hale, John Wayne and many others that will take you on a nostalgic trip to yesteryear. This album features 20 of the finest contemporary cowboy/western singers and includes the work of today’s great western music songwriters and musicians."

Performers include Tom Hiatt, Curly Musgrave, Dave Stamey, Marvin O'Dell, Bill Barwick, Journey West, Les Gilliam, Brian Golbey, Dan Roberts, Tom & Donna Hatton, Earl Gleason, Way Out West, Doc Stovall, Kip Calahan, Hank Cramer, Jim Jones, Teresa O'Dell, Joe Baer, and Buckshot Dot. See the entire list here in our feature about Marvin O'Dell and Around the Campfire.

The Silver Screen Cowboy Project is available for $24.95 postpaid from Marvin O'Dell, 1617 W. Paseo de la Palma, Palm Springs, CA  92264,  805-551-4649;  www.musikode.com/products.html.

Posted 12/4


  California's popular Trails & Rails (www.trailsandrails.net)—Paula Strong, Walt Richards, Bruce Huntington, and Ken Wilcox—new CD, Water, Weeds & Ghosts, is a collection of 26 tracks of cowboy "standards that people have been singing for the last 60-100 years...from the cowboys who sang on night herd, the Tin Pan Alley writers and the performers who sang on stage, and the silver screen stars who sang on celluloid."

Trails & Rails is a finalist in five categories for the 2008 Western Music Association Awards (Traditional Group; Traditional Album, Ghosts of Tombstone; Song, "Thinkin' 'Bout Montana"; Instrumentalist, Walt Richards; and Best Collaboration of Poet and Musician, Walt Richards and Les Buffham for "Thinkin' 'Bout Montana."

Water, Weeds & Ghosts is available for $17 postpaid from Trails & Rails, 5750 Amaya Drive, Unit 9, La Mesa, CA 91942; www.trailsandrails.net; you can listen to samples and order from CDBaby; and also find their music at Apple iTunes.

Posted 11/4


  The incomparable music historian and folk singer Katie Lee (www.katydoodit.com) has released Katie Lee Sings Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle, a CD collection of 28 songs from her modern classic book, Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle, A History of the American Cowboy in Song, Story and Verse. The songs are played and sung by Katie Lee, Travis Edmonson, Earl Edmonson and Will Holt. The CD includes the complete liner notes—filled with facts, stories, and colorful backgroundfrom the original double LP record.

Among the songs included on the recording are Gail I. Gardner's "The Sierry Petes"; Badger Clark's "Spanish is the Lovin' Tongue," "A Cowboy's Prayer" and "Roundup Lullaby"; Frank Desprez' "Lasca"; Henry Herbert Knibbs' "Boomer Johnson"; Lillian Bos Ross' "The South Coast"; "Empty Cot in the Bunkhouse"; "Little Joe the Wrangler's Sister Nell"; and the title song.

Katie Lee Sings Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle is available for $20.  Read more about it and about Katie Lee at her web site.

Posted 9/22
 


  It may be necessary to start calling them Wylie & the Wild Wild Wild West, with the release of the band's 14th album, Hang-n-Rattle!. One of today's most innovative Western songwriters, band leader Wylie Gustafson collaborated with "rodeo poet" Paul Zarzyski on a number of songs for this CD. What results is a collection of bold and dazzling breadth. The two have collaborated previously, with "Saddle Broncs and Sagebrush" on Wylie & the Wild West's Hooves of the Horses and with the unforgettable "Rodeo to the Bone" on Bucking Horse Moon.

The wild and provocative title track sets the bar high, and not one of the twelve songs that follow disappoint. "Ain't No Life after Rodeo" is electric, "Cryin' Hole Blues" gives what it promises, there is the intricate "Grace," and the exquisitely heart-breaking "A Pony Called Love." Wylie's solo songwriting and composing talents shine in "I Get High" and "Blue Mountain Serenade"—neither of which could have been written by anyone else. His brave and masterful "Lasca" captures the ache and essence of the great classic poem. The album is a listener's banquet.

Hang-n-Rattle! was produced by John Carter Cash and the outstanding backup musicians (Dennis Crouch, Mike Fried, Hoot Hester, John McTigue III, Jeff Taylor, and Mark Thornton) and Gretchen Peters' vocals (beautifully haunting on  "A Pony Called Love") make the album shine with the highest level of excellence. Paul Zarzyski even gets credit for vocals and "spur licks." Wylie has never been in better voice.

And, as they say on late-night TV: Wait, there's more! A hidden track at the album's end, Paul Zarzyski's "Bob Dylan Bronc Song" is sure to attract its own legion of fans. Paul says that he had been working on the piece for some time, inspired by having ridden the bronc, "Whiskey Talks," in the same arena where Bob Dylan had performed. When he saw a photo of Bob Dylan, signed to Johnny Cash, at the Cash Cabin studio, he said it was "A beautiful moment of synchronicity," making the poem a clear choice for the hidden track (see some photos from the recording sessions here at Paul Zarzyski's web site).

Hang-n-Rattle!'s vibrant and eclectic mix has something for everyone. A surprisingly strong integrity of the whole is maintained throughout, despite a group of such diverse tracks. Western Folklife Center Artistic Director Meg Glaser praises the release, "...I think it suits the times we live in: some love, some dance, some blues...It is fuel for a new generation of hope." Songwriter and poet John Reedy comments, "This is goin'-down-the-road music for a generation longing for LeDoux. Nostalgia and reminiscences have their place, but it seems to me that this album is about being in the moment. It's about youth and vitality and is sorely needed−not to just preserve Western culture, but invigorate it, to breathe life into it.”

A limited pre-release edition CD is available, created for the celebration of the Western Folklife Center's 25th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.The CD is dedicated to the Western Folklife Center, "whose fine staff have rekindled the fire of cowboy poetry and music for the last 25 years."

Find our feature about Wylie & the Wild West here.

Update October, 2009: This pre-release edition is sold out, and a new edition, complete with a 20-page lyric booklet, is available (at the same price) $15 plus postage. Find audio samples for the full track list, order information, and more for Hang-n-Rattle! at the Wylie & the Wild West web site.

Updated 10/26


  Music historian and folk singer Katie Lee (www.katydoodit.com) has released a DVD of The Last Wagon, her award-winning documentary featuring Arizona cowboy legends Gail I. Gardner and Billy Simon. The lively film includes much footage of the two and their performances of songs including Gardner's "The Sierry Petes," and "Real Cowboy Life," and Badger's Clark's "A Cowboy's Prayer" and "A Border Affair/Spanish is a Loving Tongue." All three join in swapping memories and tall tales at Gail Gardner's home. There are scenes of horseman Billy Simon working with his cutting and show horses, and conversations with his wife, Betty, a rodeo clown, at their horse camp.

Katie Lee, now in her late 80's, is the author of the classic Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle, A History of the American Cowboy in Song, Story and Verse. The Last Wagon is based on stories from that book; the film received the 1972 Cine Golden Eagle Award.

The Last Wagon is available for $30. Read more about the The Last Wagon and more about Katie Lee and her work at her web site.

[Thanks to Rex Rideout for information about the CD]

Posted 9/15


 Forever West, a new recording from the award-winning duo Curly Musgrave and Belinda Gail, offers a rich, thoughtful collection of new music. A well-paced mix of the old and new, the CD includes complex original compositions and bold arrangements of works by others, including Dave Stamey, Gordon Lightfoot, Tom Paxton, Fred Rose, and C. Stuart Hamblen.

An outstanding track is "The Old Waxed Jacket," a song created from Diane Tribitt's poem, "Love's Devotion," inspired by the 2008 Cowboy Poetry Week poster that features William Matthew's painting, "Waxed Jacket." Diane Tribitt's poem was written for the Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur project. Hear the song here at Diane Tribitt's web site.

Reviewer Rick Huff comments on the CD that, "New visions and perspectives abound in this one." See Rick Huff's review here. Curly Musgrave says that in this new CD, he and Belinda Gail were "wanting to pull in the 'fringes' and edges into the Western genre, just as it has been since cowboy's started singing the music of the day as cowboy music." Find the track list and more information here at the BAR-D.

Find the track list here at the BAR-D.

The CD is available for $17 postpaid from Curly J Productions, P.O. Box 512, Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352 and also available through www.cdbaby.com.

Posted 8/29


Colorado's "Songbird of the Sage," Liz Masterson, has released her seventh recording,  Roads to Colorado. It is described:

Since 1982, Liz Masterson has been a trail blazer in the revival of western music. She has been a recipient of the Patsy Montana Cowgirl Award and the Western Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year. Her early career highlights include performances at the Smithsonian Institution with the legendary Patsy Montana.

For 18 years, Liz toured and recorded with the late great Sean Blackburn. Together they traveled to 38 states & Canada and recorded 6 albums of western & swing music. Specializing in obscure songs from the 1930’s and 40’s by artists such as Patsy Montana, Elton Britt, Rex Allen Sr., The Girls of the Golden West, and the Ink Spots, Liz and Sean’s recordings revitalized the material and their family shows introduced it to a whole new audience. With concerts at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, and the International Bluegrass Festival, they “set the bar” for performance excellence. Since Sean’s sudden death in 2005, Liz, with the love and guidance of her musical friends, has found the strength and direction to revive her solo career.

Roads to Colorado is Liz’s debut as a solo artist. The recording showcases Liz’s stunning vocals and yodeling. The 13 cut album features Grammy Award winning guitarist, Mike Dowling. Mike’s rhythm guitar is the heartbeat of the album. Every song has the perfect pulse, and he has laid the foundation for the fiddle, Dobro, mandolin, accordion, acoustic bass and beautifully blended vocal harmonies. His masterful playing of the National El Trovador and Fender Jazz Master guitars enhance the music’s vintage feel.

Roads to Colorado includes songs about New Mexico, Montana, Arizona, West Virginia and the many hills and valleys in between, and the friendships made along the way. A great album about the lure of the road and the joys of coming home.

Among the tracks are a co-write with Joyce Woodson, "The Cowboy Way of Life"; a poem co-written with Doris Daley, "I Can't Leave Now"; Stan Howe's "Take Me Back Along the Yellowstone"; and Michael Fleming's title song, "Roads to Colorado."

Several seldom-heard songs are included: "The New Frontier" by Tim Spencer, an original member of the Sons of the Pioneers; "Give Me a Home in Montana" by Patsy Montana; and Carson Robison's "Little Green Valley," which includes some rarely-sung verses.

Jean Prescott and Timothy P. Irvin join Liz on harmony.

Find more information at www.westernserenade.com and cdbaby.com.

Roads to Colorado is available at those web sites and for $18 postpaid from Liz Masterson, PO Box 12699, Denver, CO 80212.

Posted 8/26


The Western Folklife Center's Deep West Records' Snake River Outlaws CD is a tribute to the 1950s cowboy band the Snake River Outlaws. From the official announcement:

The Snake River Outlaws played live every Saturday night from the Sunshine Bar on the corner of Woody and Alder in Missoula, and were broadcast live on KXLL radio. The Western Folklife Center’s new CD includes these rare digitally re-mastered live radio broadcasts that create a sound capsule of a time when cowboys, railroaders, college students, society ladies and vagabonds all hoisted mugs of beer to fine music and western sociability.

"While juke boxes and radio and television could bring music to these more rural areas, there was still a great demand for live music, particularly for dances," explains Western Folklife Center Executive Director Charlie Seemann. "In many cases this role was filled by local journeymen musicians who learned and performed the current hits. These hardworking community musicians, often overlooked by country music historians, were the bedrock of the genre and deserve much more credit and attention than they have received."

The CD will be launched in a concert with western swing band Wylie & the Wild West, Sunday, August 24, in Missoula, Montana. The concert is part of the River City Roots Festival, a free event in downtown Missoula, and will take place from 1:45 to 3:15 pm.

Members of the original band will join Wylie & the Wild West lead guitar player Scot Wilburn, whose father and uncle were original members of the Outlaws. Jimmy Widner of Darby, Montana, will be there with his fiddle, and Orval Fochtman, the original lead singer for the group, will travel to Missoula from Weiser, Idaho.

The Snake River Outlaws CD is available in the Western Folklife Center’s online store

Posted 8/19


  Utah's Latigo (Ken Stevens, Kevan Paul, and Ben Ashby) have a new release, A Cowboy's Life. They describe their music as having an "acoustic Contemporary/ Western/ Folk/Americana/ art sound."

From their CD description: "Three masters of the genre with 30 plus years of individual musical experience have come together blending their unique individual artistry into fresh interpretations of old and new western style music with an authentic local flair. Their focus is on the best of the human values that have been indelibly embodied in the "American West." Their love and enthusiasm for family, community, and music is both obvious and contagious as they lay bare their sentiments and feelings for beautiful Western Landscapes and the "Cowboy Life" through music and song...."

Read more and hear samples at the Latigo web site and at CD Baby.

A Cowboy's Life is available from CD Baby and for $17 postpaid from the  Latigo web site  and from Ken Stevens, kenstevens2@yahoo.com.

Posted 8/14


Colorado poet, musician, and songwriter Al “Doc” Mehl's new CD,  I’d Rather Be… includes 13 original songs. Al describes the CD as "...an upbeat collection of can’t-help-but-leave-you-smilin’ tunes. In addition to my vocals, guitar licks, and cello accompaniment, you’ll hear the melodic “whump” of Washtub Jerry’s distinctive washtub bass, the soulful harmonica of Eric Christiansen, and the swaying tones of a Hawaiian ukulele."

 

See the track list here along with some of Al's poetry and lyrics, including the title track.

 

 I’d Rather Be… is available for $18 postpaid from Al “Doc” Mehl, 5656 Cascade Place, Boulder, CO, 80303 and from CD Baby.

 

Posted 7/29


 Respected singer, songwriter and musician Kerry Grombacher's It Sings in the Hi-Line is getting positive attention (see Rick Huff's review here). Kerry describes the new release:

It Sings in the Hi-Line is my new album of western songs. They're stories set in the landscape that I travel, from my home on New Orleans' Bayou St. John to the Hi-Line of Montana, the desert Southwest and the Northwest forests where I fought fires in my younger days. The album was recorded at Flashpoint Studio in Austin with Kerry Grombacher (vocals, guitars), Kenny Grimes (guitars), Lynn Daniel (bass), Chip Dolan (accordion), Paul Pearcy (percussion), Warren Hood (fiddle) and the Eastside Flash (dobro). Here are notes on the twelve songs:

 1. "It Sings in the Hi-Line"—the Hi-Line is Northern Montana where US Hwy 2 and the Burlington Northern RR parallel the Canadian
     border, and it's where Chief Joseph surrendered to the US Cavalry
 2. "Never Come Again"—a chance encounter with an old cowboy in an Abilene truck stop
 3. "Almas Perdidas (Lost Souls)"—memorializes the 2002 discovery of the bodies of 11 Mexican migrants in a freight car in Iowa
 4. "Wild West Mambo"—Buffalo Bill brought the Wild West Show to New Orleans in 1884 and Plains Indians met Mardi Gras Indians
 5. "Moonrise, Hernandez NM"—inspired by Ansel Adams' October 31, 1941 photo
 6. "Blue Pony (Dream of Leaving Havre)"—a young woman longs to leave the Hi-Line town of Havre (pronounced hav-ur), whose
     high school's mascot is the Blue Pony
 7. "Crosses on the Side of the Road"—I've been photographing roadside crosses and altars for several years
 8. "Bison Wind"—down-on-his-heels cowboy heads south for the winter
 9. "Valley of Shadows"—the Spanish Inquisition, active in the New World in the 18th Century, causes Jews to flee Monterrey, Mexico
10. "Cajun Cowboy"—Louisiana cowboy (there are lots of them) finds work in Wyoming
11. "Rock Springs"—Wyoming residents have laughed and told me that every word rings true
12. "The Edge of the World"—written after a day of working horseback on a ranch owned by the Acoma Pueblo, west of Albuquerque

See our feature about Kerry Grombacher here, which includes the lyrics, "Crosses on the Side of the Road."

It Sings in the Hi-Line is available through www.kgrombacher.com and at www.cdbaby.com/cd/grombacher3, or for $17 postpaid from: 812 North Carrollton Ave. New Orleans LA 70119; kgrombacher@yahoo.com.

Posted 6/4


  An outstanding and original production, The Emigrant Trail, from Ray Doyle (of Wylie & the Wild West) is a rich listening experience. A perfect blend of the old and new in its writing and selections, it carries the sense of history, heritage, and adventure that is the story of many of the West's Irish and Scottish immigrants—and the greater story of America itself.  

As a child, Ray and his family left Dublin for Canada, and later settled in California, with the help of a Mexican-American family. A love of the American West has always been a part of Ray Doyle's life. He tells in the liner notes, "My journey began even before my family boarded an over-crowded ship for a turbulent, nine day voyage from Ireland. American movies brought the world of cowboys across the Atlantic, and my friends and I rode our imaginary horses in what we called 'The California Hills' near my home in Dublin..."

The carefully selected songs and thoughtful production reflect a clear and vast vision of the West. Widely known for his dazzling guitar work, The Emigrant Trail showcases Ray Doyle's equally-strong writing talents. He gives a warm, true voice to his original songs and to classics such as "The Cowboy Life," "The Tennessee Stud," Dave Stamey's "The Vaquero Song," and Gordon Lightfoot's "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." His own creations stand up to those pieces, starting with the impressive, complex title track and continuing to the "gem" of "The Jewel," a song that took one of the top places in the recent Western Folklife Center's Yellowstone song writing competition. Sparkling instrumental performancesmany by the incomparable Cowboy Celticinfuse the entire production with fine and uncommon quality. 

Ray Doyle's songs appear on U.S., Canadian, Australian, and European albums, and his band, "Reach for the Sky" is included on the important A Town South of Bakersfield album. His previously-mentioned song, "The Jewel," appears on the Western Folklife Center's Deep West Records' Songs from Yellowstone and the Tetons.

The Emigrant Trail was over a year in the making, and the entire project shows how that time was well spent on care and precision in production: the top-notch, original writing; the thoughtful selection of pieces; the superior musicians; the artful arrangement of songs; the intelligent liner notes; and the elegant package design. Perhaps what recommends it most is that it is not a one-time listen, but rather one of those rare albums for a listener to savor, many times over.

The Emigrant Trail is available for $18 postpaid from: Ray Doyle, PO Box 661111, Mar Vista, CA 90066; ray@raydoyle.net.

[See a recent review of The Emigrant Trail by Jeri Dobrowski, here in Cowboy Jam Session.]

Posted 5/22


  The Darn Hard to Tame CD by Eli Barsi (www.elibarsi.com) is a "tribute to legendary cowboy singer Wilf Carter, AKA Montana Slim." From the official announcement:

Western Recording Artist Eli Barsi is originally from the prairies of Saskatchewan Canada, now making her home in Missouri. For the past 23 years Eli's musical career has taken her throughout North America and beyond, performing her brand of western roots music. She has been the recipient of many awards both sides of the border including Alberta Canada's Female vocalist 1999, 2000 & 2001, The Amercian Academy of Western Artists' Female performer 2002, & 2006 as well as the Western Music Association's Crescendo winner for 2006.

She continues to do her part in preserving our Western Heritage with the release of her 10th album,  Darn Hard To Tame, which is a beautiful tribute to legendary cowboy singer / songwriter, Wilf Carter otherwise known as Montana Slim. Growing up in Canada, Eli could hear Wilf on the radio and loved his sound and genuine cowboy stories told in the songs he wrote. In 1989 she was thrilled to open for him at a show in Edmonton, Alberta. Although only briefly meeting him she was taken by his graciousness and kind words of encouragement.

This album contains many hits and old favorites, fine musicianship, strong vocals & yodeling as well as some very special guests including Luther Nallie from the Sons of the Pioneers. Liner notes are provided by Wilf's daughter, Sheila Carter Dukarm and Country Music News editor Larry Delaney

Listen to clips of Darn Hard to Tame at Eli Barsi's web site here, where the CD is available for $20 postpaid.

Posted 3/5


The popular Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue's latest release is Home Ranch Tales. Bruce Matley (Nevada Slim) comments, "This new release is truly 'the good old stuff.' The songs we've recorded from traditional tunes sung by the western pioneers as they migrated and adjusted to their new lives, to a couple of the best of the early Sons of the Pioneers." They draw on songs collected by early folklorists Alta S. and Austin Fife, "who found that cowboys and other westerners started with songs passed down by their families, adjusting lyrics and melodies to suit life in the rugged American West."

A number of the songs were a part of Nevada Slim's childhood on the home ranch in Reno, Nevada. They write that "Slim's Dad, the late Wayne C. Matley, himself recorded many cowboy songs; his 1946 recording of 'Carry Me Back to the Lone Prairie' (along with Slim and Sue's version) is included on the new CD. The project is dedicated to the duo's parents, Wayne C. and Alouise Matley and Glenn and Marge Abraham, for 'giving us a love of music and raising us in the west."

Bruce has shared photos and stories about the family ranch here in our Picture the West feature in December 2007, which are also a part of the Western Memories collection.

Tracks include "Carry Me Back to the Lone Prairie," "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," "Cool Water," "Little Joe the Wrangler," "Bad Brahma Bull," "Green Grow the Lilacs," "Danny Boy," "Windy Bill," "Utah Carl," "Streets of Laredo," "Billy the Kid," "Goodbye Old Paint," "Nighttime in Nevada," and "Westward Bound Medley" ("Shenandoah," "Red River Valley," "Comin' Round the Mountain," "Home on the Range," and "Buffalo Gals").

Home Ranch Tales is available from CD Baby or by mail directly from Nevada Slim and Cimarron Sue for $12.95: Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue, 8780 Hart Road, Prescott, WA  99348. Visit their web site, www.nevadaslim.com for their performance schedule and more.

Posted 2/20


  Top Western balladeer Juni Fisher's Gone for Colorado is a masterpiece of songwriting and storytelling. Drawing on her family history for inspiration—her great grandfather set out from Missouri in 1880 at age 14, to be a cowboy—lives and history are interwoven in remarkable writing and performance. From the CD's description:

Sedalia Colorado was the birthplace of Juni's maternal Grandmother, and the scene of successes and heartbreaks for her Grandmother's father, John E Overstreet. Juni set out to uncover a long-kept family secret, about John's first family: his wife and child who shared a ranch and life with him. 

From his birthplace in Missouri, to long cattle drives as a a teenager, to his first marriage and child on a historic Colorado ranch, John Overstreet lived his dream as a cowboy, leaving an indelible and still-present mark on Sedalia. Songwriting legend Ian Tyson sent Juni his "Range Delivery," and writer of "Old Double Diamond," Gary McMahon contributed "Waitin' For Spring." Top Producer Rich O'Brien added incredible guitar and mandolin, as well as his keen ear for production. Patty Clayton's beautiful harmonies are perfect throughout...

See some photos and read more about Juni Fisher's ancestors in a Picture the West entry here.

Juni Fisher won the 2007 Western Music Association Song of the Year award (for "I Hope She'll Love Me," with Joe Hannah of the Sons of the San Joaquin. She's been named as the Academy of Western Artists Western Female Vocalist of the Year and the Western Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year. She's a featured performer at the upcoming National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Gone for Colorado is accompanied by a booklet of photos, drawings, commentary, and lyrics, in an impressive package designed by Jeri Dobrowski. Find the entire track list and more here, and order information and more at Juni Fisher's web site.

Winner of the Western Heritage Wrangler Award
from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Posted 1/7


  Dee Strickland Johnson ("Buckshot Dot")'s new CD, One More Dance, includes fifteen songs and one poem with musical accompaniment. The pieces include her own works, and those written by Les Buffham, Dave Stamey, Ken Graydon, Dean Cook, Bill Staines, Charles Badger Clark, Karen Quick, and Bev Triplett (the poem). See the complete track list here.

One More Dance is available for $18 postpaid from: Dee Strickland Johnson, HC 3 Box 593-F, Payson, AZ 85541, www.buckshotdot.com.

Posted 1/2

 


 

New in 2008: Books and Recordings of Western Interest and Beyond

 

Posted 9/24


  One Family’s Christmas by Nevada writer Mary Jean Kelso is "a story about the descendants of an Oregon pioneer and her special treasure she carried along the trail." The book is a sequel to The Christmas Angel. Both books are illustrated by wildlife and Western artist K.C. Snider.

One Family’s Christmas is available from the publisher at www.guardianangelpublishing.com ($10.95 plus shipping) is also available from booksellers.

Posted 9/12


 Literary Nevada, an impressive new comprehensive literary anthology from the University of Nevada Press, devotes a chapter to cowboy poetry. The chapter titled "A Gathering of Cowboy Poets" includes poetry by Olephia King (1905-1988), R. Guild Gray (1911-1998), Jack Walther, Georgie Sicking, Ernie Fanning (1935-2006), Linda Hussa, Eric Sprado, Waddie Mitchell, Rod McQueary, and Sue Wallis. An overview of contemporary cowboy poetry is included, and each poet is profiled. A section of photographs reflects the wide range of contributors, and includes photos of Georgie Sicking and Waddie Mitchell.

The book includes a chapter of contemporary poetry, and most of the remaining content is prose, collected in chapters such as "Literary Riches from the Mining Frontier," "Fearful Crossings; Emigrant Encounters and Indian Responses," "Great Basin Rangings; Journals of Exploration," "Living Las Vegas; Inside the Entertainment Capital of the World," and "The Other Nevada; Reflections on Rural Life."

Larry Len Peterson's Charles M. Russell: Printed Rarities from Private Collections collects many never-before-seen commercial works of the famous cowboy, painter, sculptor and writer. The book, available in hardcover and paperback, includes memorabilia including "magazine covers, postcards, calendars, cigar boxes, ink blotters, letterheads, and artifacts."

Read more here at the Mountain Press Publishing Company's web site.

Posted 12/29


  An award-winning documentary, Hoot in the Hole, "chronicles the past and present of the historic Jackson Hole Hootenanny, still in existence at Dornan's in Wyoming." The stage has included cowboy and Western artists Dave Stamey, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Hot Club of Cowtown, Chuck Pyle, and others. The producers describe the film, which includes 48 songs:

Now you can experience the music of Gene Autry, Bill Monroe, Bob Wills, and Hank Williams come to life by modern-day players such as Tom Rush, Hot Club of Cowtown, Ben Winship, and the singing cowboy Greg Keckler. The sounds of Jimmie Rodgers, Spade Cooley, and Earl Scruggs are played weekly by local artists in a traditional gathering called "The Hoot." ...

Brought to life by extreme ski-mountaineer and folk musician Bill Briggs in the early 1950s, a musical tradition picked out its first notes beneath the sparkling night skies of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Now playing the stage at Dornan's in Moose, Wyoming, the Hoot showcases talented homegrowns like the dynamic duo Anne and Pete Sibley and traveling musical acts such as The Wilders, to standing-room-only listeners.

Find more information at the Hoot in the Hole web site, www.hootinthehole.com, where the DVD is available for $19.95 plus shipping.

Posted 12/4


   Bob Fudge: Texas Trail Driver, Montana-Wyoming Cowboy, 1862-1933, written in 1932 and last printed in 2001, has been reissued by the Tucker family of Fort Scott, Kansas. The legendary cowboy was immortalized by singer and songwriter Ian Tyson in his 2002 song, "Bob Fudge."

The publishers describe the book:

During his long, colorful life, Bob Fudge drove thousands of contract cattle and horse herds from Texas to the Montana range, worked on ranches from Texas to Montana and later settled in Powder River Country in southwestern Montana. He is best known for the many years he rode for the famous XIT Ranch. With a knack for relating stories, and knowing the life he and others had known and loved was becoming a thing of the past, Fudge gave his story of true life tails to author James Russell. The book is filled with fascinating accounts of the era of true cowboy life and historical times that fans will treasure reading again and again. Stories of life with the Indians, stampeding cattle herds, roundups, and humor of the trail, along with nail- biting excitement and danger are found in the true stories told by Bob Fudge.

Visit www.bobfudge.com for more information about the book.

Bob Fudge: Texas Trail Driver, Montana-Wyoming Cowboy, 1862-1933 is available for $30 postpaid from www.bobfudge.com and other outlets, and by mail from 746 215th Street, Fort Scott, Kansas, 66701.

Posted 12/2


  Mackey Hedges' acclaimed novel, Last Buckaroo, has been reissued, thanks in great part to the efforts of entrepreneur and strategic business consultant Robert Sigman. From a press release:

A former head of a major Hollywood studio and avowed lover of western life and culture is giving readers a second chance to hear from the real deal. Past President and CEO Robert Sigman has spearheaded the republishing of noted buckaroo and author Mackey Hedges’ acclaimed western novel Last Buckaroo. The fascinating, authentic and action-packed tale has become a collectors' item classic after going out of print in 1995.

“I read the book a few years back and called Hedges out of the blue to tell him how much I had enjoyed it,” Sigman said. “My life was enriched by this story and by the man who crafted it, and now I want others to have that same experience. Republishing this book is a labor of love meant to honor a quintessentially American way of life and a man who truly embodies the cowboy ideal.”

Last Buckaroo is a rollicking, gritty, and always entertaining look at what goes on in the life of a cowboy. Told through the perspective of the larger-than-life narrator, Tap McCoy, the book covers the entire panorama of western lore, from bucking bronks to eccentric cowboys who dance on saloon tables, participate in spontaneous rodeos and more. Readers meet an array of bizarrely real characters, from stoic Indians to ladies of
the evening to cowboys of every possible sort imaginable.

The publishers quote a True West magazine review:

Authentic buckaroo Mackey Hedges has written the western novel, the buckaroo's own version of what goes on in cow camps, ranches, pack stations, feedlots and trails of the west. Through the persona of Tap McCoy, larger-than-life narrator, tales of bucking broncos, a horse falling into and hanging upside down from the branches of a pine tree, eccentric cowboys who pull knives at the drop of a hat, barroom brawls, drunken cowboys dancing atop tables, spontaneous rodeos, and horse wrecks are spun. A cast of bizarrely real characters parade through the exploits of Tap and Dean. Practical jokers, stoic Indians, burly, reclusive buckaroos, egomaniacs, and brothel madams—all sides of human nature are examined through the unrelenting yet forgiving eyes of Tap McCoy. This is a side of the West that only buckaroos have known in the past - rollicking, gritty, wacky, dusty, dangerous, nerve-wracking.

The book's cover features the late Joelle Smith's stunning "Riata Man" painting.  (Joelle Smith's art graced the first Cowboy Poetry Week poster and the 2006 edition of The BAR-D Roundup. Read more about her in our feature here

Read much more about how the Last Buckaroo and its reissue came about; more about the author, Mackey Hedges; more about the cover artist, Joelle Smith; find a discussion of "Vaqueros, Cowboys and Buckaroos"; order information, and more at the book's web site, www.lastbuckaroo.com.

Last Buckaroo is available for $20 plus postage from www.lastbuckaroo.com, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 11/5


  Colorado's Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering has had an impressive roster of poster artists in the past twenty years of gatherings, including Tim Cox, Jim Rey, Tom Lea, Wayne Justus, and others. The Gathering has put together an impressive calendar for 2009, which they describe:

The unique 2009 Calendar features artwork from various artists who created posters for the Durango Cowboy Gathering. Included in it are the very first 1989 "MJB Cowboy Camp" poster and several Jim Rey and Tim Cox posters which are no longer available. This collectible Calendar will be a keepsake for any fan of western art and cowboy poetry.

Calendars are available for $10 postpaid by check or credit card from Durango Cowboy Gathering, P.O. Box 2571, Durango, CO 81302; 970-749-2995. Find more information here at the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering web site, along with more information about the availability of past years' posters.

Posted 10/27


The University of Oklahoma Press has published A Place of Refuge; Maynard Dixon's Arizona, by Thomas Brent Smith with an essay by Dixon expert and biographer Donald Hagerty. The book showcases Maynard Dixon's (1875-1946) Arizona subjects. The Western modernist painter first traveled to Arizona in 1900 "to absorb what he he believed was a vanishing West." The book includes more than 100 reproductions of works from 1897 through 1946, in a chronological portfolio.

Donald Hagerty's biographical essay, "Sky and Sandstone; Maynard Dixon's Arizona Years," sets the works in the context of Dixon's life. He writes, "Over a half century of intense productivity, Dixon saw the closing of the western frontier, the 'flickering out of old campfires,' as he lamented it, and the arrival of a West newly defined by the automobile. He straddled an era of seismic change in American art...Through it all, his work was founded in a quest for the essence of the western spirit."

Thomas Brent Smith, Curator of Art at the Tucson Museum of Art, interprets Maynard's work in its historical and artistic context, including comparative commentary on the works of other Western artists. A number of Frederic Remington images are included and of particular interest is Remington's letter to a 16-year-old Dixon, filled with advice for the artist.

A Place of Refuge; Maynard Dixon's Arizona is available for $40 from the publisher, Amazon, and other bookstores.

Posted 10/20


Colorado author and cattle rancher Eugene C. Vories' latest novel, The Dark Trail, is now available. The book is the fourth in the "Button Benton" series about Sterling Benton. Eugene Vories writes in the book's foreword:

I am doing something a little different in this book. I am blending into my fiction writing a real live character, Thomas Edward Ketchum, aka Black Jack Ketchum, who was a notorious train robber active in the late 1890s until he was executed at Clayton, New Mexico, in April of 1901.

It has long been rumored this man had a hideout in Huerfano County, Colorado at the high point of his career....Legend has it that Tom Ketchum had his original hideout under an overhand, sometimes called a cave, just as a narrow canyon started its descent into the Cuchara River Canyon. Here, he built a room made of rocks and cement with two glassed in windows, one looking up the canyon and one looking down. He was said to have spent a winter in that room while hiding from the law after having made a very successful robbery in New Mexico....

The book's jacket tells, that "...The County Sheriff is obsessed with the idea of capturing Black Jack in order to make a name for himself...when the Sheriff tells Sterling to lead a posse to Ketchum's place, the young man refuses and resigns...he is in debt and the ranch is not yet a going concern...he borrows money to lease the Kerr Ranch near the Rattlesnake Buttes, thought to have been purchased with Tom Ketchum's money..."

Among Eugene Vories' other books are Return to Piñon Mesa, Monte and the Newcomers, Piñon Mesa, Deputy, Ride for the Brand, and Mr. Grant's Cowboy. Read more about his books at Writers West.

The Dark Trail, is available for $21 postpaid from Eugene C. Vories, PO Box 214, La Veta, CO 81055.

The 896-plus page volume, edited by Cheryll Glotfelty, is described by the publisher:

....It  contains over 200 selections ranging from traditional Native American tales,  explorers' and emigrants' accounts, and writing from the Comstock Lode and  other mining boomtowns, as well as compelling fiction, poetry, and essays  from throughout the state's history. There is work by well-known Nevada  writers such as Sarah Winnemucca, Mark Twain, and Robert Laxalt, by established and emerging writers from all parts of the state, and by some nonresident authors whose work illuminates important facets of the Nevada experience.

The book includes cowboy poetry, travel writing, accounts of nuclear Nevada, narratives about rural life and urban life in Las Vegas and  Reno, poetry and fiction from the state's best contemporary writers, and accounts of the special beauty of wild Nevada's mountains and deserts...The book also includes a photo gallery of selected Nevada writers and a generous list of suggested further readings....

There are hardcover and paperback editions available from the University of Nevada Press, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 9/9


  Montana Poet Laureate Sandra Alcosser praises Ripley Hugo and her new collection of poems, On the Right Wind: "Ripley Hugo is sublime. Tough as whang leather, full of whimsy and grief, when she sings her plains song, it's pitch perfect."

Ripley Hugo, who lives in Missoula, is retired from teaching literature and creative writing at the University of Montana and from her involvement in the Montana Poets in the Schools program. She wrote an acclaimed biography of her mother Writing for Her Life: The Novelist Mildred Walker. Mildred Walker wrote a number of books set in Montana, including the modern classic, Winter Wheat. Ripley Hugo married poet Richard Hugo in 1973. He was a teacher and mentor to many poets, including Paul Zarzyski.

On the Right Wind is available from the publisher, Cedar House Books, where you'll find poems from the book and more about Ripley Hugo.

Posted 8/25


  Respected storyteller Rosanna Taylor Herndon gathers stories of several generations in The Line from Here to There, A Storyteller's Scottish West Texas.

Rosanna Taylor Herndon introduces settlers' recollections in "Safe from Wolves," commenting, "Over the years the Hollywood film industry has given quite a lot of attention to the American West, but the result often makes the early history of the cattle country where I live seem a bit more glamorous than it really was." Other tales include "The Fugitive Doctor," about John Darby Windham, a pioneer doctor who became the patriarch of a large ranching family; "Different Grandmothers," about her family and the grandparents who moved to town and "in time added almost as many outbuildings as they had at the ranch"; and "Richard the Spy," about her ranch-raised, World War I veteran father's stateside occupation during World War II.

Rosanna Taylor Herndon, professor emerita of communication at Hardin-Simmons University, is also a charter member of the Tejas Storytelling Association and founder of the Mesquite Storytellers of Abilene. She has been a featured teller and workshop presenter at festivals across the United States, including the National Storytelling Festival.

The Line from Here to There, A Storyteller's Scottish West Texas is available from the publisher, Texas Tech University Press, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 8/25


  Andy and Spirit Go to the Fair is the latest children's book from Mary Jane Kelso, the second book in a series, with illustrations by wildlife and Western artist, K.C. Snider. The publisher describes the book: "Andy and Spirit Go to the Fair is a story about a special needs boy and a wild mustang that has been adopted and trained in equine therapy. They become 'heroes to each other' and their bond takes them on many adventures together." "Heroes to each other" refers to a song, "Heroes," by Janie Robinson and Gary Lowry, based on Andy and the Albino Horse, the first book in the series. Hear the song here.

The Andy and Spirit Go to the Fair storybook also includes three pages of activities about 4-H and wild horse management.

Andy and Spirit Go to the Fair is available from the publisher at www.guardianangelpublishing.com in electronic and print editions. The print edition ($10.95 plus shipping) is also available from booksellers.

Posted 8/15


  Popular Western singer and songwriter Jean Prescott's latest CD, Whisperings of Jesus, features gospel and worship music. It is described, "Perfect for quiet or devotional time, this CD is a collection of beautiful and worshipful gospel songs with simple yet powerful lyrics. The songs are each tastefully arranged by Rich O'Brien, whose exquisite guitar work graces each song."

Read more and find the track list here, and visit www.JeanPrescott.com for more.

Whisperings of Jesus is available for $18 postpaid from Prescott Music, P. O. Box 194, Ovalo, TX 79541; 325-583-2553; www.jeanprescott.com.

Posted 8/13


  Poet, artist, and rancher Doc Mayer comments on his new CD, God Poems: "This CD is for the glory of God and since these are all poems that God gave me, it only seems appropriate. I have recited them in church and, I think that they speak for themselves."

Find poetry and more at Doc Mayer's web site, www.cowboydocmayer.com.

God Poems is available for $20 postpaid from Doc Mayer, Morning Star Ranch, Roy, NM 87743-0187; 505-485-2462; www.cowboydocmayer.com.

Posted 8/13


The University of Oklahoma Press has reissued Joan Stauffer's Behind Every Man, the life of Nancy Cooper Russell, the story of the wife of artist and writer Charles M. Russell. Russell called his wife his “best booster and pardner,” and she is recognized as the crucial force in encouraging his talents and promoting his work.

An article in the Missoulian, "The Most Influential Montanans of the Century," includes a photo of the Russells and quotes Pam Hendrickson of the C.M. Russell Museum, "It was her drive and ambition that developed his reputation. On his own, I don't think he necessarily would have become a known artist. She got exhibitions all over the country and internationally. She recognized his talent. He had the talent and she had the ambition, and together they made a good team."

First issued in 1990, Behind Every Man is based on a decade of research and on Joan Stauffer's experience in the one-woman show she created and presented in over one hundred performances, as Nancy Cooper Russell. The book is a fictionalized biography. In the preface, Joan Stauffer writes, "Although writing in the first person required that I take some artistic liberties, this is a novel based on fact. It is based on information gathered from interviews, letters, court records, and other documents, and it is as true a story as I could tell."

Earlier this year, the University of Oklahoma Press published the landmark Charles M. Russell, A Catalogue Raisonné.

Read more about Behind Every Man, the life of Nancy Cooper Russell at the University of Oklahoma Press web site. It is available from the publisher, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 8/6


  Recipient of two Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America (Best Novel of the West and Best First Novel), High Country, by Willard Wyman, has been released in paperback by the University of Oklahoma Press. The book is published as a part of the Literature of the American West series.

The story beings during the Depression, when (from the publisher's description) "...young Ty Hardin is sent from his family’s failing Montana ranch to learn from the last of the great packers, Fenton Pardee, legendary in the Montana Rockies for his packing adventures across the Swan Range all the way to the Big Divide. High Country follows Ty through this apprenticeship and into World War II....Willard Wyman shares techniques of breaking and packing and leading animals into forbidding country, hunting and tracking, and making camp. Wyman brings you so close to the packer’s life you smell the leather, sweat, and oil."

High Country is available from the publisher, Amazon, and other booksellers. (Find the University of Oklahoma Press catalogs here at the publisher's web site.)

Posted 7/16


  The University of Oklahoma Press has issued Best of Covered Wagon Women, "The best eyewitness accounts by women who braved the western trails between 1848 and 1864." The selected first-hand diaries and accounts were chosen from Kenneth L. Holmes eleven-volume series, Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from Western Trails, 1840-1890, which is still available in various editions. The new book includes the series' original introduction and editorial notes by Kenneth L. Holmes, and a new informative introduction by Michael L. Tate.

Tate comments that scholarship estimates that a half million people made the journey West, and that "well over two thousand kept diaries and journals or subsequently wrote memoirs..."

Each woman's story includes an in-depth biography and introduction. Their accounts include gripping tales of the stark challenges, hardships, and dangers; observations of the land, wildlife, and people; and deeply personal reflections.

Keturah Belknap's 1848 "commentaries" tell of her family's overland trip from Ohio to Oregon. In one passage, she writes, "The river is high and looks terrific; one wagon and two yoke of oxen are over first so as to have a team to take the wagons out of the way; it is just a rope ferry. Now they take the wagons and the loose horses. They say it will take about all day to get us over. Next the loose cattle that go as they are in a dry lot without anything to eat. When they get the cattle on the boat they found one of our cows was sick...She staggered when she walked on the ferry and in the crowd she was knocked overboard and went under but when she came up the boat men had his rope ready and throwed it out and lassoed her and they hauled her to land but she was too far gone to travel so the boat man said he would take our wagon and our stock over for the chance of her so they hauled her up to the house and the last we saw of her a woman had her wrapped in a warm blanket and had a fire and was bathing her an pouring milk and lard down her...."

Margaret A. Frink's 1850 story comes from a book she eventually published, Adventures of a Party of Gold-Seekers. She describes the scope of the wave of emigrants, "In the afternoon we came to the junction of the emigrant road from St. Joseph with out road, about twenty-five miles below New Fort Kearney. That road ran westward from St. Joseph to the Blue Rivers, and up the Little Blue to its head, where it turned to the northward across the high plains to the Platte. Here the two roads met. Both roads were thickly crowded with emigrants. It was a grand spectacle when we came, for the first time, in view of the vast emigration, slowly winding its way westward over the broad plain. The country was so level that we could see the long trains of white-topped wagons for many miles....It seemed to me that I had never seen so many human beings in my life before..."

Amelia Hadley kept a diary of her family's 130-day journey, which began in 1851. In what the editors call a pre-Freudian slip, her "journal of travels" was mis-titled "Journal of Travails." One entry comments about the lack of food, "...sage hens, I have heard say that they were good to eat, some of our company killed some, and I think a skunk, prefarable, their meat tastes of this abominable mountain sage, which I have got so tired of that I cant bear to smell it, they live wholly upon it and it scents their flesh." Another, "....came to a grave his name Glenette died 1849, was buried in a canoe. the wolves had made a den down in his grave. They dig up everyone that is buried on the plains as soon as they are left. It looks so cruel I should hate to have my friends or myself buried here, which all may be...."

Amelia Knight traveled from Iowa to the Columbia river in 1853. Water is the subject of many entries: "The last of the black  hills, we traveled this afternoon over the roughest and most desolate piece of ground that was ever made (called by some the Devils grater) not a drop of water...we reached the platte river about noon, and our cattle were so crazy for water that some of them plunged headlong into the river with their yokes on..." Two days later, "...we have left most of the droves behind, and no end to the teams, had a great deal of trouble to keep the stock from drinking the poison or alkali water, it is almost sure to kill man or beast who drink it..."

There are also passages throughout of awe for the beauty of mountains and other landscapes; accounts of friendships, and lighter moments. One diarist tells of a stop near Golden City in Colorado, "Learned a new and appropriate name for Yankeys. A servant of all departments at Colorado city, a wild, harum-scarum, kind-hearted girl, they called Texas because she came from there, though born in Mississippi, said, 'I would die for a Southerner, but would not give a cent for a Pinch back Yankey.'"

These richly varied stories make for compelling reading, with plenty food for thought about pioneer courage and the settling of the West.

Best of Covered Wagon Women is available from the publisher, University of Oklahoma Press, and from Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 7/9


   The Ranching Way of Life is an impressive documentary created by Colorado rancher and poet Peggy Godfrey and ScSeed, a local non-profit grassroots organization, with support from the Colorado Council on the Arts and other organizations.

Written and narrated by Peggy Godfrey, the captivating and informative film was four years in making. It presents the rancher's world, season-by-season, giving a close-up, thoughtful look at the work, risks, and rewards of ranching life in the rugged and beautiful San Luis Valley. The film includes commentaries by area ranchers and impressive still and film footage, including extraordinary calving scenes. Poetry by Peggy Godfrey and others and music appear, naturally, throughout the film.

The DVD includes supplemental themed short features with additional engaging commentary by local ranch people on topics including "Neighbors," "Ethics," "Branding," "Stories" and a "Message for Youth." A shortened "youth version" of the documentary is also included. 

From the official media release:

The film is a cultural heritage and occupational arts project that captures seasonal ranching activities, stories, poems, interviews, and music that celebrate ranching...

Those featured in the documentary are long-time residents of the San Luis Valley. Some represent families who have lived here for more than 100 years. Their arts include storytelling, music, poetry, lyrics and jokes that flow from this ranching way of life. Their arts also include the occupational activities of haying, branding, calving, cattle driving, shearing, and irrigating. Hunting, trapping, antler/bone carving, woodcarving, tanning hides, rawhide braiding and leather work are also artistic skills enjoyed by and useful to ranchers. Ranches are scattered across the vast 30 mile wide and 100-mile long valley and into the side canyons of the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

A total of 37 individuals have been filmed...The agricultural lifestyle, ranching traditions, family farms—all are intrinsic to the heritage of Colorado and all are threatened in today's economy. The threat of exportation of water to urban areas, the power of large agri-business to take control of markets, the drain of traditional knowledge as youth migrate to urban centers: these are a few of the reasons that ranching is becoming an art to be preserved and shared....

The Ranching Way of Life video project addresses the community building, cooperative enterprise, and protection of community character and rural lifestyle that ScSEED aims to foster.

All will appreciate the stories, the honest presentation of ranching life, the stories, and the incisive commentaries on ranching's past and future. And for those who have not lived the ranch life—particularly anyone writing about it or wanting to learn about it—this film about the real working West should not be missed.

See our feature here on a film about the impressive and irrepressible Peggy Godfrey, Cowboy Poetry: A Woman Ranching the Rockies, and read some of her poetry and more about her in a separate feature here. Her poem, "Country Graft," is included on the The BAR-D Roundup, Volume 2 (and is also included in The Ranching Way of Life).

The Ranching Way of Life is available for $11 postpaid from ScSEED, P. O. Box 393, Moffat CO 81143; www.scseed.org.

Posted 6/27


Utah writer and poet Rod Miller's latest non-fiction book, Massacre at Bear River: First, Worst, Forgotten has been released by Caxton Press. The publisher describes the book:

The Bear River Massacre, on January 29, 1863, claimed at least 250 Shoshoni lives. And it changed the culture of the natives who lived in the area along what later became the Utah-Idaho border.

Rod Miller provides a compelling narrative account of the Bear River Massacre and the events leading up to the bloody clash on a frozen riverbank in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. He gives historical context to three major players in the massacre—the Shoshoni, the military, the Mormon settlers and their leaders—and the interplay among those groups. Miller also explains why the massacre has remained in the historical shadows for 145 years and details the fight by Shoshonis and a few dedicated researchers to move the event to its rightful place in Western history.

From an official media release:

For most of the past 145 years, the Bear River Massacre has sat upon history’s shelf, gathering dust. Once in a while, a journalist or historian takes it down, sweeps off the dust, and writes something about it. But, for the most part, the deadliest Indian massacre in all the history of the West lies forgotten, with no place in the popular imagination and of little note among historians.

According to Rod Miller, author of a new book on the subject, Massacre at Bear River: First, Worst, Forgotten, such obscurity is not deserved. “This atrocity was unprecedented at the time, and unequaled since,” the writer says. “It established a pattern that was repeated in other Indian massacres, most notably at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee. Those encounters are well known and widely studied, but Bear River stays in the shadows....”

Miller hopes his book will increase public awareness of the massacre and generate interest among scholars and historians to further study the incident.

“The only book of note about the massacre was published more than twenty years ago,” Miller says. “Brigham Madsen, a well-known and respected Western scholar and one of the first to give Indian history serious consideration, is the only historian to write much about the Bear River Massacre. He encouraged me in the writing of this book, and was the source of much valuable information and research.”

Other important sources for the book include the work of the late Newell Hart of Preston, Idaho, who collected a lifetime’s worth of documents and information about the massacre and wrote and privately published a now-rare book about it. Miller also spent days in archives and library collections poring over journals, biographical sketches, periodicals, history books, and other accounts. He visited the massacre site on several occasions, talked with descendants of Shoshoni survivors, and interviewed others with knowledge of the event.

“The causes of the massacre were complex,” Miller says. “The main groups involved—the Shoshoni, the military, and the Mormons—were tangled in a web of tense relationships and conflicting purposes. Simply put, the massacre resulted from several years of white encroachment on Indian land, Shoshoni violence against emigrants and settlers, and an army unhappy being in Utah Territory and itching for a fight...”

In a June 15, 2008 article, Brad Gillman of the Ogden, Utah Standard-Examiner tells about the book and how it came to be written, and quotes from his interview with Rod Miller about the event (Rod comments, "More Indians were killed that day by U.S. Army troops than in all of the West, all of history..."). A video history of the massacre accompanies the article; you can find the article and video here.

Rod Miller has published essays, articles, short stories, another non-fiction book, and a novel. More than eighty of his poems have appeared in publications including Western Horseman, American Cowboy, Range, and Cowboy Magazine. He is the current Guest Poetry Editor for American Cowboy Magazine.

Read more about Rod Miller and some of his poetry in our feature here.

Massacre at Bear River: First, Worst, Forgotten, which includes maps, illustrations, and a bibliography is available from the publisher, Caxton Press, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 6/23


  Fourth-generation Wyoming rancher, writer and poet Echo Klaproth's Words Turn Silhouette is a compelling, inspirational collection of clear and honest prose and poetry, reflections on her life. At a special prose section at the Western Folklife Center's 2008 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the audience was riveted by Echo Klaproth's readings from the book, particularly the piece, "A Lesson from Nature," about her father and an event from her adolescence.

Poet and writer Lyn Messersmith comments on the book:

Few writers have managed to approach the page with the unadulterated honestly, humor, humility, and wisdom offered herein. This is a book about growing up, growing into one's skin, and eventually into one's soul. It isn't a road map, for each journey is personal, but rather proof that Grace is also personal ours for the asking, and the price of complete surrender.

Words Turn Silhouette is available for $17 postpaid from Sagebrush Echoes, 12233 Hwy 789 #64, Shoshoni, WY 82649 or order by email:
ricknechoR@wyoming.com or phone 307-857-5811.



Echo Klaproth is also the author of the 2005 unique keepsake of a book,  Scattered, Lasting Remnants; "Fine Lines" of Poetry and Song Excerpted from 20 Years of Gatherings. The book's introduction tells how this treasury of words was conceived:

The idea of this book originated with two words taken from the 18th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, January 2002. The schedule showed that my last session on Saturday afternoon was titled "Fine Lines." Those two words stuck with me. During the week I asked several participants if they'd share a "fine line" with me. My plan was to simply read them off, share those words that even when taken out of context, keep us writing and audiences coming back....

The resulting book includes excerpts from the works of poets, writers, and songwriters, words they chose as their "finest lines." The book offers endless food for thought in its gems of humor, history, philosophy, and inspiration from the late JB Allen, Virginia Bennett, Baxter Black, Doris Daley, Elizabeth Ebert, Dennis Gaines, Peggy Godfrey, Wylie Gustafson, the late Sunny Hancock, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Carole Jarvis, Dee Strickland Johnson, Don Kennington, Rod McQueary, Wallace McRae, the late Larry McWhorter, Curly Musgrave, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Glenn Ohrlin, the late Howard Parker, Vess Quinlan, the late Buck Ramsey, Pat Richardson, Randy Rieman, Georgie Sicking, Dave Stamey, Red Steagall, the late Colen Sweeten, Paul Zarzyski, and many others, nearly 100 in total.

Scattered, Lasting Remnants is available for $17 postpaid from Sagebrush Echoes, 12233 Hwy 789 #64, Shoshoni, WY 82649 or order by email:
ricknechoR@wyoming.com or phone 307-857-5811.

Posted 5/28


Margaret Kahn's book, Horses That Buck, was seven years in the making. She spent that time with rodeo great Bill Smith and his wife Carole at their Thermopolis, Wyoming ranch, conducted interviews, did extensive research, and immersed herself in the world of rodeo. Her commitment and involvement make this biography a most satisfying read.

Three-time world champion saddle bronc rider Bill Smith (1969, 1971 and 1973) made thirteen trips to the National Finals, and is a Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee (1979) and a National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’ Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee (2000). The biography traces Bill's life from his youngest days, when the successes of the early greats—Casey Tibbs, the Lindermans, and the Greenoughslured him from his coal-mining Montana life, to join the rodeo circuit.

The book covers the ups and downs of that rodeo road, and brings those years vividly to life, a time when rodeo was becoming a major professional sport. Vintage photos put it all in context. Pages of notes and bibliography attest to the author's efforts in creating a captivating, human story of a man of impressive accomplishments.

That man who loved "horses that buck," is now known for raising and training ranch horses. Today, Bill and Carole Smith (a former rodeo cowgirl) and their family are known for their respected Circle 7 brand and their WYO Quarter Horse Sales.

Author Mark Spragg's eloquent endorsement gets to the essence of this captivating story of the life and times of Bill Smith, "Horses That Buck is about family and freedom and, ultimately, how they braid themselves together in the human heart."

Horses that Buck is available from the publisher, The University of Oklahoma Press, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 5/21 


  The publisher describes Nevada writer Mary Jean Kelso's Andy and the Albino Horse, illustrated by wildlife and Western artist, K.C. Snider of Redmond, Oregon, as "a story about a special needs boy who meets a wild mustang that has been adopted and trained in equine therapy. They form a bond that will take them on many adventures together." 

Reviewer Linda Lattimer writes, "...Mary Jean Kelso pens a heart-tugging tale about learning to cope with a disability, and even a bully, in a story I highly recommend. She allows Andy to see no matter how hard a challenge may appear, sometimes others may have their own test to endure..."

The first in a proposed series, Mary Jane Kelso says that the book's story is being recorded as a Western song.

Andy and the Albino Horse is available from the publisher (where you can view illustrations and more) for $10.95 plus $5.95 handling and from Amazon and other outlets.  A portion of the proceeds are donated to Healing Reins of Bend, Oregon and Horseplay of Fernley, Nevada.

Posted 5/8


Pam Kaster's Molly the Pony tells the impressive, heartwarming story of Molly:

She's a gray-speckled "POA" pony who was abandoned by her owners when Katrina hit southern Louisiana. She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled. While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier, and almost died. Her gnawed right front leg became infected and her vet went to LSU for help. But LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case. You know how that goes.

But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, he changed his mind. He saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn't seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her. She protected her injured leg. She constantly shifted her weight, and didn't overload her good leg. She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.

Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee and a temporary artificial limb was built. Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there.

A blog here includes photos and more of Molly's story.

Visit the hoofcare.com web site for order information and more.

[Thanks to Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns for the information about this book.]

Posted 5/2


  The Bear Family has a recent reissue of Hank Snow's 1968 Tales of the Yukon, his performances of Robert Service's poems. They state that he learned the poems as a child in Canada.

The CD includes a 35-page booklet with biographical information for Robert Service, vintage photos, and the words to each of the included poems. The booklet is filled with interesting information, such as the fact that Service "made a brief appearance with Marlene Dietrich in the 1942 film, The Spoilers."

Eight poems are included. The notes comment  that "Face on the Bar Room Floor" was attributed to Service on the  original LP, but that it was
actually written in 1887 by Hugh Antoine D'Arcy. Other tracks include: "The Shooting Of Dan McGrew," "The Cremation Of Sam McGee," "The Spell Of
The Yukon," "The Ballad Of Blasphemous Bill," "The Ballad Of One-Eyed Mike," "The Ballad Of Hard Luck Henry," and "My Friends."

The CD is available from Amazon and from The Bear Family web site, and other outlets.

The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three includes a rare recording of Service reciting "The Cremation of Sam McGee. That recitation is from the Robert Service in Person; The Bard of the Yukon CD. Read more about it in the liner notes here for The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three. (There is a special offer for the CD for CowboyPoetry.com visitors).

Read poems and more in our feature about Service here.

Posted 4/28


  The Western Folklife Center's Deep West Records' Songs from Yellowstone and the Tetons CD includes tracks from the Western Folklife Center's recent songwriting contest, and additional songs.

The 17 tracks are: "The Road that Leads to Yellowstone," Jon Chandler (People's Choice in Songwriting contest); "Bears," Lyle Lovett; "The Night Herding Song Montage," Bar J Wranglers/Harry Stephens/Girls of the Golden West/Skip Gorman; "My Old Waddie Pal," Skip Gorman; "I am Going to the West, Connie Dover"; "Out Yonder," Connie Dover (Winner of Songwriting contest); "Teton Waltz," Dan Thomasma;"The Growling Old Men," Madison Brown; "I've Endured," Tim O'Brien; "Red, White & Yellowstone," Stuart Weber; "Alpha #9," Chuck Pyle; "Wilderness Ranger," Greg Keeler; "Blue Heron," Beth McIntosh; "Yellowstone Dawn," Jay Begaye; "Trouble on Alum," Jerry Douglas; "The Jewel," Ray Doyle (Winner,
2nd Place in Songwriting contest); and a bonus sing-along: "The Yellowstone Song," Terri Taylor.

Read more about the songs and the songwriters here at the Western Folklife Center web site.

Songs from Yellowstone and the Tetons is available for $15 plus postage from the gift shop at the Western Folklife Center.

Posted 4/3


   Minnesota rancher, poet and writer Diane Tribitt's account of one day in her life is featured in Water Cooler Diaries; Women Across American Share Their Day at Work.

The publisher introduces the book, "On March 27, 2007 over five-hundred women across the country and from all walks of life chronicled a single day on the job as a part of a national book project." The editors "advised contributors to simply write their activities, thoughts, and feelings throughout the day, without censure or second-guessing."

Thirty-five full-length entries and additional excerpts were chosen for the resulting book, released exactly one year after the stories were written. Some of the other contributors work includes orthopedic trauma surgeon, mine geologist, stay-at-home mom, long-distance truck driver, race car driver, high school math teacher, and boxing promoter and matchmaker.

Diane Tribitt's story, "Rancher," the second in the book, is rich with the activities of her busy ranch life, with never a dull moment during a long day filled with chores, calving, horses, equipment troubles, neighbors, children, cooking, phone calls, community events, writing, and more.

Journalist and photographer Jeri Dobrowski is acknowledged by the authors for lending her "talents and support" to the project. An excerpt written by her sister-in-law, Lana Janssen, assistant program manager of Billings' Montana Rescue Mission is included.

Read more at the Water Cooler Diairies web site, where there are reviews, blogs, featured excerpts and more.

Water Cooler Diaries; Women Across American Share Their Day at Work is available from Amazon and other booksellers.

Posted 3/27


  The Old West, New West: Grabbing the Future by the Horns DVD is the third collection of Deep West Videos from the Western Folklife Center. The short films, made by ranching families, most with no prior filmmaking experience, offer up-close glimpses into the rural and ranch life of the West. The project is in its eighth year, and two earlier DVDs are available, produced in 2006 and 2007.

Deep West Videos DVDs are produced by the Western Folklife Center's Taki Telonidis and Founding Director Hal Cannon. The official description tells that they feature "... first hand stories rooted in the values of life on the land in first-hand stories of the people of the rural West, living their daily lives on the land. With the tools of digital communication in hand, our filmmakers make simple productions that are relevant, everyday stories of rural life and its values." The collections of short video pieces on the DVDs are accompanied by descriptive notes. 

As we commented in reviews of the previous DVDs, "The subjects of the films cover a wide spectrum, all inspired by ranching life. The honest views are often remarkable in both their messages and their presentation. Every film—each in its unique way—speaks to the fragile existence of ranching in the West and each is an important piece of cultural preservation."

Old West, New West: Grabbing the Future by the Horns is a new initiative for the Deep West Videos project. The Western Folklife Center explains, "We asked for videos that explored the changing West, and what that means for men and women grounded in rural life. Our questions were: What are the challenges, triumphs, and surprises of country living in the 21st Century? How are the rural ingenuity and creativity born out of the Old West, being put to use in the New West?" The 2008 DVD includes six Deep West Videos and six of the films resulting from the new Old West, New West: Grabbing the Future by the Horns initiative.

The 2008 DVD includes Colorado poet and writer Jane Morton's film, "Branding," made with Bob Luttrell, who also created and performs the music. Jane recites her poem, Branding, while rich, well-selected vintage photos bring the story to life, illustrating what happened when her brother invited "city slickers" to help with branding. Jane's taciturn father is at the center of the story, and the result is a fine tribute to him and a vivid picture of a time past. (Jane Morton also contributed a film to the 2007 video, "Turning to Face the Wind," a film about her family's ranch and the effects of "progress." Read about her award-winning book by the same name, here. A photo from Jane's ranch adorns the cover of the DVD, and you can see that photo and read more about it here in our Picture the West feature.)

Top Western music singer and songwriter Patty Clayton's film, "Ben and Ole's Land," is a result of her "quest to find the family's original homestead." Patty narrates her story, and performs her music. Vintage and contemporary photos illustrate her ancestors' compelling stories and her own determined effort, doing "what ever it took," to uncover those stories and visit the sites of the Idaho ranches that had been owned by her great grandparents. (You can view some of her photos and read more, including her song, "Ben and Ole's Land," here in our Picture the West feature.)

Other projects on the 2008 DVD include the Old West, New West: Grabbing the Future by the Horns projects "Growing Home" by Tuda Libby Crews of Bueryos, New Mexico; "What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing on a Place Like This?" by Kristin Windbigler of Blocksburg, California; "From Logs to Lights," by Kier Atherton of Missoula, Montana; "Joe McCormack's Homeland" by Joe McCormack with Gwendolyn Trice of Joseph, Oregon; "Boarding Out," by Glynis Wright of Tuscarora, Nevada and Susan Church of North Fork, Nevada; and "Range War," by Whit Deschner of Sparta, Oregon. The additional Deep West Videos include "What Do You Do Around Here?" by Peter Church of North Fork, Nevada; "A Cow and Her Boy" by Cheryl Turner of Spring Creek, Nevada; "Kitchen on the Range" by Susan Church of North Fork, Nevada; "Brothers," by Cindi Nash of Spring Creek, Nevada; and the films mentioned above: "Branding," by Jane Morton and "Ben and Ole's Land" by Patty Clayton.

Read more about Deep West Video project and view some of the films on line at the Western Folklife Center web site.

The Deep West Videos DVDs are available from the Western Folklife Center bookstore.

Posted 3/17


  Veteran Texas journalist, historian, and writer Mike Cox' latest book is The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900. Cox, an elected member of the Texas Institute of Letters, began his writing career as a Texas newspaper reporter, then spent fifteen years as spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, which includes the Texas Rangers.

The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900 is described by the publisher.

Texas writer/historian Mike Cox explores the inception and rise of the famed Texas Rangers. Starting in 1821 with just a handful of men, the Rangers' first purpose was to keep settlers safe from the feared and gruesome Karankawa Indians, a cannibalistic tribe that wandered the Texas territory. As the influx of settlers grew, the attacks increased and it became clear that a much larger, better trained force was necessary.

From their tumultuous beginning to their decades of fighting outlaws, Comanche, Mexican soldados and banditos, as well as Union soldiers, the Texas Rangers became one of the fiercest law enforcement groups in America. In a land as spread-out and sparsely populated as the west itself, the Rangers had unique law-enforcement responsibilities and challenges.

The story of the Texas Rangers is as controversial as it is heroic. Often accused of vigilante-style racism and murder, they enforced the law with a heavy hand. But above all they were perhaps the defining force for the stabilization and the creation of Texas. From Stephen Austin in the early days through the Civil War, the first eighty years of the Texas Rangers is nothing less then phenomenal, and the efforts put forth in those days set the foundation for the Texas Rangers that keep Texas safe today.

The book and the author earn praise from respected Western writer Elmer Kelton, "Mike Cox has a unique background for presenting the checkered history of the Rangers. During several years as a spokesman for the Texas Department of Safety, he had access to detailed records and experienced first-hand the mystique that clings to this fabled law enforcement body. Though he gives us the flashes of glory, he does not flinch from the dark side of the Rangers' past."

The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900 is available from the publisher, Forge Books, and from Amazon and other outlets. 

[Thanks to Linda Kirkpatrick for the news of this book]

Posted 3/11


  Still: Cowboys at the Start of the Twenty-First Century is a sumptuous book of paradoxically simple images that engage the viewer on many levels. The images are Robb Kendrick's stunning tintypes of cowboys and ranchers, men and women of today, presented in a century-old process. The eye lingers on details and the imagination travels back and forth through time, viewing the images of people who could work and dwell back when photography was first born, but who are contemporary inhabitants of today's working West.  

The photos were taken across fourteen U.S. Western states, British Columbia, and Coahuila, Mexico. Occasional written pieces by the subjects are insightful and often eloquent. For example, Jim Myrick from Broken Arrow Equestrian, Nebraska talks about breeding horses, "You know, I eat, dream horses...horses are my life....I have a deep, deep passion for this country, mother earth, and livestock."  Royce Hanson from Sunlight Ranch, Montana, writes "It's just a way of life that come easy. Solitude, God, nature, and animals...Every place to me that you make a living and stay horseback is a good place....People wonder how you can live by yourself and not get out and not go out and so on and this and that. It's really pretty easy. If you can't live with yourself, it can't be any easier to live with a lot of people around you." Jodi Miner from Snowline Ranch, Montana, writes, "I'm proud to be a cowboy or a cowgirl, however you want to word it...I'm independent and able to do what I love and, even though it is generally a man's world, Iwomencan still hold their own.... " Merlin Rupp from Oregon writes, "Being a buckaroo means great freedom. It's no man owns you, you know, no man owns you. No words can describe it."

In his "Photographer's Notes," Robb Kendrick writes:

I have been drawn to photograph cowboys for twenty-five years—in tintype for the past six years. The tintype process takes me even closer to the cowboys in important ways, I believe. It requires more patience, and making each place by hand has shown me that I'm not always in control—environment, weather, and chance always play a part in the final product. In this world of yesterday deadlines and "perfect digital photography," I find a renewed awareness that patience and serendipity are important gifts...

Top photographer and writer Jay Dusard, in his Afterword, comments:

Here, at the beginning of our overly populous, overly conflicted, heartburn-inducing twenty-first century—on the toe of the curve, a photographer might say—Robb's timely images give me comfort and hope. A recent plane flight angled me across western New Mexico, over remote country that I had been horseback in, helping various rancher friends gather cattle. That nothing appeared to have changed made me think of Robb in his rig somewhere between British Columbia's Chilcotin River and the Sierra de la Encantada in Coahuila, traversing the cow country of three nations. He proved (perhaps only to himself and to me) that cowboys, old-timers and new recruits alike, may be threatened, but they're far from vanishing.  Robb Kendrick rode outside the circle and returned with immense revelations.

You can view sample images here at the the publisher's site, the University of Texas Press web site. There is another spread of images here at National Geographic, where they accompany an article on "21st Century Cowboys" by Robert Draper. Visit Robb Kendrick's web site, www.RobbKendrick.com to view more photos, see a video about his tintype process, and to learn more about his work and publications.

Still: Cowboys at the Start of the Twenty-First Century is available for $50, web sales discounted to $31.50 from the publisher, at Amazon, and from other outlets.

Posted 2/25


  The High Plains Press has published Robert Roripaugh's collection of eight stories, The Legend of Billy Jenks and other Wyoming Stories, "real Wyoming stories" set " against the Wind River country and the rugged landscape of the oilfields, written by someone who grew up on the land." Roripaugh was Wyoming's Poet Laureate from 1995-2002.

Wyoming writer and poet Jean Mathisen Haugen has a review of the book, here at CowboyPoetry.com. She writes in part, "Places are easily recognizable and though the stories are sometimes sad they carry a soaring grace of time and the people who lived in the Wind River country."  Read the complete review here.

Author Alyson Hagy (Snow, Ashes) comments, "[These stories are] rooted in Wyoming’s high mountains and plains, and are powerful with the scent of sagebrush, hay, and human grace. Robert Roripaugh is a true and wise guide through this rich land he loves."

The Legend of Billy Jenks and other Wyoming Stories is available for $15.95 plus postage from the publisher, High Plains Press; Amazon; and other outlets.

Posted 2/21


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/080613836X/omarwestscowbpoe The University of Oklahoma Press has released Charles M. Russell, A Catalogue Raisonné, edited by B. Byron Price, described as, "A lavishly illustrated book and on-line catalogue raisonné. The definitive reference for scholars, collectors, curators, art dealers, libraries, and anyone else who appreciates the art of Charles M. Russell." The project is further described:

One of the most beloved artists of the American West, Russell’s paintings, sketches, sculpture, illustrated letters, and stories are an unequalled legacy. Lavishly illustrated with more than 200 color and black-and-white reproductions of Russell’s greatest works, this beautiful volume features essays by experts and scholars who address important aspects of the artist’s life and career. Inside the book is a unique key code that allows purchasers to access a private online catalogue (www.russellraisonne.com) of more than 4,000 works Russell created and signed during his lifetime. Original owners of the book will have unlimited access to the site after registering.

The online catalogue, which includes an enlargeable image of each work, is fully searchable. Each entry includes the catalogue number, title, medium, dimensions, and, when available, the inscription, credit line, illustration, provenance, exhibition history, and bibliography. The catalogue will be updated as new information becomes available or additional works are found. Together, the book and the catalogue will serve as an essential reference for museums, galleries, collectors, scholars, and anyone who appreciates the art of Charles M. Russell. The result of more than a decade of research and scholarship, Charles M. Russell: A Catalogue Raisonné is published in cooperation with the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West at the University of Oklahoma and with the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana.

Visit the online catalog for a preview. The 352-page book, with 160 color and 65 black and white illustrations, is available for $125 from the University of Oklahoma Press, Amazon, and other outlets.

Posted 2/20


  Montana singer, songwriter, musician, storyteller, writer, auctioneer, fiddle expert, and Model T authority Stan Howe has released a second volume, Freida Learns to Drive, which follows the delightful Adventures of Herman & Freida and Their Model T. Ford. The stories are filled with humor, history, and well-drawn, endearing characters. They are described at www.hermanandfreida.com:

A collection of short stories—historical fiction about a family in North Dakota in the 1920's with their Model T's & their seven kids. There are Herman and his wife Freida; their children Einar, Torvald, Emmaline, Mayvelle and the triplets, Henry Herman, Ford Helferstout & Clara Freida. Follow their adventures raising their family and buying, driving and working on their Model T's. Follow them as they raise their family and find how the two youngest boys came to be named Ford Helferstout and Henry Herman.

Read more at the Herman and Freida web site.

Each book is available for $20 postpaid from HERMAN AND FREIDA BOOK, 4433 Red Fox Dr, Helena, Montana 59602.

Posted 2/11


  Deanna Dickinson McCall's short story, "Elena's Angels," is featured in Amazon.com's new Amazon Shorts feature.

Amazon.com describes Amazon Shorts as "never-before-seen short works from a wide variety of well-known authors, available only on Amazon.com."

Deanna comments, "I wrote 'Elena's Angels' to share the story of being Hispanic in today's West. It exposes the prejudices that still exist, but also gives us hope. Life in America's truly rural areas is often misrepresented and misunderstood. In 'Elena's Angels' I have brought to light the fact we all want to fit in, and be accepted for who we are, no matter where we are."

As her bio on Amazon tells, "Deanna Dickinson McCall is a 6th generation cattle rancher. She and her husband of 32 years raised their three children on a remote ranch without electricity or phone service. They currently ranch in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico. Deanna writes about the real West in modern times. The events and characters ring true from a lifetime of experience. She has viewed the West and ranching culture through the eyes of a child, wife, mother, and ranch hand. She has also written and performed her cowboy poetry throughout the West, appearing at places such as The Autry Museum of Los Angeles, and the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada."

Deanna also has a short story in the current issue of IM Cowgirl magazine (see more about the issue's contents here).

Read more at Amazon here, where "Elena's Angels" is available for download.

Read some of Deanna Dickinson McCall's poetry and more about her in our feature here.

Posted 1/28


 

Elsewhere at the BAR-D:

A selection of some standards in Cowboy Poetry and Western Music

New in 2009

New in 2007

New in 2006

New in 2005

New in 2004

Christmas books and music

Rick Huff's Best of the West Reviews

Jeri Dobrowski's Cowboy Jam Session

 

 

Your news and additions are always welcome.  Email us.

 


 

Always more news to come...

 

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