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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 2010.

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 2008

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 2010: Books:  Cowboy Poetry and Stories

 

  Poet and writer Jane Morton's long-anticipated second volume of poetry, In This Land of Little Rain is described:

Discover stories of the old West and the new West through poems of its people, its places, and its history. Enjoy more than fifty poems and many photographs spanning ninety years of a family ranch and eighty years of western living on the high plains of northeastern Colorado.

Jane Morton's observations gathered through a lifetime of western living, look into our changing West at previously undiscovered horizons. Some will amuse, others will touch hearts, and all will shed new light on rural life in the West.

Jane Morton writes, in her book's Introduction, "My poems tell about my family, the grasslands of northeastern Colorado, and our ranch seven miles southwest of Fort Morgan, which has been in the family since 1915." The ranch, inherited by her brother, was sold in 2007. She says of her family's legacy, "For ninety years, they were stewards of the land. When my grandparents died, they left little money. They could have sold the ranch in their later years and retired in town, but they weren't looking for short-term gain. They were trying to build a heritage. Money wasn't as important as the land. The land meant security. 'Take care of the land, and it will take care of you,' was the creed they lived by, and it served them well."

Poet and writer Rod Miller writes in the Foreword, "...her work emerges from the Western Plains like a song or sea of grass. She writes of the land and the people who love it—often her own people and the family ranch, now gone, but not forgotten....The Western plains made an indelible impression on the poet, and her poems will do the same for you...."

Jane Morton's previous book, Cowboy Poetry: Turning to Face the Wind, includes stories, poems, and photos about her pioneering family. The book was a Willa Award finalist and received the Will Rogers Medallion Award and the Arizona Book Publishers' Glyph Award. There is also a CD of 19 poems from Turning to Face the Wind.

Jane has appeared at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and is a frequent performer at many other Western events. Her films about her family's ranching life are a part of the Western Folklife Center's Deep West Video project. She was an early Lariat Laureate at CowboyPoetry.com and was named the 2007 Top Female Poet by the Academy of Western Artists. Her poetry is featured on the first edition of The BAR-D Roundup and The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Four.

See the complete table of contents for In This Land of Little Rain here.

Read some of Jane Morton's poetry and more about her in our feature here.

In This Land of Little Rain is available for $13.95 plus $4.50 for shipping and handling from Jane Morton, 12710 Abert Way, Colorado Springs, CO 80908; 719-495-9304; janemortonpoet@gmail.com.

Posted 8/12


  Montana Poet Laureate, rancher, author, and Crow elder Henry Real Bird's first collection of poetry, Horse Tracks, has been published by Lost Horse Press. From the publisher's information:

Henry Real Bird is a rancher and educator who raises bucking horses on Yellow Leggins Creek in the Wolf Teeth Mountains. He was born and raised on the Crow Indian Reservation in the tradition of the Crow by his grandparents, Mark and Florence Real Bird. Educated in Montana at Crow Agency, Hardin, Bozeman and Billings, he has a Master’s Degree in general education. Henry has punched cows, worked in rodeos, and taught school from Kindergarten to college level. He began writing poetry in 1969 after an extended stay in the hospital. He still speaks Crow as his primary language and feels this has helped in writing his poetry....

Western Folklife Center Founding Director Hal Cannon comments, "...We look to Henry for a check of the pulse of things coded in words that work to decipher what he often calls 'feelings.' But are they more like soundings of the heart and of the earth? And then again are they poems, songs,or prayers? All I know is I’m glad they are preserved."

You can listen to Henry Real Bird's keynote address from the Western Fokllife Center's 2010 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering here.

The non-profit, independent Lost Horse Press, "...publishes poetry titles of high literary merit, and makes available other fine contemporary literature through cultural, educational and publishing programs and activities."

Read more about Horse Tracks here at the publisher's web site.

Henry Real Bird was named Montana Poet Laureate by Governor Brian Schweitzer in 2009. The position "recognizes and honors a citizen poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment. The state Poet Laureate's role is to encourage appreciation of poetry and literary life in Montana by giving readings and presentations throughout the state, making poetry available to a wide state audience." See a profile and find more information here from the Montana Arts Council.

Henry Real Bird appears frequently at the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and at other gatherings across the West.

Horse Tracks is available for $22 postpaid from Lost Horse Press, 105 Lost Horse Lane, Sandpoint, ID 83864; losthorsepress.org.

Posted 11/1


 You can nearly smell the pine and the cookies baking in top South Dakota poet Yvonne Hollenbeck's Christmas on the Range and other poems. She has collected 25 of her best Christmas poems, a varied and satisfying bundle, seasoned with heart, humor, compassion, nostalgia, and the true spirit of the season. Her life as a ranch wife, mother, and daughter shines a special light on the book's poems, family photos, a recipe, and reminiscences.

To borrow the title of one of the poems, the beautifully bound, gilt-lettered hardcover is "The Perfect Gift."

Yvonne Hollenbeck is a widely heralded, popular cowboy poet, with many appearances at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and every other top event, and top awards from the Western Music Association and Academy of Western Artists. Her books and records likewise have earned honors.

See a list of the contents here in our feature about Yvonne Hollenbeck.

Christmas on the Range and other poems is available for $18 postpaid from: Yvonne Hollenbeck, 30549 291st Street, Clearfield, South Dakota 57580 - 605/557-3559 email, www.YvonneHollenbeck.com

Posted 10/14


It's an inspired team, a nearly combustible mixture: the humorous poetry and stories of Les Buffham and the illustrations of popular cartoonist A-10 Etcheverry.

Their new collaboration, Cleanin' Up, is sure to delight their fans, who don't need to worry about there having been any damaging "cleaning up" of Les Buffham's signature hilarity. The book's title was probably inspired by the cover photo by Lori Faith Merritt ( www.photographybyfaith.com).

A-10 Etcheverry's rich cartoons, which stand on their own, are full of action and expression, closer to cinema than drawings. Visit A-10 Etcheverry's web site, www.crayolacowboy.com, for more of his work.

Find the list of contents here in our feature about Les Buffham. A new blog at saddlestrings.wordpress.com  tells more about the book and includes an interview with A-10 Etcheverry.

To order Cleanin' Up, contact either of the authors: lesbuffham@yahoo.com or a-10@crayolacowboy.com.

Posted 10/13


Poet Clark Crouch has a new book of poetry and stories, Harkin' Home. From the publisher:

Western Poetry Publications (an imprint of The Resource Network) of Bothell, Washington, has released a new book, Harkin’ Home (ISBN 978-0-9624438-8-6), by Clark Crouch, the author of eight books of poetry and a two-time winner of the Will Rogers Medallion Award for his cowboy poetry books: Western Images (2008) and Views from the Saddle (2010). The new book, which is distributed by Ingram Book Company, contains fifty poems and six short stories and is available on order through any bookseller.

The book's foreword is by Brian Crane, creator of the Pickles comic strip. Pickles occasionally portrays a character, Earl, an aspiring cowboy poet. Find the widely syndicated strip here.

Read some of Clark Crouch's poetry here and visit his web site, poetry.crouchnet.com.

Posted 10/7


The first academic anthology to focus on cowboy poets east of the Mississippi, Georgia Cowboy Poets, by David Fillingim and published by Mercer University Press, presents a history of cowboy poetry, a survey of the contemporary scene, and a collection of poems by Georgia poets.

 

Included are the works of poets Doc Stovall, Joel Hayes, Jerry Warren, Tom Kerlin, and six others, including David Fillingim. Fillingim's preface explains that the book was inspired by his attendance at the Southeastern Cowboy Gathering at the Booth Western Art Museum. Fillingim's essay, "The Cowboy Poetry Phenomenon," offers an extensive background of the history and modern practice of cowboy poetry, with generous references. Another essay, "Keeping Georgia a Western State: The Georgia Cowboy Poets," explains the foundation of cowboy poetry in the state and how its events and poets contrast with cowboy poetry elsewhere.

 

Popular Canadian poet Doris Daley provides the book's foreword. She comments that the book "...reminds us all who big the West really is."

 

David Fillingim is also the author of Redneck Liberation: Country Music as Theology and other books. He is an associate professor of Philosophy at Shorter College in Rome, Georgia.

 

Find more about Georgia Cowboy Poets, including order information, at the Mercer University Press web site.

 

Posted 4/26

 


  Rancher, editor, publisher and poet John Dofflemyer's 2009 Dry Crik Journal includes 30 poems in a limited-edition (150 copies) chapbook. The poems appeared throughout the year at at John and Robbin Dofflemyer's blog sponsored by the Western Folklife Center.

Of the third generation to ranch in Central California at the confluence of Dry Creek and the Kaweah River, John Dofflemyer's dedication recognizes "our Dry Creek community, both wild and domestic." He comments here, along with the introduction of the new chapbook, that "2009 has been a wonderful year for Robbin and me, blessed to pursue this lifestyle in a place a little more removed from the media hysterics and the impacts of Wall Street. Ours has been an every day affair invested trying to stay here, trying new things while trying to stay out of the line of fire..."

 

Most of the incisive and deeply thoughtful poems reflect that life, with the "outside" sometimes making an appearance. The work and world of ranching dominates, with side trails to observations as diverse as wrens, Cerberus, mortality, and to other worthwhile diversions. A few poems recognize the importance of other writers and the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in the poet's life, including a steamy piece, "Stockman's," dedicated to the outstanding harp player of Cowboy Celtic, Kerri Lynn Zwicker.

 

"Branding Belle Point" stands out as a certain heart of the work, "There is so much we cannot say with words....No time to ponder more than who we are—/or what we've done for generations, now/the why of it worth reverence one more time." Fortunately, other times throughout the year did give time for contemplation, and this book delivers far more than a year's worth of wisdom, inspiration, and ideas for the reader's own pondering.

John Dofflemyer's previous book, Poems from Dry Creek, received the 2008 Western Heritage Wrangler Award
from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

John Dofflemyer is the editor and publisher of the Dry Crik Review, which recently resumed publishing in an electronic format, available at www.drycrikreview.com. Dry Crik Review of Contemporary Cowboy Poetry appeared in print format from 1991-1994. In late 2005 a "lost issue" of Dry Crik Review became available through John and Robbin Doffleymer's blog. See our feature here that includes a collective index of authors, poems, and prose for the print versions and the "lost issue."

2009 Dry Crik Journal is available for $12 postpaid from Dry Crik Press, P.O. Box 44320, Lemon Cove, CA 93244.

See John and Robbin Dofflemyer's blog here for other publications available from Dry Crik Press.

Posted 2/24


Oklahoma poet Janice Chapman's latest collection, If I Could Be a Poet, includes 104 poems. It is described, "This work showcases the experience and life's simple things as seen through the heart of Janice N Chapman and reflects a lifestyle that is all but gone."

Find more information at her web site, www.janicenchapman.com and find order information at Lulu.com.

Posted 2/24


  Wyoming poet, popular radio host and emcee, humorist, and writer Andy Nelson honors his family's generations of cowboys and farriers in his impressive, entertaining, and important new book, Riding with Jim. His satisfying, humorous, and meaningful stories and poetry interweave with stories written by his father James F. Walker Nelson, and are accompanied by top illustrator Bonnie Shield's drawings.

Some of the early praise includes comments by respected balladeer Don Edwards, "...a great collection of stories and poetry. Andy's love for his dad, family and traditional values shine through on every page. This is great reading..."; Alan Geoffrion, the author of Broken Trail, "....He captures the art of subtle humor in all his work. He makes you want to tuck in at the supper table and say, 'Please pass the potatoes and Andy, tell us another one.'"; singer, songwriter and novelist Jon Chandler, "...an important book new book for those who understand the cowboy's West as well as for those who've not had the pleasure. Riding with Jim personifies the Wyoming Life, complete with nature's beauty, spirited horses, ranch life, cowboy geniuses and fools, and life's little vagaries. But ultimately, it is Andy Nelson's remarkable take on the precious and perfect concept of family"; and top cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell, who offers his comments in poetry: "I've been Baptized and Chastised/Socialized and Civilized/Criticized and Demonized/and that is just the start."  Read the rest of his poem and more at Andy Nelson's web site, www.cowpokepoet.com.

Also read more about Andy and some of his poetry in our feature here and about his father in a feature here.

Described by Andy Nelson as the most meaningful project he has undertaken, Riding with Jim is available for $25.00 postpaid from Andy Nelson, PO Box 1547, Pinedale WY 82941; (307) 367-2842; www.cowpokepoet.com; andy@cowpokepoet.com.

Posted 2/10


Texas poet Sherrod Fielden's new book is Rhyme and Reason: A Collection of Poems by Sherrod L. Fielden, Writer of Rhyme!

From the publisher's description:

Sherrod L. Fielden was born on a farm on the south plains of Texas. His birthplace is Lamb County, which was in the Yellowhouse's (#7 division of the original XIT ranch. As a boy, he was acquainted with the cowboys still working ranches in the area, and many of his cowboy poems are based on his remembrances of those men and their stories. Sherrod is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. His patriotic poetry comprises moving tributes to America's heroes wearing the uniform of our country. Some of Sherrod's work is serious and thought-provoking, and some is humorous and just plain fun. His poetry is written in common, everyday language and appeals to persons in every walk of life. Writing only rhyming poetry, he vividly captures the feel of the “down home,” ordinary person. Sherrod wants his poetry to be that which anyone can pick up, read, and enjoy.

Read more about Sherrod Fielden and some of his poetry here at CowboyPoetry.com.

Rhyme and Reason: A Collection of Poems by Sherrod L. Fielden, Writer of Rhyme! is available from Sherrod Fielden (you may request an autographed or inscribed copy) for $23.95 postpaid: 1605 W. 9th Street, Apt. A-9
Clifton, TX 76634;
254-675-2872. The book is also available from Amazon, Publish America, and other booksellers.

Posted 2/9


  Montana ranch hand DW Groethe's newest chapbook of poems, The Night Ol' Flukie Foundered, showcases his quirky and generous gifts. His range is as wide as they come, and his poems about ranching life are written as deftly as his fine observations of nature and humanity. His works can be serious, ironic, insightful, romantic, and humorous (sometimes all in the same poem). This volume includes two of his more raucous tales, the title poem and the infamous and unfortunately popular "The Ballad of Murphy's Outhouse." [This description in no way reflects the tastes of the editor or the standards of this publication.]  

 

However, the title poem will appear on the forthcoming edition of The BAR-D Roundup.


A previous chapbook, another excellent collection, My Father's Horses, is also available.


Find the list of contents here and read more about DW Groethe and some of his poetry in our feature here.


The Night Ol' Flukie Foundered is available for $15 postpaid from DW Groethe, Box 144, Bainville, MT 59212; 406/769-2312.


Posted 1/5

 


  Riding In is a new chapbook of poems and stories from California writer, poet, and horsewoman Janice Gilbertson. She uses her talents to set scenes that let readers fully experience all the senses that come alive in her unique stories and poems.

Find the list of contents here and read more about Janice Gilbertson and some of her poetry in our feature here.

Janice Gilbertson's poem, "Sometimes in the Lucias," from her book of the same name, was a 2009 Western Writers of America Spur Award finalist.

Riding In, published by BK Publications of Eagle, Idaho, is available for $11 postpaid from Janice Gilbertson, PO Box 350, King City, CA 93930.

Posted 1/4


 

 

 



New in 2010: Cowboy Poetry recordings, CDs and DVDs

 

Top cowboy poet and storyteller Baxter Black has an exciting new release, Baxter Black Double DVD Live. The generous set goes a long way toward showing how and why he came to be the incomparable ambassador of cowboy poetry. That trajectory is displayed in previously uncollected segments of his appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, the popular television show that ran from 1962 to 1992.

The Western Folklife Center's Founding Director Hal Cannon joins him on the new DVD, along with The Tonight Show producer Jeff Sotzing, in comfortable and candid conversation from Baxter's living room as they introduce each segment from the television show. They share many behind-the-scenes memories; Baxter tells how he was told at first that he was "too cow-y" for the show. (Baxter Black was already making a living as a cowboy poet and storyteller, before the Western Folklife Center's first Cowboy Poetry Gathering was held in Elko, Nevada, in 1985, and he and Hal Cannon talk about the event's beginnings, as well.) The Tonight Show segments, from 1987-1992, include Baxter's performance of eight pieces, including many that are still often-requested favorites, such as "Vegetarian's Nightmare," "The Oyster," and "AARP!"

Other cowboy poets appeared on The Tonight ShowWaddie Mitchell, Lloyd Gerber, Colen Sweeten, Rodney Nelson, Carlos Ashley, Martin Bergin, Kay Kelley, Gwen Petersen, Nyle Henderson, and Rod McQueary (see more in our Who Knows? feature here)— and you'll catch a glimpse of Waddie Mitchell in 1987 and a short segment with Carlos Ashley. Fun extras are included on The Tonight Show DVD, including "A Cowboy's Document of Contrition," written after a night of "misbehavior"; "Limo," about Baxter Black's famous ranch-rig Cadillac; and outtakes of the making of the DVD.

A different sort of just-as-satisfying energy is on display in the second CD, which features a 2002 Baxter Black and Friends show from Iowa Public Television. There, in live performance before an ag-friendly studio audience, Baxter Black delivers his signature physical performances and all-out crazy and brilliant material—often "cow-y"that didn't need to be selected with a national television audience in mind. Along with stories and poems, Baxter sings and plays guitar for  several of his songs, backed up by regular cast members Cindy Lou Black on fiddle, and Chris Gauss and Butch Hause on guitar. One hilarious musical segment, "Iowa Medley," substitutes Iowa towns for well-known standards, with two Iowans attempting to point out locations on a map during quick presentations of tunes renamed, for example, "Rose of Okoboji"; "I Left My Heart in Webster City"; "Almost Heaven, Downtown Mallard," "The Davenport Stud," and a frantic rapid-fire "I've Been Everywhere." In another song, "The Big One Who Got Away," after joking criticism of it sounding like "a trail song for a turtle drive," the players rock out, to the delight of the audience.

The second DVD also has bonus material, including segments from Baxter Black Out There, a show currently running on RFD-TV. Both well-produced DVDs are tied together with impressive Arizona footage and the music of guitarist and master sound engineer Butch Hause.

Throughout it all, Baxter Black makes his performances look effortless, connecting in his direct, electric way with the audience—his facial expressions alone could make for an entertaining collection. Behind all of that is his intricate craft, finely honed, resulting in the sort of complexity that makes the timeless material worth watching over and over.

Find more about Baxter Black in our feature here and much more about him and the Baxter Black Double DVD Live at his web site, www.BaxterBlack.com, where there are special offers for the DVD set.

Posted 11/8


   Popular cowgirl poet and humorist Sam DeLeeuw opens her latest CD, Women of the West, with a few "You might be a rancher's wife if..." comments that set the mood for what's to come. The CD includes nearly two dozen poems, her original work as well as one poem by Brian Arnold and one by Bill Barwick. There are autobiographical poems from her ranchwife experiences; cowboy and Western life tales; poems featuring her signature "Hilda the camp cook" character; at least one love poem (Bill Barwick's "Quiet Old Cowboy"); and also serious works honoring Western women.

She comments in her liner notes, "The balance of happiness and sadness in life is what makes the world spin. God has allowed me to write about both, because as we have learned, we must know the one to appreciate the other."

Find the complete playlist here, where there are poems and more about Sam DeLeeuw.

Women of the West is available for $18 postpaid from Sam DeLeeuw, 5579 So. 2800 West #B, Roy, UT 84067.

Posted 9/23


  We're pleased to announce the release of The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Five (2010) CD, our fifth compilation of vintage and contemporary recordings of some of the  best cowboy poetry. A wide range of voices present tales that express this venerable art form, words that uncover "the heartbeat of the working West."

This fifth annual edition of The BAR-D Roundup includes a vintage recording of Charles Badger Clark, Jr. (1883-1957) introducing and reciting his still-popular poem, "The Cowboy's Prayer," and contemporary poets reciting their work, including "Awakenings" by rancher, horseman, and National Endowment of the Arts Fellow Joel Nelson; "The Fence That Me and Shorty Built" by songwriter, poet, entertainer and past Texas Poet Laureate Red Steagall; and "No Second Chance" by top cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell.

Also included are "Waitin' on the Drive" by the late Larry McWhorter (1957-2003), and "Some Cowboy Brag Talk" by the legendary Harry Jackson.

Classic selections include a focus on Charles Badger Clark, Jr. with recitations by Randy Rieman ("The Married Man"), Jerry Brooks ("The Legend of Boastful Bill"), and Hal Swift ("Jeff Hart"). Other classic offerings include Linda Kirkpatrick's rendition of "The Creak of the Leather" by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950); S. Omar Barker (1895-1985) poems recited by Susan Parker ("Ranch Mother") and Jim Thompson ("He'll Do"); and Rex Rideout's recitation of the anonymous "When Bob Got Throwed."

The CD has a fifth annual selection from Grass, the master work by the late Buck Ramsey (1938-1998), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, recognized as the spiritual leader of modern cowboy poetry.

There are many additional tracks of contemporary poems, most from poets who frequently please audiences from contemporary gathering stages, including: Marty Blocker, Ken Cook, Doris Daley, Janice Gilbertson, DW Groethe, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Chris Isaacs, Dee Strickland Johnson ("Buckshot Dot"), Andy Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Pat Richardson, Georgie Sicking, Jay Snider, and Diane Tribitt.

Every year's CD includes a radio public service announcement about the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry. This year, it is delivered by popular radio DJ Joe Baker of New Mexico's Backforty Bunkhouse.

The BAR-D Roundup cover images are vintage photos of poets or their forebears. This year's cover features a circa 1940 image of Georgie Sicking, cowboy, poet, and Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee. Inside each year's CD, a contemporary ranch family photo is featured. For 2010, there's a photo of cowboys, family, and friends at poet and writer Diane Tribitt's Minnesota ranch.

Poems and permissions were generously donated by poets, musicians, families, organizations, and publishers.

The BAR-D Roundup enjoys wide radio airplay, thanks to the pro bono distribution to hundreds of Western radio stations by Joe Baker of New Mexico's Backforty Bunkhouse. Wyoming's Andy Nelson, poet, humorist, popular emcee and co-host of the award-winning Clear Out West (C. O. W.) Radio show is the CD's engineer and co-producer.

The BAR-D Roundup CDs are sent to rural libraries as a part of Cowboy Poetry Week's Rural Library Project. They are also a premium for supporters of CowboyPoetry.com and the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, and are offered for sale.

Find a narrative description of the CD's contents, with poem excerpts in our feature here.

The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Five is available for $20 postpaid (and there are special orders for bundles with previous editions). You can order electronically here or send a check or money order in US funds (find a printable form here) to: CowboyPoetry.com, PO Box 330444, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Posted 4/14


Top reciter Jerry Brooks showcases her considerable talents in Shoulder to Shoulder, a long-awaited CD of her recitations of some of the greatest American and Australian classics (and one contemporary American cowboy poem, by Andy Wilkinson). Selections by classic cowboy and bush poets include Katherine Fall Pettey,
Charles Badger Clark, Jr., Henry Lawson, Henry Herbert Knibbs, Harry H. (Breaker) Morant, Bruce Kiskaddon, Buck Ramsey, and A.B. (Banjo) Paterson. Find a complete track list here.

Liner notes include some biographical information for the poets and Jerry Brooks comments on her connections to the poems. The CD's title is a quote from Sir Isaac Newton, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." She tells about how the giants of her own lifetime, "some human, some equine, some geologic—maybe even mythologic" have given her lots of "boosts-up" along the way.

Shoulder to Shoulder is available for $15 postpaid from: Jerry Brooks, 4845 W. Clear Creek Canyon Rd., Sevier, UT 84766.

Updated 4/3


  Sharing the title with one of her most popular poems, top South Dakota poet and ranch wife Yvonne Hollenbeck's latest CD is Sorting Time. The collection has many of her newer, most-requested poems and a couple of older favorites. The poems offer up her world with humor and with her signature wry observations of ranch life, cowboys, and the joys and challenges of marriage. 

The CD package says it all, "Yvonne Hollenbeck writes about her life as a cowboy-rancher's wife on the Northern Plains. She is not only one of the most published poets, but is the top award-winning cowgirl poet in America."

A frequent performer at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and other events across the West, in "Woman's Worst Fear," she mentions some of the well-known poets and their poems (including Pat Richardson, Red Steagall, and the late Sunny Hancock). That poem, like so many of her best stories, keeps the listener interested from the first word. Her twists, turns, and unexpected endings are a great part of what charms her enthusiastic audiences.

Along with the title track, other standouts include "The Ranch Wife's Top Ten List," "I Dunno," and the one serious piece, the moving tale of "The Auction." "The Cowboy and the Quilter," like all of the poems, draws on her life; her own quilts have earned her many top honors.

Today, there are no doubt fewer ranch wives than there are cowboys. With humor often laced with wisdom, Yvonne Hollenbeck welcomes listeners into her rare life, one that—despite the challenges that offer her such great materialshe clearly treasures and wants to share with you. The delightful incidental fiddle music of her 95-year-old Old Time Fiddle Champion father, Harry Hanson, is the frosting on the cake of this new release of always-original poems, another excellent offering from one of today's most popular poets.

Read more about Yvonne Hollenbeck and some of her poems in our feature here, and find the entire track list for Sorting Time.

Sorting Time is available for $18 postpaid from: Yvonne Hollenbeck, 30549 291st Street, Clearfield, South Dakota 57580 - 605/557-3559 email, www.YvonneHollenbeck.com

Posted 3/9


  North Dakota poet Jarle Kvale's second CD, Fancy Fencin', includes twelve original poems.

See the track list here, along with one of his poems.

Jarle is a frequent performer at the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering. He is the program director at KEYA Public Radio in Belcourt, North Dakota.

Fancy Fencin' is available for $14 postpaid from: Jarle Kvale, PO Box 488, Dunseith, ND 58329; jpkvale@srt.com

Posted 6/8


Ranch-raised poet Jessica Hedges' first recording, History in the Barn, is described:

History in the Barn is the debut cowboy poetry CD for ranch daughter and wife, Jessica Hedges. It talks about her experiences, and of those close to her, all wrapped up with a windy or two. The story lines emulate honor, integrity, history, humor and sorrow. She illustrates a "no-holds-barred" attitude as she talks about ranch life, past and present...

History in the Barn includes 11 original poems and Jessica Hedges' recitation of Waddie Mitchell's "Where to Go."

 

Find more about Jessica Hedges and a track list, downloads, and order information here information at Jessica Hedges' web site, www.jessicahedgescowboypoetry.com, and at MySpace:
www.myspace.com/hedgesjessica.

 

Posted 2/24


  The Gypsy Cowman...a Vanishing Breed is a DVD "about honor, friendship, Eastern Montana and the life of a cowboy poet," Owen Badgett.

From the producers:

The story of Owen Badgett was shot over a 10-year period as Crosby [Linda Lou Crosby, producer and director] and crew followed Badgett on wagon train rides, cattle roundups, and visits with neighboring ranchers across Eastern Montana. “It has been ten of the most wonderful years of my life,” added Crosby. “The Eastern Montana lifestyle is about friends, family and neighbors—not to mention hard work, and fun.”

....The documentary tells the tale of Badgett, who, like his father before him, runs his herd of cattle on land he does not own. Owen's stories take you to a place where neighbor helps neighbor, a person's word is his bond, where love of land underlies it all. According to the Lone Pine Film Festival, "Owen Badgett, a third generation Eastern Montanan with three books of poetry and stories to his credit, is about as cowboy as they come; tough as nails and no-frills but with a heart of gold."

....
The Gypsy Cowman…A Vanishing Breed DVD, which includes Bob Petermann’s special feature, is available at www.inyokernhorsehotel.com....

See an introduction to the film here on YouTube.

Find more information here and order information here, or call Linda Lou Crosby, 760-377-5001 for more information.

Posted 2/4

  Popular songwriter and singer Jean Prescott has produced an important, impressive CD set, The Poetry of Larry McWhorter. The recording includes the works of Larry McWhorter (1957-2003), one of the most respected contemporary cowboy poets. The CDs include Larry McWhorter's recitations of his poetry, and eleven poems that were never recorded, recited by some of today's top performers.

Jean Prescott describes the release:

The Poetry of Larry McWhorter is the complete collection of Larry McWhorter's cowboy poems. There were eleven poems that Larry never recorded and that's where a number of his peers came into the picture. Red Steagall, Waddie Mitchell, Chris Isaacs, Andy Hedges, Gary McMahan, Dennis Flynn, Oscar Auker and Jesse Smith all eagerly agreed to help out with the project.

Larry had always wanted to recite two of his favorite poems with Waddie Mitchell, "The Retirement of Ashtola" and "Cowboy Count Yer Blessings." Thanks to Waddie, Hal Cannon, Rich O'Brien, and engineer, Aarom Meador, we were able to make that a reality. You can just see Larry and Waddie on stage reciting those poems.

After listening to both CDs for the first time, I came to an even greater realization of what a great poet Larry was and what we lost as a genre when he left us. I am thrilled to be able to present this double CD to the world of cowboy poetry knowing that young cowboy poets and fans alike will be able to enjoy and recite Larry's classic contemporary cowboy poems for years to come.

Find more about Larry McWhorter and some of his poetry in our feature here, and view the entire project and complete track list in a special feature here.

The Poetry of Larry McWhorter 2-CD set is available for $25 postpaid from Prescott Music, P. O. Box 194, Ovalo, TX 79541.

All profits from the sale of the CD will go to "Reins of Glory Equine Therapy" which is under the umbrella of Andrea McWhorter Ministries. The program uses horses to help those recovering from addictions to continue the process of healing. It is based near Akron, Colorado.

Posted 1/12
 

 

 


New in 2010:  Mixed Cowboy Poetry and Music Recordings

 

  Sure to get you in a holiday mood and keep you there, Sleigh Belles, from the Sweethearts in Carhartts, is a Christmas package overflowing with the spirit. Their wide selection of poems and songs—24 generous tracksshowcases the sparkling vocals and fine harmonies of respected singers Liz Masterson and Jean Prescott, and the award-winning poetry of Yvonne Hollenbeck.

There's fun, nostalgia, reverence, style, and even a bit of yodeling. The music is a fresh collection, far from a batch of the usual Christmas tunes. The "Sweethearts" celebrate good songwriting in their choices of some excellent tunes by others, including Tex Williams' "Christmas Time's a Comin'"; "The Only Thing I Want for Christmas, by Vick Night, Johnny Lange, and Lew Porter; "The Pot-Bellied Stove" by Scott Vaughn; and "When it's Christmas on the Range" by Dave Denny and Perry Ward, to name just a few. Jean Prescott, known for her songwriting collaborations, also performs songs she has written with Gary Prescott, Doris Daley, and Yvonne Hollenbeck.

Yvonne Hollenbeck may be the patron poet of Christmas (she has a new collection of her Christmas poems,
Christmas on the Range and other poems). Her poems can take you back in time, take you back to what's important, make you laugh, and warm your heart. From stories that come right out of her ranch life ("Best Gift I've Had in Years") to the often-requested "The Christmas Quilt," you are drawn into the scenes that her words create.

An impressive crew backs up the Sweethearts in Carhartts with standout music (Butch Hause, Ernie Martinez, John Magnie, Jon Chandler, Chris Strongle, and Tom Nugent). Waddie Mitchell, Gary McMahan, and Jon Chandler add to the fun when they join in on "Cooper's Christmas," a song by Yvonne Hollenbeck and Jean Prescott.

See a complete list of contents here in our feature about Jean Prescott here in our feature about Yvonne Hollenbeck, and find audio samples and at www.thesweetheartsincarhartts.com.

Sleigh Belles is available from The Sweethearts in Carhartts, Prescott Music, PO Box 194, Ovalo, TX 79541; 325-583-2553; jeanprescott@taylortel.net; www.thesweetheartsincarhartts.com.

Posted 10/21


  Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue announce their Christmas CD:

Christmas Shoppin’ At The General Store, a new holiday CD from Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue (Bruce & Susan Matley), isn’t just “business as usual”: six original songs by David H. Schroeder, Theresa Chedoen and Susan Matley are featured, plus original poetry by Bruce Matley (included in a rendition of “Silent Night”). The estate of cowboy poetry master S. Omar Barker granted kind permission to include Barker’s poem “Three Wise Men” in this project. The CD is topped off with holiday favorites “White Christmas,” “Away In A Manger,” and the poem, “The Night Before Christmas.”

Personnel are Susan Matley (bass, vocals, accordion), Bruce Matley (guitar, vocals) and Theresa Chedoen (harp). The project was recorded, mixed and mastered by Neville Pearsall at Synergy Sound (www.synergysoundpt.com). The cover photo, courtesy of Imbert Matthee, was taken at Waitsburg Hardware and Merchantile in Waitsburg, Washington (co-owner John Stellwagen appears in the photo). This store is the “real deal” complete with squeaking wooden floors and a pot-bellied stove where wheat ranchers, cattlemen and other locals gather to shoot the breeze over endless pots of coffee.

To purchase or preview Christmas Shoppin’ At The General Store go to www.nevadaslim.com/albums.htm.

Find the complete track list here at the BAR-D along with some poetry by Susan Matley.

Posted 10/4


  Poet, musician, songwriter Susie Knight's CD, Western Wordsmith, includes 17 original songs and poems. The CD was produced by Duke Davis, who also provides stand-up bass. Other musicians include Ernie Martinez, Jody Adams, and Jimmy Lee Robbins.

Susie Knight's web site tells she has, "...owned AQHA horses, competed in horse shows and rodeos, and enjoyed trail riding. She's worked on ranches as a wrangler, ranch hand, horse trainer, and trail guide in Illinois, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Colorado. Currently, she schools horses for private owners in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Denver, Colorado. Susie writes to capture the spirit of western lifestyles, the heart of the cowboy, and the wonder of nature..."

Western Wordsmith is available for $18 postpaid from Susie Knight, 7377 S. Brook Forest Rd., Evergreen, CO 80439. Visit Susie Knight's web site, cowpokesandclowns.com, for more about her and her work.

Posted 9/28 


 

 

New in 2010:  Western Music recordings

 

  From Jerry Schleicher:

Years before my friend Steven Spalding began writing and performing cowboy and country gospel music, he was a rising star in Nashville. He's now rereleased several of his hit singles from the 1970s on a new CD featuring backup music by some of the greatest musicians in Nashville history.

My Nashville Years traces of the famed "Nashville Sound" run throughout cowboy and country gospel recording artist Steven Spalding's latest CD. The album includes a rerelease of eight hit singles written and recorded by Spalding in the 1970s, with backup music provided by Boots Randolf on sax, Buddy Edmonds on steel guitar, Floyd Cramer on piano, and D.J. Fontana on drums. The CD opens with "A Lighter Shade of Blue," the hit single that propelled Spalding to three Country Music Association award nominations in 1977. Songs written and recorded by Spalding also include "Country Entertainer," "Please Don't Cry," "Angie," "Trippin," "Hurt Me More," "My Parade," and "You Never Cared Much For Love Songs." The CD also features Spalding's covers of "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," written by Ed and Patsy Bruce, and "For The Good Times," written by Ray Price.

Spalding was a regular on the Wheeling, West Virginia, Jamboree in the mid-1960s, and made multiple appearances on the Grand Ol' Opry in the 1970s. In recent years he's turned his talent to writing, recording and performing cowboy and country gospel music. My Nashville Years is the 8th CD written and recorded by Spalding in the last five years. The CD is available for $15 by contacting: Steven Spalding Music, 802 Wasson Drive, Nixa, MO 65714; www.circlesministry.org.

Posted 12/2


  Top-selling cowboy singer and songwriter Michael Martin Murphey's newest Christmas CD is Cowboy Christmas II—Acoustic Christmas Carols (a re-issue of the 1999 collection). An important "keeper of Christmas" with his annual tour that includes his Christmas Ball at the annual National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Murphey offers fourteen classic tunes.

Find the playlist here in our Christmas books and music feature and also along with order information here at Michael Martin Murphey's web site. You can listen to track samples at Amazon.

Posted 11/30


  A national treasure and tireless ambassador for cowboy and Western music, Don Edwards represents the "loyal opposition" in his impressive new CD, American. With American songs from "America the Beautiful" to "The Hell-bound Train," to "This Land is Your Land," he offers a defiant pride, a rebellious patriotic message, and a fierce love for his country and for the West.

In perfect voice and with his fine guitar—sometimes complemented by instrumentalist extraordinaire Rich O'Brien on harmonica and banjoDon Edwards takes a stand and commands attention. He weaves songs from Merle Travis, Marty Robbins, Andy Wilkinson, Woody Guthrie, and others into his narrative of history. His message is unmistakable in the songs and lines he chooses, in his adaptations and arrangements, and in his original lyrics. Some seldom-sung lines in "America the Beautiful" sum up the call to attention: "Till selfish gain no longer stain the banner of the free!"

It's an album for the times. A standout anchor of the collection, his "Hard Times" could be a song from the 1930's work camps. An indictment of government greed and corruption, one line will be remembered and repeated, "Left wing or right wing I've got this to say: they're just two wings of the same bird of the prey." When we asked about the song's inspiration, he told us he "... sort of mixed some lyrics from an old song collected by John Lomax around 1907 or 1908, and some of my own. I just thought it was time for a philosophical cowboy protest song abut big government and big business out of control..." (The Lomax-collected song is "Hard Times," see it here.)

In American, Don Edwards also has a cautionary tale: what happened to the cowboy is happening to America. The album turns decidedly westward with Ed Bruce and Ron Peterson's "The Last Cowboy Song" in which "another piece of America is lost." The edge is razor sharp in Edwards' spoken word delivery of his own "The Devil's Hatband." Like "Hard Times," it's both a voice from the past and an urgent shout from this morning. The traditional "The Campfire Has Gone Out" returns to melancholy only to be followed by Woody Guthrie's great anthem, "This Land is Your Land." Andy Wilkinson's additional lyrics artfully bring that song home to the West.

Don Edwards comments, "I thought the times were right for a CD like this in the cowboy and Western music world." With historical reflection, outstanding vocal and instrumental performance, amidst his provocative message, there shines a light of hope. As he urges in "Hard Times": "Let the truth sing."

See our feature about Don Edwards here, which includes the American track list. Find order information about American and more at www.donedwardsmusic.com and at www.westernjubilee.com.

Posted 11/24


  Popular troubadour R.W. Hampton has a new collection of songs, Austin to Boston, already a hit with his fans and in the United Kingdom.

From the official announcement:

Austin to Boston is the 12th album of new material by the award-winning cowboy artist and arguably his most eagerly anticipated. Prior to the album's release, the first European focus track, "Cowboy's Prayer," debuted at #2 on the UK Hotdisc Top 40 chart and quickly rose to #1, where it enjoyed a three-week reign. And pre-release tunes from the album posted on Hampton's Facebook fan page have helped push his 'friends' past the 17,500 mark—a remarkable achievement in today's cowboy world.

Hampton recorded
Austin to Boston in Los Angeles with Joe Diblasi as producer, engineer and arranger, and Gary Bright as executive producer and producer. Drawing from their extensive contacts, Hampton was able to record with some of the finest studio musicians working today, including Grammy Award-winning dobro player Al Perkins, bagpiper Eric Rigler, who played Irish whistle on Celine Dion's Grammy winning "My Heart Will Go On" from the movie Titanic, steel player extraordinaire Jay Dee Maness from the Desert Rose Band and legendary accordionist Frank Marocco.

R.W. Hampton comments, "There's a lot of great music out there that speaks to the values I believe in. I don't want to be known as a singer who just does cowboy songs; I want to be known as a cowboy who sings great songs."

Find a list of contents here in our feature about R.W. Hampton, which also includes some of his lyrics.

R.W. Hampton's previous CD, Oklahoma...Where the West Remains!, was the recipient of the prestigious Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Find audio samples, complete song notes, order information, and more for Austin to Boston at R.W. Hampton's web site.

Posted 10/19


The Blue Mountain Ranch Hands describe their new release, Steal the Show!:

We’re reviving that old Western swing, proving Bob Wills is still KING! Here’s an album of Western swing classics and originals reminiscent of the music that propelled America through the Great Depression and WWII. The sound is upbeat and uplifting. The instrumentation features fiddle, mandolin, steel guitar, rhythm guitar, and bass. The vocals get passed around so the listener is always surprised by variation as well as virtuosity.

Among the 14 tracks are "Roly Poly," "My Adobe Hacienda, "Sugar Moon," and "Across the Alley from the Alamo." Performers include Pat Barrett, Steve Carnes, Drew Horton, Jani Little, Zeke Little, Nancy Thorwardson, and Emily Reynolds.

Visit www.bluemountainranchhands.com for more and listen to sample tracks and find order information at CDBaby.

Posted 9/22


  Popular piano player Dave Bourne (www.saloonpiano.com) is familiar to many for his music on the Deadwood series and his portrayal of the piano player in the series' Gem Saloon; his playing at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering; his association with New Orleans' Resurrection Brass Band; his five solo "Saloon Piano" CDs of melodies from 1845 to 1910; and for his own singing group, the Lobo Rangers. There's a new release of the Lobo Rangers' music, The Lobo Rangers, Campfire Music; The Best of the Early Years, 1990-1995. From the official description:

The founding of the Lobo Rangers really begins with the Wagonmasters, the cowboy group that entertained in the Wagon Camp at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California from 1955 until 1968. This group, originally led by Dick Goodman and later by Billy Beeman, was patterned closely on the sound of the Sons Of The Pioneers. So close was the vocal trio sound to that of the original Pioneers that in 1958 when Hugh Farr sought to start his own group and leave the Pioneers, he came to the Wagon Camp to get his musicians.

In 1988 when the Lobo Rangers was formed, Ramrod Dave Bourne, who played bass with the Wagonmasters, chose fiddler Billy Beeman and guitarist Bobby Beeman as the core group for the new band along with Patty Bourne on vocals. By 1990, the group included another Wagonmaster, Don Richardson on bass. The Lobo Rangers solidified their sound with the addition of Michael Fleming, a multi-talented musician who played guitar, sang tenor, and wrote fabulous western songs. Three cassettes were produced during this period which featured the writing of Michael Fleming and Billy Beeman. The original tunes were so successful that several other artists have recorded them and Fleming’s tunes have won awards.

The Lobo Rangers appeared many times in the early years at the Autry Museum. They performed at the Lone Pine Film Festival for eight years and were also featured at the first Elko Cowboy Music Gathering.

This new CD re-issue has twenty one selections chosen from the three cassettes recorded in the early 1990s.

The Lobo Rangers, Campfire Music; The Best of the Early Years, 1990-1995. is available for $17 postpaid from Dave Bourne, P.O. Box 173, Agoura Hills, CA 91376-0173. Find more information and the track list at www.saloonpiano.com.

Posted 7/5


Poet and songwriter Les Buffham offers 16 tracks of his works as performed by others in a second CD in a series, Les Buffham and Friends, Writes and Co-Writes, Volume 2.

A diverse playlist includes songs recorded by artists including Dave Stamey, Bill Barwick, Sid Hausman, the late Paul Hendel, and others. Also included is a poem co-written with Linda Kirkpatrick. See the entire playlist here and find sample tracks at CDBaby.

(Find information about Volume 1 here, along with some of Les Buffham's poems and lyrics in our feature here.)

Les Buffham and Friends, Writes and Co-Writes, Volume 2 is available for $15.00 postpaid from Les Buffham, 28278 Alaminos Dr.,Saugus CA 91350; and from CDBaby; www.lesbuffham.com.

Posted 6/9


  Mark Bedor, known to many for his articles and photography Western publications, is also a singer and guitarist with a new CD, Today's Wild West. From the producers:

Those who know Mark Bedor know him as a freelance Western writer-photographer. His stories on Western music, horse trips, dude ranches, and all things Western have been published in more than two dozen magazines, including Cowboys & Indians, American Cowboy, America's Horse, many others.

 

On his travels, Bedor never leaves home without his Taylor guitar, which he plays around campfires, the kitchen or wherever he happens to be. At the encouragement of the celebrated Western guitarist-producer Rich O'Brien, Mark has cut his debut CD.

 

Today's Wild West is a collection of ten great cowboy-themed classics, such as "Tequila Sunrise," "Rocky Mountain High," and Chris LeDoux's "Song of Wyoming."


Hear samples and order on CDBaby.com, or contact Mark directly at markbedor@sbcglobal.net.

Posted 4/29


Top singer and songwriter Juni Fisher's Let 'er Go 'Let 'er Buck' Let 'er Fly celebrates the men, women, and horses of the Pendleton Round-up—marking its 100th anniversary in 2010. There are eight original songs along with others written by Ian Tyson ("The Amber Saddle"); Wylie Gustafson and Paul Zarzyski ("A Pony Called Love"); and Hal Ketchum and Danny O'Keefe ("Jackson Sundown").

She introduces three legendary Pendleton riders in her original songs: Bonnie McCarroll, Prairie Rose Clayton, and Yakima Canutt. Her audio commentaries and liner notes reflect the depth of research that went into this project, including interviews with participants, family, and experts, and hours in archives and museums poring over photographs and films, listening to tapes, and studying books.

A pioneer in her own world, who better than Juni Fisher to tell the stories of other women who fought for their place in a mostly-male world. In 2008, Juni Fisher was the first female to receive the Western Heritage Wrangler Award for Traditional Western Album from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (for Gone to Colorado) and the first female to receive the Songwriter of the Year Award in the history of the Western Music Association.

The title song is introduced and the names of the saddle bronc-riding women are proudly stated. Juni Fisher states, "This song is for every one of them." "Cowgirlfriends," a fun, cheeky duet with Patty Clayton has already received wide radio play. Juni Fisher writes about its inspiration, "After studying 900-plus archived photos of early rodeo performers, it became evident which cowgirls were friends and which were not."

But the women's stories are just one part of this project. Rodeo greats Jackson Sundown and Jerry Ambler have their places. And others are mentioned in other songs, particularly in the inventive "Snubbin' Horse (Not for Me)," a hats off to the forebears of pickup horses, told from a snubbing horse's perspective. Other tracks include "A Horse Like You," a swing-style song to a favorite horse and "Round-up to Remember," a rousing, catchy tune for the Pendleton Rodeo itself. 

Few can set a mood and bring characters to life as well as Juni Fisher. Songs from past acclaimed albums, including Gone to Colorado, Tumbleweed Letters, Sideshow Romance, and Cowgirlography are recognized as important and lasting contributions to the Western music canon. Her songwriting magic creates worlds. Andy Nelson (who plays the part of a rodeo announcer on the cleverly-written introduction to "A Pony Called Love") says it well in his vivid description of Let 'er Go 'Let 'er Buck' Let 'er Fly: "In an instant I was a century younger, I tasted the dust in the Pendleton arena, I smelled the lathered bucking stock, I rode with Jackson Sundown, and I witnessed Bonnie McCarroll's fateful ride."

Top musicians with great fiddles, mandolins, piano, Irish banjo and more add to the mix and to the uncompromising quality of the production. The snappy package design by Jeri Dobrowski with cover art background by Janene Grende (www.janenegrende.com) captures the spirit of the lively tales inside. 

Find the complete track list, the song "Bonnie McCarroll," and more about Juni Fisher in our feature here.

Let 'er Go 'Let 'er Buck' Let 'er Fly is $15 from www.junifisher.net and by mail: Juni Fisher, Red Geetar Records,
2105 Granville Rd., Franklin, TN 37064.

Posted 4/13
 


  Symposium 2010 showcases the talents of the Cowboy Poets of Utah (www.cowboypoetsofutah.com).

Music and cowboy poetry selections include artists Ken Stevens, C.R. Wood, Fred Engel, Sam DeLeeuw, Doug Brewer, Jan Erickson, Paul Bliss, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Marion Manwill, Kenny Hall, Paul Kern, LaVerna B. Johnson, Brian Arnold, Don Korth, Marleen Bussma, Stan Tixier, Casey Woods, Coyotee Moon, Jeff Coates, Laurie Tye, and Curly Syndergaard.

From Paul Kern's description:

The idea for Symposium 2010 was foaled in the early spring of 2009 when Paul Bliss and Paul Kern were harnessed together to the (Buck) Board of Cowboy Poets of Utah (CPU). They began to paw around a bit and then went to nosin' for some way that CPU could give back to its members—some reason to make it worthwhile for cowboy poets and musicians to belong to the organization. As much as anything, they felt the need to show off some of the remarkable original cowboy poetry and music coming out of Utah at this time....

.... Twenty two individual recordings were sorted and corralled. Musicians and poets team roped a remarkable mix of male and female voices reveling in toe-tappin' cowboy music and well cadenced poetry that is sure to make you buck and bawl and maybe even swoon a bit. Chances are that once you take a listen, you'll ride away a hummin' that one last little scrap of tune. Whatever you reactionthis one will be a keeper.

From C.R. Wood's description of the project, which includes some references to track titles:

....On that midwinter Saturday, there were 21 headliners who not only wowed an enthusiastic audience, but also took those "wow" performances into Paul Kern's recording studio, to produce, Symposium 2010, an anthology which takes the listener on a 300 mile remuda run, best described as, "Cowboy Poetry in Motion," into the choir loft of a country church where the new director gives her "ALL," and to a local auction barn to eavesdrop on the musings of a broken-down saddleman, trying to come to grips with the prospect of seeing a truly wild thing reduced to only his hide.

Come along and laugh at "Harley's" new bull-loading barker, taste fresh hot homemade "funeral cookies," and smell the reason why, "none of them have survived the branding yet." Ride the wind with, "The Best Horsethief Around," under a "Northern Utah Moon," or race in front of a buffalo stampede to, "The Rescue."

These and 12 more classic pieces make up one of the most high-energy entertainment bargains you will stumble on to this year....

Symposium 2010 is available for $5 plus postage here and from Amazon.

Visit the Cowboy Poets of Utah web site and their Facebook pages for more information.

Updated 4/13


  Almeda Terry has put the poetry of Canadian poet Rhoda Sivell (1874-1962) to music, presented in a new CD, Voices from the Range. See the complete track list here.

See our feature about Rhoda Sivell here.

Voices from the Range is available for $18 postpaid from Almeda Terry, 1650 Nahmis Ave., Huntley, MT 59037 and through her web site, www.almedam2bmusic.com.

Posted 4/7


   Popular singer, songwriter, and cowboy-when-he-can Brenn Hill's new Equine CD features "16 original songs that in large part focus on the relationship between people and their horses." From the announcement:

...It includes audience favorites like "Monster On Your Back," a song written about seventy-plus-year-old cowboy legend Bill Hadlock from Huntsville, Utah, and "Ridin' Them Colts," a song about a cowboy's life-long addiction to colt-breaking. Other live-performance favorites like "Rachel's Roses," "Nothin' In This Life" and "Carter Cedars" commemorate the profound struggle of cancer and the healing power of horses, while "The Ballad of Ed Cantrell" honors the life and career of the controversial lawman from Sweetwater County, Wyoming...

...The recording comes on the heels of some of the most challenging experiences of Hill's life and will leave you with good reason to be hopeful for the injured bronc-rider, the cancer-stricken child, or the horses that bring peace to the high and low points of life. It is an inspiring look at the generational nature of equine love, ranching, fatherhood, and the ever-determined western spirit....

Find audio samples and lyrics here at Brenn Hill's web site.

See our feature about Brenn Hill here and visit his web site, www.brennhill.com, where you can also sign up for his email list. Brenn is also on Facebook and at MySpace.

Equine is available for $20 postpaid from www.brennhill.com.

Posted 4/1


  The relatively newly-formed duo of veteran Utah singers and songwriters Mary Kaye and Richard Lee Cody has been receiving much positive attention. Their new CD, Way Out West, showcases their talents.

You can listen to the title track at www.richardleecody.com, where you will find more of his music as well. Mary Kaye's music can be heard at her MySpace.com page. There are videos of the two on YouTube, including one here captured by Diane Tribitt of CowboyLegacy.org at the 2009 Western Music Association festival.

Way Out West is available for $15 postpaid from www.richardleecody.com.

Posted 3/31


  Top Western singer, songwriter, and musician Mike Beck's Feel is deceptively spare in its packaging, strikingly pure in its execution: pure cowboy, pure acoustic, and pure art. The often mellow-yet-complex songs are infinitely satisfying in their depth.

Feel showcases Mike Beck's guitar wizardry as well as his songwriting magic. Most of the tracks are originals, with the exception of a collaboration with Ian Tyson ("In Old California") and an arrangement of Jack Thorp's "Chopo" ("Poncho"), which he introduces as "For the cow horse, Pancho."

Mike Beck's music is rooted in folk and cowboy music traditions, but beyond that his work defies categorization. And his great guitar band, The Bohemian Saints (not included on this solo acoustic CD) knock down all fences with their own brand of Americana rock. Of this album, Beck has written, "I decided I wanted to do an album of a few new songs I've written and some of my other cowboy songs that people have requested...."

Among the old favorites are his frequently-covered grand anthem to the West, "Don't Tell Me"; the evocative and bittersweet pull-of-a-place "Mariposa Wind"; and "Amanda Come Home," about a young female soldier deployed to Iraq. That song got much national attention and was featured on National Public Radio in the The Western Folklife Center's What's in a Song series (listen to the broadcast here).

The song written with Ian Tyson, "In Old California," is a tribute to Jo Mora (1876-1947), legendary cowboy, artist, writer, and photographer (and more) whose art graces the CD cover. "In Old California" and "Don't Tell Me" were named as two of today's thirteen best songs by Western Horseman in April, 2009, along with selections by Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Ian Tyson, Gary McMahan, Dave Stamey, Tom Russell, and just a few others.

Mike Beck writes as eloquently as anyone ever has about real cowboy life in "Closer to the Light" and in "Rubin's Song." In the first, he limns the romance and transformation that can be found in that life—always without sentimentality but full of honest sentiment"The young and old, the meek and bold....some boys are green as grass, some best hands you ever saw/ones leavin' a broken marriage, others runnin' from the law/you can't stow away on a sea-bound ship, and the circus quit comin' to town/so you pack your gear and you head out of here....you're runnin' from the fences, and you're holdin' on real tight....so shine boys, shine, a little closer to the light...." 

Literally from inside his subjects, "Don't Hurt My Heart" and "Patrick" are pieces written from horses' point of view. "Patrick" is a tribute to noted horseman Bill Dorrance; Mike Beck lived at the Dorrance ranch and gained much of his early experience with horses and ranch work there.

Nothing is predictable here. "Before the Moon Fell Down" is an aching depiction of loss. "Alberta Cowgirl" celebrates the hardy species with unabashed admiration. Not only do the themes of the album's songs cover a broad spectrum, but what's inside is unfailingly perceptive. The standout "Livin' in the Arts" refers to Van Gogh, Hank Williams, Richard Brautigan, Lane Frost, Beethoven and others. It's a completely original insight into what it takes to survive an artist's life, informed by what must be Mike Beck's own upbeat strategy for survival.

Cowboys, cowgirls, horses, heartbreak, happiness, hope, a deep allegiance to the real West...and that guitar. Fans couldn't ask for more.

Feel is available for $12.97 plus postage or as a download for $11 here from CD Baby (where there are sample tracks). Find more about Mike Beck at www.mikebeck.com where there are full-track audio downloads from other CDs, videos, and more.

Posted 3/18


Andy Hedges and Andy Wilkinson follow the enthusiastic reception of their 2009 Welcome to the Tribe with a new collaboration, Long Ways from Home.

The new release is described:

Long Ways from Home is a collection of songs old and new, traditional and contemporary, all cut from the same cloth of the fundamental fabric of the human story: wanderers and travelers making their way in unknown territory, cowboys and explorers cutting for sign on new trails, and all those lost and lonely in the realms of the mind or the heart or the spirit. As with their past projects, the young Andy Hedges has sought out the old while the senior Andy Wilkinson has crafted the new, all collaboratively arranged and laid down with with the freshness and edge of real time recording that features the harmonies of Alissa Hedges and special guests Don Edwards (six string banjo) and Curtis Peoples (bass).

Find the track list here.

Long Ways from Home is available for $15.88 plus postage from Yellowhouse Music and also available at iTunes

Updated 6/16


  Westerners, from Nevada Slim and Cimarron Sue (www.nevadaslim.com) includes 17 tracks, their original songs and "songs by contemporary songwriters that capture that 'old West' feeling (Jack Hannah, Baxter Black, Bob McGill, and David Schroeder) and lots of traditional and move cowboy favorites."

One of the songs, "The Ranch That I Can't See," by Bruce Matley ("Nevada Slim") is featured here in Picture the West.

Read more about the CD and find the entire track list here on our page of poetry by Susan Matley ("Cimarron Sue"). Visit www.nevadaslim.com for more.

Find song clips and order information at CD Baby: cdbaby.com/cd/NevadaSlimCimarronSue.

Posted 1/21


  Cowboy singer, songwriter and rancher Fred Hargrove has released his fourth CD, My Sacred Ground, which includes 14 songs.

Fred writes, "I will never make a better CD. It was recorded with Don Richmond, who play over 20 different instruments, and is a magician and a master at the art of the Southwestern sound."

Listen to tracks at Fred Hargrove's MySpace page, www.myspace.com/fredhargrove, where you'll also find his bio (Fred has long been associated with Michael Martin Murphey), photos, and more.


My Sacred Ground
is available for $16 postpaid from Fred Hargove at raisinginghranch@aol.com and at his performances, listed at
www.myspace.com/fredhargrove.

 

Posted 1/7

 


 


 

New in 2010: Books and Recordings of Western Interest and Beyond

  The new book, Cowboy's Lament; a Life on the Open Range, an impressive product of serendipity and scholarship, offers a compelling view of the life of F.H. Maynard (1853-1926), author of an early version of the song known most commonly as "The Cowboy's Lament." Through Maynard family contacts, Jim Hoy, director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University, uncovered Maynard's memoir of his colorful life. From the publisher's description:

In 1870, sixteen-year-old Frank Maynard left his home in Iowa and arrived in Towanda, Kansas, where he soon took a job helping to trail a small herd of cattle from Missouri to Colorado. Thus began his adventures as an open-range cowboy, a ten-year career that coincided with the peak of the great trail-drive era.

Among the highlights of Maynard’s time on the range were brushes with outlaws and encounters with famous lawmen, such as Bill Tilghman and Bat and Ed Masterson (he was in Dodge City when Ed was shot). On one drive Maynard was set upon and chased by irate German homesteaders; on another he narrowly escaped being killed by a man known as Slusher while driving horses from Kansas to Texas.

But Maynard’s most enduring contribution sprang from overhearing a version of an old Irish ballad in 1876 and reworking it as “The Cowboy’s Lament,” the standard most recognize today as “The Streets of Laredo.” His role in adapting the song and his other colorful experiences on the trail have come to light with the recent discovery of his unpublished memoir. Now, alongside the frontier recollections of Charlie Siringo and Charles Colchord, Maynard’s personal account offers a rare and revealing glimpse of the true Old West.

Hoy's introduction and extensive biography of Maynard reveal the story of his research and illuminate the era in which Maynard lived and worked. The book includes Maynard's lively memoir; the complete contents of his extremely rare 1911 book of poetry, Rhymes of the Range and Trail; other poems; examples of Maynard's journalism; some of Maynard's correspondence, including a letter from Jack London with publishing advice; a glossary; a bibliography; and a generous collection of photographs and illustrations.

The book's foreword is by David Stanley, professor emeritus of English, Westminster College, and co-editor of the outstanding
Cowboy Poets and Cowboy Poetry. He sets Maynard's writing in its historical and journalistic context:

By the time Maynard began writing, the terrible winter of 1886-87, "the Great Die-Up," had made it clear that cattle could no longer be wintered on the northern ranges of the West without supplemental feed. Furthermore, the expansion of homesteads, the advent of barbed wire, and the fencing of water sources had pronounced the end of the open range, and the expansion of railroads throughout the West had made cattle drives largely unnecessary [....]The nostalgia for a place and way of life widely viewed as passing, disappearing, or already gone led to biographies, autobiographies, and reminiscent essays....

The book is handsomely designed, published by Texas Tech University Press, from the Voice in the American Series, Andy Wilkinson, series editor. Read more at the Texas Tech University Press site.

See our feature here, which includes biographical information and poetry about Maynard and "The Cowboy's Lament" (
"The Dying Cowboy") contributed some years ago by Jim Hoy as he was working on his manuscript. The feature also includes information about Rhymes of the Range and Trail and a cover image of the rare book, shared by historian Mark Gardner, from his personal collection.

Find more about Jim Hoy here, along with two of his poems. Visit his web site.

Posted 10/11
 


  Singer, songwriter, and poet TJ Casey has a new eBook, Man of the West. From his description:

...Man of the West takes you on a journey through time and throughout the country from Alaska to Montana. His stories take you back to the good old days through today as he shares the ways and thoughts of the modern day cowboy. His stories motivate, amuse and many bring a tear of joy...

Read more at TJ's web site, www.tjcasey.net, where you can download the book for $12.

Posted 7/28


  Journalist Johnny Gunn's new novel is Out of the West … Tales of the American Frontier. From the publisher's description:

Here is a baker’s dozen of great western short stories entitled Out of the West…Tales of the American Frontier by Johnny Gunn. The book is a reflection of life in the west from the early days of the westward migration right into the 21st century.

The stories deal with such varied topics as a late 19th Century chili cook-off to a 21st Century ghost story. You’ll find stories about mustanging in the early days and about cattle drives that don’t always turn out the way the cow boss expected. There are stories about dens of thieves, Indians, trouble with Mother Nature and lots of bad men who always get knocked down a peg or two. It’s a fun book to read and is full of life the way we like to think it used to be.

Gunn has always been in around and near animals, did some mustanging in his early 20s, spent some time in the Army, and ended up in Nevada in 1964, still in radio, but not rock and roll. He did some publicity work for a local hotel-casino in Reno, but lived in the wonderful old mining town of Virginia City, just twenty four miles away. He bought a floundering weekly newspaper called the
Virginia City Legend, “and it only took me three years to go completely broke. It was a wonderful three years.”

Many newspapers and magazines later, Gunn is now retired, living on a small ranchette about twenty miles north of Reno with his lovely bride Patty, two horses, and nine chickens. He has had many short stories, poems, and essays published.
Out of the West … Tales of the American Frontier is his first novel-length book.

Out of the West…Tales of the American Frontier is available booksellers everywhere. Find more information at bottomofthehillpublishing.com.

Posted 12/2


  University of Oklahoma Press presents a landmark history with Arena Legacy; The Heritage of American Rodeo by Richard C. Rattenbury, Curator of History at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (with a foreword by rodeo great Larry Mahan). With a feast of photographs and illustrations (620 of them in the book's hefty 432 pages), the book is a solid reference and a book to be savored.

From the publisher's description:

From its roots in cowboy and vaquero culture to the big-business excitement of today's National Finals competitions, rodeo has embodied the rugged individualism and competitive spirit of the American West. Now the long trajectory of rodeo culture comes fully alive in Arena Legacy. Showcasing the unrivaled collections of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, this lavishly illustrated volume is the first to depict rodeo's material and graphic heritage. [....] Following its historical overview, Arena Legacy features an extensive pictorial gallery of signature materials. A series of colorful portfolios reveals treasured artifacts from rodeo life, including costumes, trophies, buckles, and riding equipment. Here the reader will discover lavish artistry in leather and silver, flamboyant expression in western dress, and the interpretive work of both fine artists and commercial illustrators.....

[Jeri Dobrowski writes about the book in her November Cowboy Jam Session column here.]

Find a book preview and order information here at the Oklahoma University Press web site. The book is also available at Amazon  and from other booksellers.

Posted 12/1


Nevada writer Mary Jean Kelso, whose father was a cowboy, has two new books for young people in her Andy & Spirit series. Andy is a young boy dependent on a wheelchair, and Spirit is his horse. Enjoy illustrator K.C. Snider's blog, which has more about the series, here.

From the author's description:

Andy & Spirit Meet the Rodeo Queen  Andy and Spirit meet the rodeo queen. who teaches Andy some rodeo tricks. Disaster strikes in the ring during the queen's performance.  $10.95 Available at all outlets or in a variety of formats including downloads here at Guardian Angel Publishing.

The Adventures of Andy & Spirit, Book One  This is a chapbook for Tweens (kids 8-12). The first four Andy titles are in one book without the colored illustrations (B&W print—1 for each chapter heading). $9.95 Available at all outlets or in a varitey of formats including downloads here at Guardian Angel Publishing.

There are book previews, links to previous books in the series, and more at the publisher's web site links above. Books are also available from other booksellers.

Posted 12/1


 Poet, writer, and publisher Spencer Keralis has a new chapbook, Geography & Circumstance. From the publisher's description:

Geography & Circumstance is the first chapbook by Spencer Keralis. The volume collects thirty poems from 1989 1o 2009. Many of the poems first appeared in distinguished small press publications like The Owen Wister Review, The Dry Crik Review of Cowboy Poetry, and cowboypoetry.com. Spencer’s work is not traditional “cowboy poetry” in any sense, but rather traces one westerner’s pilgrimage from rural to urban and follows the prodigal’s homecoming, swinging from boom to bust and back again.

Read "The Rabbit Sellers" and "Delivery" from Geography & Circumstance and more about Spencer Keralis here at CowboyPoetry.com.

Find Geography & Circumstance order information here at Laughing Mouse Press.

Updated 12/8


  Nevada poet and writer Hal Swift has a new novel, Ballad of a Small Town. From the publisher's description:

The book takes its readers through one year in the life of 1864 Drytown, Utah Territory. The town is located 27 miles east of a major population center of the time, Lake's Crossing. Drytown now is Wadsworth, Nevada, and Lake's Crossing is Reno.

The stories are told from the viewpoint of Logan West, an Indiana newspaperman, whose wedding day ends in disappointment when his bride elopes with their best man. Embarrassed, Logan heads West and becomes an itinerant, banjo-playing journalist. In the process, he begins putting together the novel which, legend says, every reporter dreams of writing.

Eventually, his travels bring him to Drytown, where he accepts a job entertaining and waiting tables at Shorty's Place, a lunchroom which serves as a social center of sorts, not only for those who live in the town, but for those passing through it on the Overland Trail. Hal says that, while Logan's adventures are fiction, the backgrounds for them are historically accurate.

Read Dorman Nelson's review here.

Read some of Hal Swift's poetry and more about him here at CowboyPoetry.com.

Ballad of a Small Town, published by Bottom of the Hill Publishing, is available as an Amazon Kindle e-book ($1.99) and in soft cover ($16.95) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble (with on-line order discounts), and other booksellers.

Updated 11/23


 Author, editor, and writing instructor Heidi M. Thomas' novel, Follow the Dream, a sequel to her 2009 novel, Cowgirl Dreams (described here in our 2009 announcements) is described:

Nettie Moser’s dreams are coming true. She’s married to her cowboy, Jake, they have plans for a busy rodeo season, and she has a once in a lifetime opportunity to rodeo in London with the Tex Austin Wild West Troupe.

But life during the Great Depression brings unrelenting hardships and unexpected family responsibilities. Nettie must overcome challenges to her lifelong rodeo dreams, cope with personal tragedy, survive drought, and help Jake keep their horse herd from disaster.

Will these challenges break this strong woman?

This sequel to
Cowgirl Dreams is based on the life of the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl.


Read an excerpt from the book's first chapter here at Heidi M. Thomas' web site, www.heidimthomas.com, and find more about her grandmother here and elsewhere in her blog, heidiwriter.wordpress.com.

Find a recent interview with Heidi M. Thomas here on The Writer's Dream.

See a Picture the West entry with family photos here and one from 2009 here.

Find order information for Follow the Dream here at www.heidimthomas.com.

Updated 11/8


  Top cowboy poets are represented in a new anthology, New Poets of the American West, edited by Lowell Jaeger. Works by Rod Miller, Linda Hussa, John Dofflemyer, Henry Real Bird, and Paul Zarzyski are included in the book that represents poets who are "living in or identified with one of the eleven states from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean."

From the editor's description:

New Poets of the American West is a panoramic (and revealing) view of the West through the eyes of more than 250 poets and 450 poems, including poems in English, Spanish, Navajo, Salish, Assiniboin, and Dakota languages.

Collected here are poems about horse racing, mining, trash collecting, nuclear testing, firefighting, border crossings, buffalo hunting, surfing, logging, and sifting flour. In these pages you will visit flea markets, military bases, internment camps, reservations, funerals, weddings, rodeos, nursing homes, national parks, backyard barbecues, prisons, forests, meadows, rivers, and mountain tops [....] In the short time each of us has in this world, here's your chance to experience life widely and to reflect on your experiences deeply.

Other poets familiar to the cowboy and ranching world include Thea Gavin, Judy Blunt, Kim Stafford, Patricia Frolander, and Robert Roripaugh. Among others included are Jim Harrison, Leslie Marmo Silko, Kim Addonizio, Dana Gioia, Jane Hirshfield, past U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, Ed Lahey, Arthur Sze, David Lee, Sherman Alexie, Mark Halperin, and David Romtvedt.

Find more about new Poets of the American West at Amazon; at the publisher's site, Many Voices Press, at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Montana; and at other booksellers.

Posted 10/6


  Shirley Morris opens her rich film, Oh, You Cowgirl!; The True Story About America's Unsung Heroes, The Cowgirls, with a quote from an old Wild West show cowboy performer, disparaging women's lack of riding skills. The sequence ends with the message: "He was wrong," and the film of the "buckin' horse suffragettes"—rodeo and Wild West show cowgirlsgoes on to show just how wrong he was.

Oh, You Cowgirl! offers a feast vintage photographs and film footage, including rare clips from Cheyenne Frontier Days, the Pendleton Round-Up, and the Los Angeles Rodeo. It is filled with interviews with the performers, descendants, and others who contribute to the film's fascinating history of the development of Wild West shows and the history of women in rodeo. Individual women riders are profiled in depth, and their techniques, treatment, disappointments, wrecks, and successes are woven into the compelling film, which rests on a foundation of extensive research. 

The film, which recently made its debut at the Wyoming Film Festival, is introduced by top singer and songwriter Juni Fisher, who also contributes additional narratives and background and performs her song, "When I Was Prairie Rose," from her recent Let 'er Go 'Let 'er Buck' Let 'er Fly CD. Also featured are Open Range, T.J. Casey, and Kaila Mussell.

Filmmaker Shirley Morris has commented, "This isn't a story about rodeo champions. It isn't a story of repression, the suffrage movement, grain prices or the Great Depression. None of that can be denied and I'm sure there is