Popular poet and reciter, Oklahoma rancher
has a grand new CD,
The Old Tried and True,
which showcases his fine reciting. Like some poetry time traveler, he
delivers poems by Bruce Kiskaddon, Henry Herbert Knibbs, Will Ogilvie, Sunny
Hancock, and others, to carry you back to time when, to quote Kiskaddon,
"cattle were plenty and people were few."
Find the track list and more about Jay and his
poetry in our feature here and visit
The Old Tried and True
is available for $18 postpaid from Jay Snider, 22112 State Highway 19,
Cyril, OK 73029-5606; email@example.com.
is a second-generation farrier, cowboy poet, emcee,
humorist, rodeo announcer, and co-host (with his brother Jim) of the
popular syndicated Clear Out West (C.O.W.)
His latest CD,
features a wide range of poetic moods, from nonsense to reverence, that
show the breadth of Andy Nelson's talents. Andy can make you tear up one
minute and double over with laughter the next. He is accompanied by
friend and top songwriter Brenn Hill, who
produced the album, on several tracks. The beautifully designed package
sports a cover by noted cowboy cartoonist Ben Crane.
Find some of Andy Nelson's poetry,
including "Cowboys on Facebook"
from I Won, in our feature
is available is available for $20 postpaid from Andy Nelson, PO Box
1547, Pinedale, WY 82941. Find more at
Western Folklife Center
has released a collection of
Badger Clark poems and songs recited and sung by National
Cowboy Poetry Gathering participants over the gathering's three-decade
history. From their announcement:
Sun and Saddle Leather,
a humble book of western verse published in 1915 that quickly became
a classic, and has since helped define the genre of American cowboy
poetry. The songs and recitations on the CD were all recorded at the
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
The Western Folklife Center is pleased to offer a
special CD commemorating the 100th anniversary of the publication of
Charles Badger Clark's
Badger Clark may be best known (nowadays) for writing "A Cowboy's
Prayer," a work that became so popular and widespread that Clark's
authorship was largely forgotten—the poem was often credited to
"Anonymous." Since the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko in
1985, scores of poets and musicians from all over the west have
recited Badger Clark's poems and put them to music in creative,
heartfelt and beautiful ways.
The CD features 22 tracks (over 74 minutes) of Clark's best loved
works. A 24-page booklet with the CD contains an essay about Badger
Clark written by folklorist Elaine Thatcher, as well as words to all
the poems as published by Badger Clark between 1915-1922. The CD is
being released in conjunction with the 2016 National Cowboy Poetry
Gathering's celebration of life in the Northern Plains.
Included are the
voices of Owen Johnson, Jerry Brooks,
Don Edwards & Waddie
Mitchell, Cain Eaton, Rod McQueary,
Connie Dover & Skip Gorman, Denise Withnell-Cowboy Celtic, Joe Hertz &
David Wilkie, Gail Steiger,
Joel Nelson, Lorraine Rawls & Crystal
Reeves, Tom Pearlman, Gary McMahan &
DW Groethe, Randy
Rieman, Jill Jones & Lone Star Chorale,
Linda M. Hasselstrom, Carl Sharp, and
The CD includes a 24-page booklet that contains an essay
about Charles Badger Clark written by Elaine Thatcher, as well as words
to all the poems as published by Clark between 1915 and 1922.
Find more at the
Western Folklife Center Gift Shop.
See our features about
Badger Clark here.
Top cowboy poet Doris Daley's
latest book is Poems from the Million Dollar Resort. From the
Poems from the Million Star Resort, released
Jan. 1, 2016, is Doris Daley's new book of contemporary western
poetry. With 44 poems (including "Let it Be," "Back in Seattle
Again," all the poems from the 100 Years of Thunder album,
and of course the poem that lends its name to the book). As an added
bonus, sprinkled throughout the book are cameo appearances from many
of today's top western writers who reflect on the impact of
poetry—and the tribe of cowboy poets—in
today's world. Poems from the Million Star Resort is $25
postpaid. Email Doris at
Find more about Doris Daley here at
CowboyPoetry.com and visit
Nola Kirby makes a valuable contribution to the
preservation of Western music history and creates a lasting tribute to her
father in The Black Ace—Yodellin' Hitch Hiker. She explains
that her father, Allan M. Kirby (1914-1972) "... began his career in the
1930s, travelling throughout Western Canada, with his guitar, harmonica,
mouth harp, and autoharp—singing and playing at rodeos, theatres, the Great
Canadian Barn Dance, western events, and at the Calgary Stampede...On May
26th, 1939 "The Black Ace" had the honour of performing for the King and
Queen of England [King George VI and Queen Elizabeth] during their royal
tour visit to the Calgary Stampede."
The CD is the result of years of research. Nola Kirby has produced a
collection of her father's works, presented in his voice in vintage
recordings and by contemporary artists reading or singing the lyrics from
the songbooks of Allan M. Kirby. The result does justice to her efforts and
to her father's talents.
Find a feature about The Black Ace with photos, lyrics, and more
here at CowboyPoetry.com.
The Black Ace—Yodellin' Hitch Hiker CD is available for $25
ppd (money order or certified check only) payable to Marie Kirby, Box 368, Magrath, Alberta, CA T0K 1J0
Popular award-winning poet, singer, and entertainer
Susie Knight brings all of her signature
emotive stage presence to her latest CD, Fillin' Tanks,
drawing listeners to her stories in an immediate way.
Filled with warmth, humor, and reflection, and engaging storytelling, the
project is a collection of her newest western-themed poems. Two poems at the
heart of the album are devoted to her South Dakota ranching family ("Bud and
Doris" and "A Mother's Eyes"). She includes poems about people she knows and
admires ("Cliff," ; "Cookie Lockhart—Queen
of Auctioneers"); draws on her rodeo experience ("Dreams"); includes poems
inspired by Western art from Art Spur and the Durango Cowboy Poetry
Gathering; offers a heartwarming bonus holiday track, "The Christmas
Spider"; and more.
She comments, "I have been striving for excellence in my rhyme and meter while
writing from a new and fresh perspective, hopefully keeping the stories
(whether fictional or fact) interesting for the listeners."
Find a track list and more about Susie Knight here
at CowboyPoetry.com and visit
www.SusieKnight.com, where you'll find videos and more.
Fillin' Tanks is available for $15 postpaid from Susie Knight, PO
Box 76, Conifer, CO 80433. You can
also listen to samples at
CD Baby, where you can also
purchase the CD and individual tracks.
Almeda Bradshaw’s focus
and passion show through in all of her projects. Add in her songwriting,
vocal, and musical talents, and her albums stand far above the ordinary. Her
latest effort, Lovers, Wives & Mothers: A Western Woman’s Voice
takes a deep look into Western life, and it shines. It encompasses a broad
selection of works: original songs; covers of songs by top songwriters Tom
Russell, Dave Stamey, and Ian Tyson; a poem by Colen Sweeten set to music;
backstories of women, famous and not; and more.
Painstaking production care is evident throughout. Additional musicians and
Native American singers offer quality and authenticity. The work of
photographers Todd Klassy and Anita Crane tie together the attractive
Love, hurt, history, and truth are represented in this fine collection,
which, she writes, “... is dedicated to victims of sex trafficking. All
profit from this album is pledged to charitable organizations that work to
restore the lives of women and children rescued from this horrible scourge.”
Find a track list and more about Almeda Bradshaw
here at CowboyPoetry.com.
Listen to samples and find more at www.AlmedaM2Bmusic.com, where
Lovers, Wives & Mothers: A Western Woman’s Voice is available for
$15 plus postage.
Jane Morton is one
of our most dedicated recorders of ranching and rural life. Her latest
CD, Jane Morton Records Her Poems of the Old West and the New,
comprises stories of her family, their ranch, and friends, from the time
of her homesteading grandfather to today. In her stories with their
observations of connection, hardships, and friendships she preserves
stories that are personal and unique and, at the same time, universal.
Among the highlights on this project are the poignant and candid story
of the family ranch being sold, "What Would I Have Done"; "Connected," a
look at her complex father and his fierce attachment to his ranch; and
the final track, "Memories," with its urgent message of the importance
of recording family histories, which ends with her wise counsel, "This
window of time—/twilight until dark/closes down quickly,/commit, leave
your mark." But, every track is worth a listen.
Find a track list and find more about Jane Morton
here at CowboyPoetry.com.
Jane Morton Records Her Poems of the Old West and the New
is available for $13 postpaid from Jane Morton, 12710 Abert Way,
Colorado Springs, CO 80908, 719-495-9304,
offers a stellar collection of classic cowboy poetry recitations in his two
Cowboy Classics II
Cowboy Classics III.
Poems of Charles Badger Clark, S. Omar Barker, Bruce Kiskaddon, and others
are in good hands. Some tracks have brief introductions that help set the
scene. Dick Morton admirably handles both humor and serious poems. Those
with a certain longing have a special resonance, such as Kiskaddon's "The
Creak of the Leather," Charles Badger Clark's "Border Affair," and Sharlot
Hall's "Drouth Time." The equally enjoyable humorous pieces are delivered
with twinkling delight.
The selections are thoughtful and include both well-known poems and other
lesser-known but worthy offerings. The collection also includes a recitation
of the late Rod Nichols "modern classic," the audience-pleaser "Yep."
ends with Dick Morton's own poem, "City Kid," a tale of how he came to be a
part of a ranching family. Tasteful, unobtrusive music backgrounds by Rex
Rideout and Mark Gardner complement the performances, a model for
accompaniment. These releases are a fine companion to his 2007
called a "must have for fans of the cowboy poetry genre." Dick Morton has a
way of enchanting the listener. You can imagine wanting to get a bit closer
to his campfire and asking for "just one more."
Find track lists and find more about Dick Morton
here at CowboyPoetry.com.
Cowboy Classics II
Cowboy Classics III
are available for $13 postpaid from Dick Morton, 12710 Abert Way,
Colorado Springs, CO 80908.
(Review submitted by Darrell Arnold,
publisher of COWBOY MAGAZINE, first posted
When I mentioned Tom Hiatt’s new CD, Goodnight From Texas, a few weeks back, it wasn’t my
intention to hype it a lot, because Tom took one of my poems and
made a song out of it and included it on this album, and I didn’t
want to seem like a braggart. But I’ve listened to this entire CD
nine or ten times, now, and I can’t get enough of it. This is an
excellent cowboy CD that needs to be heard and recognized.
Three of these songs are a tribute to Nevada buckaroo Mackey Hedges,
a man who has written two excellent cowboy novels, The Last
Buckaroo, and Shadow of the Wind. Les Buffham teamed up
with Californian Dave Stamey to write a song called “Shadow of the
Wind,” and he and Hiatt wrote “Last Buckaroo.” Hiatt set my poem
“Cow Work is all that I Know” (which I wrote a couple years ago
after hearing Mackey’s life story) to music and renamed it “Cow
Hiatt co-wrote the accurately detailed “Monte, the Night Calver”
with Wayne Nelson. “Cowboy Up” is Hiatt’s upbeat, humorous,
rodeo-style tribute to rodeoing and cowboying in general. I believe
the title cut, “Goodnight From Texas,” is going to be a signature
song for Tom Hiatt. It is a cleverly written, poignant, waltz-tempo
tribute to Texas legend Charles Goodnight. It is easy to memorize,
sing along with, and dance to, and I predict that every cowboy dance
band in Texas will eventually add this one to their repertoire. It
really can’t miss. Move over “Waltz Across Texas.” You’ve got
In addition, Hiatt has recorded additional outstanding songs,
including Luke Reed’s “Every Horse I Ever Rode,” Bob Morrison’s
“Dodge City,” Fred Koller’s “Pretty Painted Ladies,” and “Below the
Kinney Rim,” a wild-horse-chasing song written by Les Buffham and
Mike Fleming. Fleming joins in with Tom to sing the song on this CD.
Go to www.tomhiatt.net to
learn how to order one or write to Tom Hiatt, 15361 Toya Lane, El
Cajon, CA 92021.
The LaVonne Houlton Compendium: Ponies, Poetry and Prose,
Janet Gingold delved deeply into research and into friendship to bring forth
an outstanding book about award-winning California poet, writer and noted
Morgan Horse breeder and historian
(1925-2009). The book is of a quality and depth that would please LaVonne,
the epitome of both values in her work and her life.
LaVonne Houlton was a poet since childhood, and she raised and showed
registered Morgan Horses for 35 years. She wrote articles for many magazines
and wrote a regular column for
magazine, which sometimes included her cartoons.
Her ranching relatives in the Dakotas helped develop her love of horses,
cattle, and the characters of the West. Her
biography here at CowboyPoetry.com,
where she was a valued contributor, tells that during her teenage years,
“There were Herefords and horses, dreams to dream, and many trails to
follow. And in the evenings there were the stacks of Western Livestock Journals, with
poems by Bruce Kiskaddon and ‘Cowpoke Cartoons’ by Ace Reid with which to
while away a few hours.” The reader finds all of those influences in her
Gingold worked with Houlton to collect her writings and continued with the
project after Houlton’s death. The book’s acknowledgments and bibliography
show the great breadth of research on which the book stands. The lavishly
illustrated volume, years in the making, is an impressive tribute to a woman
and a way of life.
As noted in its subtitle, the book is divided into three sections: “Ponies:
Historic Horse Articles”; “Poetry: Cowboy Poetry”; and “Prose: A Heritage in
Prose.” The historical horse articles collect a history of the Western
Working Morgan Horse in Houlton’s engaging pieces that span decades. The
prose section focuses on her writing about family and friends. In many ways,
it is the heart of the book, a look into the places and people who greatly
influenced her. LaVonne Houlton’s words always draw the reader into her
worlds and you find yourself walking and riding alongside her. These first
and last rich sections are generously illustrated with over 75 photographs.
Those photographs are also included on an accompanying CD.
The poetry—some sensitive, some humorous, all thoughtful
with its own indelible images of people, dogs, horses, time, and place. As
in her prose, she offers a universe of experiences to her fortunate readers.
Janet Gingold has done an impressive job of preservation, created in the
generous spirit of her subject.
Find some of LaVonne Houlton's poetry
Visit the book’s Facebook page,
The LaVonne Houlton Compendium
(and accompanying CD of archival Morgan Horse photos) is available for
$33 postpaid via PayPal from firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the Chisholm Trail
"contains poems, some humorous, some more
though-provoking, about cattle and farm country after the Chisholm Trail
ended, about cowboys, cowgirls and farmers and other reflections and
His previous book,
Chisholm Trail and Other Poems,
received the Will Rogers Medallion Award.
Rhoades was born on a farm in Cotton County,
Oklahoma and grew up working cattle in Southern Oklahoma. He has been a
rancher, reporter/editor, and college journalism professor. He is retired
and recently owned a hay farm.
Find some of his poetry and more about him
After the Chisholm Trail
is available for $9.95 plus postage and can be ordered
from the publisher, Outskirts Press,
Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
Western Music Association Western Wordsmiths chapter
president Dale Page has a new collection
of his poetry, Brush Poppers. He describes it:
This is a sampling of 30 original poems dating from
my first poem in 1976, “Meat’s Not Meat ‘Til It’s in the Pan,” to
the last one, “Grandpa’s Last Ride.” The latter was written in the
old adobe in New Mexico where Paula and I spent this last winter. It
was performed there for the first time with several of my good
friends present during a February snowstorm.
The book contains all the poems which were recited in my 2008 Best
Performer win at Oklahoma State and those which won a buckle for me
at the 2010 National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo. Some were inspired by my
own experiences and some by tales told by friends. There’s at least
some truth in all of them. I believe you’ll find one or two that hit
home with you.
Tom Browning, an award winning member of the Cowboy Artists of
America, graciously allowed me to use his fine painting for the
cover. "Brush Poppers" was also the Durango Cowboy Poetry
Gathering's poster art and spur for 2010.
Retail price is $11.95 plus $3 S&H. As a special introductory offer,
I’ll send you both the book and my CD, “Once We Were Kings,” for
$25, including S&H. The CD is $14.95 plus $3 S&H if ordered
separately. Personal checks or PayPal only, please:
P.O. Box 268,
Monrovia, IN 46157;
Find some of Dale Page's poetry
here and visit his web site,
Washington poet Del Gustafson's Bulls, Broncs and Barrooms is described as "A book
of cowboy poetry, some humorous some reflective. Most of the poems are drawn
from the authors personal experiences though he is not guaranteeing that he
has not improved on the truth in some cases. There may be gems and there may
be stones, you be the judge. I hope you find it entertaining."
Find some of Del Gustafson's poetry
Signed copies of Bulls, Broncs and Barrooms are available for
$18 from: Del Gustafson 30504 NE Big Rock Road, Duvall, WA 98019. The book
is also available from Amazon and other booksellers.
In his new CD, A Remnant Gather, Kansas
cowboy and ranch manager Jack "Trey" Allen
offers cowboy truth, heart, and much entertainment.
A Remnant Gather includes 16 tracks, most original poems, along with
a collaboration with cowboy, ranch manager, and National
Cowboy Poetry Rodeo organizer Geff Dawson;
Chuck Cusimano's "We Were Cowboys," performed with Trey's daughter, the
impressively talented singer Shandee Allen; one poem featuring all three of
his daughters; and a Robert Service poem.
Rick Huff's enthusiastic review comments,"...I found the performances and
writing of this predominantly cowboy poetry CD to be first rate. Pithy
entries like 'Lost & Never Found' and 'A Story With Several Morals' keep you
alert and guessing while fresh takes on old cowboy themes like those found
in 'As Close As You Can Get' or 'Roughstock Toast' keep it authentic..."
The CD's cover is from a painting by Don Dane; the
same painting was selected as the 2015 Cowboy Poetry Week
Find the track list for A Remnant Gather
here, along with more about Trey Allen
and more of his poetry. Visit his web site,
and find him on Facebook,
A Remnant Gather
is available for $18 postpaid from: Trey Allen, 10660 Lwr
McDowell Crk Rd., Junction City, KS 66441;
www.trey-allen-amigos.com. As he does with all of his CDs, Trey Allen
donates a portion of each CD sale to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and Be
Jarle Kvale, North Dakota
horseman, radio broadcaster, and host of the cowboy poetry and Western music
Back at the Ranch radio show has a new CD,
Custom Made. It includes 14 original poems, well wrought—often wry—verse,
delivered in his understated and engaging style.
The CD's cover photo by Cindy Quiqley of CMQ Photograph, and inside is a
stunning photo of the poet's horses.
Find the track list for Custom Made
where you'll also find more of Jarle Kvale's poetry and more about him. You
can follow "Back at the Ranch" on Facebook,
facebook.com/ranchradioshow and can tune into the current and past shows
Custom Made is available for $18 postpaid from Jarle Kvale, Box
488, Dunseith, ND 58329; email@example.com.
Top singer and songwriter Brenn
Hill's Spirit Rider, billed as a faith-based
collection of songs and hymns, shines with reverent passion and energy.
Brenn's words never preach; they don't need to. His songs let the light in,
and the listener is rewarded with tales of grace and enduring faith.
There are other original ballads about ranchers, cowboys, and families;
songs by Red Steagall and Andy Wilkinson; and moving renditions of "The Old
Rugged Cross," "Nearer My God to Thee, "How Great Thou Art," and other
hymns. As his releases always are, the production is flawless, with top
instrumentalists and background vocalists.
Find more about Spirit Rider at
brennhill.com/?wp_artists=spirit-rider. Find more about Brenn Hill in
our feature here; at
brennhill.com; and on Facebook,
Spirit Rider is available at
www.brennhill.com and there are downloads at iTunes.
T Scot Wilburn and his Shut Up-n-Playboys
enliven tradition and take it to a new level with their bluesy-honky-tonk-and-more
music in Café del Norte. Along
with Wilburn, other top musicians Rick Bryceson, Eugene Jablonsky, and Duane
Becker bring a sparkling range of tunes to life. Scot Wilburn’s voice and
his complex and charged songwriting take you to places of longing and
heartache—with trains, truck stops and cafes featuring mountain gals,
Montana, some cowboy philosophy, and plenty of bourbon. You’ll find yourself
listening over and over.
From the official description:
Café Del Norte, the new 10-song CD from T.
Scot Wilburn & the Shut Up-n-Playboys, is a compilation of original
tunes, all penned by Wilburn. The songs come from places like truck
stops, smoky barrooms, railroad yards, ranches and broken romances.
The CD includes ballads, Western swing, a touch of the long-lost
traditional country sound and classic Americana music associated
with the West.
Listen to the title track
here and find
more at shutupandplayboys.com.
Del Norte is $17 postpaid. Order by email to
Working cowboy Daron Little offers a standout collection of songs in
his new release,
Six original songs
include the multi-talened Butch Hause on bass and background
vocals. A maverick songwriter and impressive picker, Daron
Little's passionate pieces all speak of the real working West.
No one listens just one time through.
Daron Little lives and cowboys fulltime at the headquarters
division of the Silver Spur Ranch in Encampment, Wyoming. Find
more about him here at
Facebook, and at his web site,
where you'll find a recording of one of the selections, "The
Outside Circle," and order information. You can also hear "The
Outside Circle" at
Dos Amigos is available for $10 for the CD, and there are
downloads at www.ranchcowboymusic.com.
Fourth-generation cowboy, songwriter, and
filmmaker Gail Steiger presents a
tour de force concert
captured live on CD in A Matter of Believin'.
Invited to speak at the Phippen Museum of Western Art on 100
years of ranching history in Yavapai County, Arizona, he
captivates his audience with tales, songs, poems and philosophy.
Along with his own works and those of his iconic grandfather,
Gail I. Gardner, there are poems and songs by Kris
Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, and Joe
His commentaries on ranching and agriculture are so pointed that
the album carries a disclaimer. A second disc includes only the
songs and poems. The album is a keeper, an important view of the
real working West.
The album design and cover photo is by Steve Atkinson (steveatkinsondesign.com;
facebook.com/steve.atkinson.902), who has designed other albums and
books for Western writers and songwriters, including
Amy Hale Auker and
Belinda Gail. His work appears on the 2015
Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering poster.
Find the track list for A Matter of Believin'
here, along with poetry, lyrics,
and more about Gail Steiger.
A Matter of Believin' is available for $20
A book and a CD, both named
Rhyming the Range,
collect popular poet, ranch wife, and quilt champion Yvonne Hollenbeck's original poems about her life on the ranch.
Steagall comments, "No one puts the image, heart and soul of these people
into verse in a more professional manner or with more emotion than does
Yvonne Hollenbeck...No poet in America has a better feel for and
understanding of the folks in our agricultural society. She shows us the
struggles, the sadness, and the humor of folks who feed us..."
The book includes the most requested poems from her two out-of-print books
and all of her newest poetry. The CD has 21 of her original poems and
incidental music by Butch Hause. It is designed by Jeri Dobrowski ("Cowboy
Find poems and more about Yvonne Hollenbeck in our feature
and find her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/YKHollenbeck.
The Rhyming the Range book is $25; the CD is
$15; order both for $35, all prices postpaid. Order from Yvonne Hollenbeck,
30549 291 St., Clearfield, SD 57580-6205; 605-557-3559;
Scrapin' By CD has
received early praise. From an announcement:
Utah resident Marleen
Bussma announces the release of Scrapin’ By, her debut CD of cowboy
poetry. She has fourteen original poems
inspired by her years growing up on a
farm in ND and her love of true stories
from the old west.
Rick Huff writes:
are the poetic goldmine of Utah poet
Marleen Bussma. A North Dakota native,
Bussma’s title track deals with the wild
and wooly life of Poker Alice. Bussma’s
delivery is what I would consider to be
the spot-on mix of reciting and
In literate and wonderfully descriptive
verse, Bussma tells of “The Outlaw,” a
legendary 1900s saddle bronc (“the rodeo
grew claws and snatched my carefree life
away”). From “The Phantom’s Lure,” about
a mustang now penned, we get “teasing
thoughts of freedom flicker, fade and
fall behind.” From “Slow Burn” she shows
a damaged pen and its contents with
“like the hull of the Titanic wood has
sprung a gaping hole…movement heads in
that direction as bulls think about
Give this one a try. You won’t be
disappointed. Fourteen tracks.
The track list includes:
Ill Tempered Roan, Cowboy Etiquette,
Scrapin’ By, The Fence Bustin’ Ride, She
Was Reckless, Dirty Dishes, The Outlaw,
Little Shadow, Mustache Maude, The
Three-Minute Bride, The Phantom’s Lure,
The Apron, Slow Burn, and The Bakken
Bovine Beauty Spa.
Scrapin’ By is $14 postpaid, available
from Marleen Bussma at 1094 Homestead
Dr. E., Dammeron Valley, UT 84783;
Find some of Marleen
Bussma's poetry and more about her
here at the
Kansas cowboy, ranch manager, poet and reciter
has just re-released his two early CDs of classic and original cowboy
and Lowly Cowboy. Among the classics are selections written by Bruce
Kiskaddon, Robert Service, and A.B. "Banjo" Paterson. Long out of print,
both showcase his considerable writing and reciting talents.
Find more about the CDs and the interesting stories behind
the vintage cowboy photographs on the covers here.
Cowpoke and Lowly Cowboy are available for $15 postpaid each, with $1 from
each sale going to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and Be the Match, from:
Trey Allen, 10660 Lwr McDowell Crk Rd, Junction City, KS 66441,
Working ranch woman and
award-winning essayist, novelist, and poet
Amy Hale Auker's
The Story is the Thing,"
is set in the ranching West, a captivating
tale of people who are inexorably tied to
the land and to each other. There is
suffering, struggle, loss, loneliness and
danger mixed with love, beauty, nature, and
unshakable bonds. For some, there is wisdom
earned and even redemption. But like life,
nothing is simple, and the story is the
thing. Through graceful prose and occasional
poetry her complex characters' compelling
stories stay with the reader long after the
book is closed.
Asked about the inspiration for the book,
she told us, "The inspiration for this book
was very simple. This old man named Bill
Morgan started talking to me and I wrote as
fast as I could to get his words down on
paper. Yes, on yellow legal pad. I love
writing in an old man's voice and I learned
a lot from Uncle Bill. My favorite thing
that he says is, 'I never wanted to be
perfect. Just happy.'"
Top photographer, screenwriter, and director
Kurt Markus (kurtmarkus.com)
comments, "This is a challenging work by a
very gutsy, gifted writer with large
ambitions. One gets the sense that Amy Auker
is poised to reach beyond that which is so
intimately familiar to her—the cowboy
West—and break free of all genre labeling.
Watch out, here she comes."
The careful writing is complemented by the
thoughtful design of the book. Steve
and steveatkinsonstudio.com) created the
cover and the book's inside drawings. A
respected painter and designer, he has also
done other design projects for Western
writers and musicians. His work has been
featured on posters for the Arizona Cowboy
Poets Gathering, and was selected again this
year for the gathering's 2015 poster. Read
Amy Hale Auker's blog post about her book's
Amy Hale Auker's 2011 book of essays,
published by Texas Tech University Press,
received multiple awards, including the
Women Writing the West Willa Award. She is
currently at work on additional non-fiction.
Visit her web site at
amyhaleauker.com for her books and more.
Find some of her poetry in our feature
The Story is the Thing
is available from Amy Hale Auker and from
PEN-L Publishing. All of her books are
CD, America's top cowboy poet has released an
equally outstanding collection,
Both are produced by the estimable Western
Jubilee Recording Company (www.westernjubilee.com)
It doesn't get
fans. On the heels of his outstanding
And what great companion offerings they are.
Where the CD offers a breadth of humor and
thoughtfulness, the book offers an ever greater
depth of both.
"A Poet with Something to Say" is the book's
first poem, and its nimble lines well describe
the author himself, in their description of a
"timeless story rustler" who "...sets the mind
and heart a'bustle/ Cuts the fat and leaves the
muscle/ While inviting to examine if its true/
Then he leaves its resolution up to you."
Waddie Mitchell likes to give advice, honestly
rooted in his own unshakeable cowboy values. It
is the kind of counsel that goes down easily, as
in "Harsh Words": "Bonds won't break by
disagreement/ But sharp tongues will cut them
clean" and in "No Second Chance, "Yea, if we
could just but re-live time/ our lives could be
enhances/ But, best try to do things first time
'round/ cuz, there ain't no second chance."
He has strong feelings about the dangers the
West faces, as expressed in the "Once upon a
time" of the poem "Sentence," "...where miles
outnumbered people/ and self-reliance
prevailed..." "We the People" asserts, "This
ain't about which party, they're both dirty
beyond bath/ It's about the mav'rick snowball on
the roll/ That's grown big enough to devastate
whatever's in its path/ and officially is now
beyond control." In "For Promises Due," he
writes of a Shoshone rancher's plight, "So like
rustlers of old with no order from the court/
And against what all stock law allows/ The BLM
stole Raymond's means of support/ And unlawfully
auctioned his cows." His own Vietnam War
experience informs poems such as "Invisible
Wounds" and "The Bristlecone Pine."
Then for a lot of flat-out fun, there are all
sorts of cowboy characters, peg-legged pigs,
goats, dogs, horses, bulls, cows, cat-astrophes,
privies, booze, women, windies, and wrecks. As
in "Infraction Distraction," the poet "knows
guys that stories wanna happen to."
There's so much more on many other topics. That
includes a whole lot of heart and something
larger. There's an emphasis on action, with a
kind of urgency that only age knows. As
gracefully as it begins, with "A Poet with
Something to Say," the book ends with "Another
Day" in which "His life is spent on a highway
bent/on taking him away/ The rented rooms and
greasy spoons are staples of his day..." And
this time the advice may be as much to the poet
as to the reader, "Go seize the day. Go, make
the hay/ the sun won't always shine/ And nothing
takes forever/ 'specially running out of time."
Waddie Mitchell brings years of experience to
bear in these poems, and there is a sure
maturity of effort in many of them. But, also,
something interesting and rare about him rises
to the top. You can listen to an early
recording, read an early poem, compare them to
new offerings, have a conversation with him, and
what stands out is that deep down, nothing has
changed the man himself, despite his rise to the
top of the cowboy poetry world. He's real. His
emotions are true. His humble cowboy beginnings
are what shape him and his poetry. He and his
work remain approachable in every sense.
These "100 poems" offer plenty of laughs, much
philosophy, and abundant food for thought. Like
a reliable friend, it's the sort of companion
you'll be happy to keep nearby. You can open it
up at just about any page and be the better for
having taken it in.
Another dazzling portrait by respected Western
Artist William Matthews adorns the cover of the
Find more about Waddie Mitchell at Western
Jubilee, www.westernjubilee.com and in our feature
here. Find order
from Western Jubilee Recording Company. At turns
thoughtful, inspirational, reflective, and
humorous, all but two of the poems are his
original works, a mix of old and new.
Top cowboy poet
offers an abundance of fine poetry and
performance in his latest CD,
The album's title is inspired. Waddie Mitchell's
years of "sweat equity" pay off in ever-more
complex and meaningful works. So many of the
included poems could only be written from
hard-earned experience. He and his writing
express the esssence and ethos of cowboy life.
There's wisdom, often tinged with nostalgia, all
through. It is there, for example, in the story
of a good horse, "Ol'Blue"; in "Trade Off,"
about a couple of old buckaroos; in "Experience
of Life," written for his son; and in the
standout "The Rawhide Braider." Two poems that
speak eloquently to veterans' experiences cut
particularly close to the bone, "Invisible
Worlds" and "Bristlecone Pine." ("Bristlecone
Pine" and The Rawhide Braider" have been put to
music by Brenn Hill.)
There are plenty of laughs as well, from "Bet at
the Bar" to "Elmer" to the recitations of two
other poets' modern humorous classics: Sunny
Hancock's "Horse Trade" and Bill Hirschi's "The
Bra." Whether being humorous or serious, the
storytelling is always exceptional.
Throughout, the music of the Gillette Brothers
weaves together the well-chosen selections.
Noted Western artist William Matthews'
impressive cover art tells its own vivid story.
There are few better examples of poetry,
delivery, packaging, and production (which
includes the fine hand of Butch Hause). Find
more about the CD at Western Jubilee,
where there are sample tracks.
"The Rawhide Braider" is included on
The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Nine,
CowboyPoetry.com's annual compilation of the
best in classic and contemporary cowboy poetry,
to be released in late October, 2014. And,
there's great news for Waddie Mitchell's fans: a
new book of his poetry is forthcoming.
Find more about Waddie Mitchell at Western
somagency.com/waddiemitchell, and in our
There are few Western writers
as versatile as
who excels as an essayist, journalist, novelist,
short-story writer, poet, and more. His
writing and reciting cowboy poetry are valuable
for their acuity, practicality, and depth of
knowledge of classic and contemporary writers
Readers once again can see that he "walks the
walk" in his new, second, poetry collection,
Goodnight Goes Riding and Other Poems
from PEN-L publishing. The book is described,
"From thoughtful to frivolous, the poetry in
Goodnight Goes Riding and Other Poems
covers the range like a herd of hungry horses.
In verse inspired by the ranch and rodeo arena,
trail drive and dance hall and more, Miller
provides variety in both subject and style."
Ranch & Reata
editor A.J. Mangum offers an engaging foreword.
The award-winning poet, never predictable, is
also known for his humility. The introductory
poem, "An Apology to Readers, Sort Of, But More
Like and Explanation or Maybe an Excuse,"
reinforces that. The "Author's Note" will send
readers to dip in immediately for humor,
history, musings, and thought-provoking pieces.
Fearless in facing traditionalists, he writes
haiku and free verse as well as impeccably
rhymed and metered poetry. His own cowboying and
rodeoing experiences and a solid grounding in
the art and methods of poetry give him the
freedom to do it all and do it well.
PEN-L is making its mark in Western publishing.
They published Amy
Hale Auker's novel,
Winter of Beauty
and will publish forthcoming novels from Auker
and from Janice Gilbertson.
Find more about PEN-L at
Find more about Rod Miller in our feature
here and visit his web site
writerrodmiller.com and his blog,
Goodnight Goes Riding and Other Poems
Once We Were Kings,
includes recitations of his
He describes the CD, "My new CD
is a compilation of my best poems of the last
ten years. There are ten poems, some based on my
experiences or those of friends, and one that's
based on the diary of my great-aunt. She and her
husband homesteaded in eastern Montana in 1913.
I wrote the first verse of 'Lodgepole Lullaby'
while standing on the highest point of the
homestead, listening to the wind in the
lodgepoles. The title poem, 'Once We Were
Kings,' was inspired by my return to the place
where I had my first job a-horseback. It was one
of 8 Seconds in the Lariat Laureate Contest in
Find some of Dale's poetry
on his page here and
visit his web site,
Once We Were Kings
is available at
CD Baby, where there are track samples, and
also for $19.99 postpaid from
new book from
The Anthology: Celebrating 30 Years of Wrangling
collects the works of some of the contemporary
cowboy poets and songwriters who have appeared
on its National Cowboy Poetry Gathering stage in
its thirty-year history.
In the book's introduction, top poet
writes about "...the comet's tail of fireworks
that for thirty years has blossomed from its
flame...[poetry] has been the key that let Elko
beget the phenomenon. The word drives a wooden
stake through the heart of every editor,
publisher, producer, or director with reason,
and yet ... thirty years ago, when an innocent
group of people in Nevada had the brass monkeys
to connect the word 'cowboy' with the word
'poetry,' it was like mixing uranium-235 with
strontium-90. Cowboy Poetry became a magic
There are examples of the finest serious poetry
as well as the most popular humorous poetry (for
example, Pat Richardson's "The Donner Party" and
Yvonne Hollenbeck's "What Would Martha Do?").
The book collects poems and lyrics from J.B. Allen,
Amy Hale Auker,
Sally Harper Bates,
Laurie Wagner Buyer,
Walt "Bimbo" Cheney,
Echo Ray Klaproth,
Kay Kelley Nowell,
Henry Real Bird,
Sandy Seaton Sallee,
Colen H. Sweeten Jr.,
and Paul Zarzyski.
Informative sidebars on a variety of themes
("Women and Cowboy Poetry," A Renaissance of
Gear Making," "Cowboy Poetry and Song," "Cowboy
Poetry Around the World," and pieces on
"classic" poets Badger Clark and S. Omar Barker)
complement the poetry. There are illustrations
throughout by Pat Richardson, Walt LaRue, and
Glenn Ohrlin. Longtime gathering photographer
Kevin Martini-Fuller provides photographs for
each of the contributors.
The 264-page softcover book,
The Anthology: Celebrating 30 Years of Wrangling
here at the Western Folklife Center and from
has a dazzling new EP (a five-song album),
You can hear one of the songs from the EP,
co-written by her father John Reedy, "When
the Snow Flies," in an impressive video
Brigid Reedy has been a featured performer
at the Western Folklife Center's National
Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Monterey Cowboy
Poetry & Music Festival, Songs of the
Cowboys, and other events. Her bio tells
that, "She learned to yodel at the age of
two and began playing the fiddle a few years
Find more about Brigid
Reedy in our feature
here and at
her web site,
You can order the CD ($6 postpaid) at
Popular singer and
songwriter Jean Prescott offers a broad range
of songs that address love of the land,
family, work, love, and faith in her latest
release, Traditions. Jean
Prescott appreciates poets and poetry and
among the co-writers of the included songs
are poets Yvonne Hollenbeck, Gary McMahan,
Debra Coppinger Hill, Doris Daley, Leon
Autrey, and Pat Richardson. There is also a
song adapted from the late S. Omar Barker's
poem, "Ranch Mother," and there are
co-writes with talented California singer
and songwriter Joyce Woodson.
Jean Prescott writes, "It is my hope that
the content of this project will bring to
mind your own family traditions and give a
greater desire to preserve and pass them
down to future generations."
Top cowboy poet, songwriter, and entertainer
Red Steagall comments on Jean Prescott and
the CD, "...She belongs to the land and its
people and upholds the heritage, traditions,
and values of the western lifestyle." Noted
photographer David Stoecklein comments, "Her
songs bring the West alive..."
Find more about Jean
Prescott in our feature here and at
Listen to samples from
Traditions is available
from Jean Prescott for $18.00 postpaid:
Prescott Music, P. O. Box 194, Dept. CP,
Ovalo, TX 79541;
"Cowboy Thatch the Bear River Buckaroo," has
a new CD,
The First Go Round.
It is described, "A collection of cowboy
poetry including six original poems, some
classic cowboy poetry by S. Omar Barker and
Bruce Kiskaddon, along with a couple of
favorites from Baxter Black and heartfelt
writings from Bill 'Three Feathers'
Find more about Thatch Elmer
here at CowboyPoetry.com and at his web site,
The First Go Round
$20 postpaid from
Oregon horseman and poet
new CD is Horses and Happiness.
From the producers:
Tom Swearingen, of
Tualatin, Oregon, winner of the National
Finals Rodeo 2013 Cowboy Poetry week
contest, has released his debut CD, Horses and Happiness. Professionally
recorded during a live performance, this
collection of eleven original poems plus
welcome track gives evidence why he is a
popular presenter at cowboy gatherings
and western events, as well as with
Often inspired by his own time in the
saddle, Tom writes poetry ranging from
the humorous to serious and reflective.
Horses and Happiness covers that
spectrum with "I Don't Call Myself a
Cowboy," "Blessed to be Western,"
"Bombproof Pinto Mare," "Cowgirl From
Nantucket," "Winter Pleasure Ride,"
"Thurman the Beer Mule's Dad Takes a
Spill," "Oregon's Outlaw Henry Vaughn,"
"When a Horse Hoof
Hits the Ground," "Replanted Roots," "Nightwind.
Gentle Spirit, Noble Soul," and the
Tom's poems have been featured by
Cowboys & Indians Magazine and
recognized by such organizations as the
National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Ft.
Worth, Texas, and South Dakota's
Heritage of the American West. Several
of his poems have been published, but
this is Tom's first recording. "Cowboy
poetry is a folk tradition, meant to be
heard, not just read on a page, so I'm
to have this CD out", says Tom. "Now, I
just hope all the people who have come
up to me after my performances asking to
buy a CD will ask again now that I have
one!," he says with a smile.
Horses and Happiness is available
for $15 plus postage from
oregoncowboypoet.com and from CD Baby,
iTunes and other outlets. And, of
course, direct from Tom at his
www.oregoncowboypoet.com for Tom's
appearance schedule and more
Find some of Tom's poetry
and more about him
CowboyPoetry.com, and visit his web site,
singer, songwriter, poet,
and self-described "general nuisance"
puts his popular poem to paper in a new
book, Sometimes the
Best Cowboys Ain't Always Human,
illustrated by Vel Miller. Gary describes
the spirited tale about an unusual sidekick,
"This is a heartfelt homegrown poem for kids
of all ages. Plus it's true. I actually knew
this guy and talked to folks who actually
Top songwriter Dave
Stamey has praised the book as "one of
the finest bits of writing in a cowboy poem
I've ever seen."
Find the poem
our feature about Gary. You can listen to a
version of the poem in this
Find more about Gary in our feature
here and at
his web site,
www.singingcowboy.com, where there are
full-length songs and poems and more.
Sometimes the Best Cowboys Ain't
Always Human is available for $20
postpaid rom Gary McMahan, PO Box 90,
Bellvue, CO 80512.
Popular poet, songwriter,
and artist Jo Lynne
Kirkwood has a fine Christmas gift
for her fans: A Cedar Ridge Christmas,
a collection of twelve original Christmas
Her deep love of family and place is
celebrated with reverence and wonder,
nostalgia, a touch of humor at times, and
always, her lyrical style. That style is
illustrated in "Bringin' Home Christmas":
Some years the full moon bathes the
world in bright light,
A clear iridescent white glow
Sometimes Christmas Eve’s an indigo
Deep and velvet, like a lamp turned down
It's a special gift—Jo Lynne Kirkwood's
Find the entire
some of her poetry and more about her in a
feature here at the
BAR-D, and visit her web site,
"A Cedar Ridge Christmas" is available for
$12 postpaid from Jo Lynne Kirkwood, PO Box
570207, Sigurd, UT 84657;
songwriter, and artist "Buckshot Dot" (Dee Strickland Johnson)
has collected a treasury of Christmas,
Thanksgiving, and New Year's poetry and
lyrics in her new book, Western Winter
Lights. A great source of light
herself, the cover is from her drawing and
depicts her son, Tim. She tells, "Tim posed
for that scratch board picture of the
campfire cowboy. I had him standing there
with his back to me for quite some time-took
a while to get those rivets on the Levi's."
(A version of the cover image was a
Christmas Art Spur in 2007. Read more about
it and see some of the poems it inspired
With sections including "Winter,"
"Thanksgiving," "'Specially for Kids,"
"Christmas is A'Comin'," "Christmas," "Songs
of Christmas," "Christmas Festivities," and
"After Christmas," the 87 pieces in "Western
Winter Lights" include works by James Barton
Adams, Lon Austin, S. Omar Barker, Sally
Bates, Virginia Bennett, Les Buffham, Jack
Burdette, Robert Burns, Nona Kelley Carver,
Larry Chittenden, Badger Clark, Dean Cook,
Kit McLean Cramer, Captain Jack Crawford,
Elizabeth Ebert, Rolf Flake, Igor Glenn, Ken
Graydon, Julia Blanche Hanson, Royce Hodge,
Yvonne Hollenbeck, Andy Hurlbut, Anne James,
Bruce Kiskaddon, Henry W. Longfellow, Peggy
Malone, Tony Matheny, Jane Ambrose Morton,
Ted Newman, Tony Norris, Ray Owens, Ted
Ramirez, Michael H. Ronstadt, Bud Strom, and
Find more about Buckshot Dot and some of her
poetry in our feature here
and visit her web site,
Order Western Winter Lights
directly from Buckshot Dot for just $10
postpaid: 7852 N. Toya Vista Drive, Payson,
AZ 85541; (928) 474-8305.
Cowboy, packer, and popular poet and humorist
Chris Isaacs collects poems,
stories, drawings, and photos in his new book, From the War
Bag. He writes in the introduction, "There wasn't enough of
any one thing to make a meal out of, but all together they might
make a decent stew."
That stew is generously seasoned throughout with one of the most
important ingredients in his life: friends. Those friends are often
the inspiration for the book's mostly hilarious tales that range
from cowboy pranks to spectacular wrecks. Need it be said: political
correctness be damned, throughout.
Fellow cowboys who are also poets figure into the yarns: Larry
McWhorter, Waddie Mitchell, Jesse Smith, Sunny Hancock, Ross Knox,
Rolf Flake, and others. Parodies take on Wally McRae ("Plagiarism"
begins, "What is this thing called Plagiarism?"), Gail I. Gardner
("If Will Shakespeare Had Written "Sierry Petes"), and Banjo
A section titled "Empty Saddles" pays particular tribute to friends
who have passed on. Even those pieces are salted with humor and
underlying them all is his rough-and-tumble and sincere affection.
Top singer and songwriter Dave Stamey, in the book's foreword,
comments, "...when you become Chris Isaacs' friend, you become a
part of his family. That's how deep it goes."
Not surprisingly, praise for the book and the man is plentiful. Jay
Snider, Jim Jones, Amy Hale Auker, and Kent Rollins lend back-cover
blurbs. Waddie Mitchell has written:
In this little book, a person can get
lost in the wild beauty, tickled by
crazy, educated by an expert and
thoroughly entertained for hours. Chris
is a natural born storyteller and
observer of life. No one I know can pick
the good and funny out of small moments
like him. I've been lucky to spend a
considerable amount of time around Chris
over the years and am always anxious to
get more. This book is like spending
comfortable time, feet up, listening to
one of the best.
Get the full serving of warm, wacky, and
wild poems, stories, drawings, and photos in
From the War Bag from Chris Isaacs,
502 N Harless, Eagar, AZ 85925, for $20
postpaid. Or order via PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Find more about Chris Isaacs in our feature
here and at
An inspired new anthology,
Brushstrokes & Balladeers: Painters and Poets of the
from editor and publisher C.J. Hadley and
celebrates the depth and breadth of both arts. Starting with Charlie Russell’s
“Self-Portrait” and ending with Red Steagall’s
“Hats Off to the Cowboy,” many dozens of classic and modern works
are offered in the impressive, high quality large-format hardcover
book. The volume engages on many levels; the thought-provoking words
and pictures include the familiar and obscure, humorous and serious,
spirited and serene, irreverent and inspirational.
C.J. Hadley explains, “How did we choose the poets? From twenty-nine
years attending the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko,
Nevada. From a collection of dozens of cowboy poetry books, hundreds
of tracks on CDs, and from suggestions from the first wordsmiths we
picked. And for love of language and art, awe for horses, and an
appreciation for cowboys, cowgirls, and ranch life.”
There are the words of beloved cowboy poets, lost to us in our time:
J. B. Allen,
Contemporary poets include
Henry Real Bird,
Laurie Wagner Buyer,
William E. Black Jr.,
John L. Moore,
Classic Western and cowboy poets are
S. Omar Barker,
Henry Herbert Knibbs,
Additionally, fitting words are lent by
Irish novelist and poet
lawyer and U.S. Representative
(1787-1864); and the Navajo Nation’s first
Complementing the poems are paintings,
drawings, and illustrations from more than
two dozen artists:
Mary Ross Buchholz,
Karen G. Myers,
J. N. Swanson.
Biographies of all the poets and artists are
This lasting volume is an essential
addition to the complete cowboy arts
Brushstrokes and Balladeers
is available at a special discount, $29 plus
Find more at
www.rangemagazine.com, with order
on the site.
Oklahoman George Rhoades'
book, Along the Chisholm Trail and
Other Poems, is the recipient of a
2013 Will Rogers Medallion Award (willrogersmedallionaward.org)
and other honors. The book "contains poems
about the Chisholm Trail, cowboys, tall
tales, farm life, and other reflections and
George Rhoades' bio tells, "George Rhoades,
born on a farm in Cotton County, Oklahoma,
has been a soldier, printer, rancher,
reporter/editor and college journalism
professor. He is retired and owns a hay farm
in Stephens County, Oklahoma."
Along the Chisholm Trail and Other Poems
is available for $9.95 plus postage. Find
ordering information, including an instant
e-book download ($5.00) at the publisher's
Outskirts Press. The book is available
Barnes & Noble.
New Mexico poet
has an attractive new collection of his
poetry, A Cowboy Spirit. From
the publisher's description:
A Cowboy Spirit
is a collection of some of Hooker's
cowboy poems that are new and fresh.
They range from true events from his
life, to inspirational poems,
traditional poems, a romantic type poem,
an outlaw poem, team roping poems, a few
humorous poems, and a few that are a
little "different," but nevertheless,
enjoyable to read. These poems are about
many subjects that arise in a cowboy's
life. Stuart Hooker reveals how his
heart and soul are driven by his passion
for ranching and the cowboy way of life.
Find some of Stuart Hooker's
A Cowboy Spirit is available in
softcover, hardback, and Ebook at Xlibris
call 888-795-4274 ext. 7879,
order online (and see some content) at
Barnes & Noble,
and other booksellers.
rancher, Crow elder, and past Montana Poet
Laureate, has a new collection,
which brims with luminous poems. The reader
on good horses—to
worlds of uncommon light, rare spirituality,
and the unexpected. There are horses,
cowboys, rodeo stories, observations of
Nature and the Spirit, and messages to
unnamed objects of love in these clear and
One standout, "Cowboy," employs many
generous stanzas with the life of Charles
Russell woven through, in a poem that is
full of sight and sound and layered images,
impressive dissertation on cowboys and
He must have heard
the sun rising,
night hawk on herd.
This must have been the sixth sense—
ground step, harmony with nature
M.L. Smoke, Director of Indian Education for
Montana comments on Wolf Teeth, "The
inner heart commotion of Henry Real Bird is
poised in a physical and metaphysical
terrain marked by the history, culture,
language and identity of his Apsaalooke
nation. At the same time, no one else
contemplates broncs, Chinook winds, the Wolf
Teeth Mountains and forgotten creek beds in
the way that Real Bird does—his is a
careful, astute eye that reminds us again
and again of our own interrelation, of our
responsibility to all beings, all places
that make up our world and beyond."
Find "Cowboy" and another
poem, along with the table of contents for
Wolf Teeth in our feature
The book is beautifully
produced and designed by Lost Horse Press,
from the cover painting by Chuck deHaan, to
Henry Real Bird's own illustrations inside
the book, to the back cover, which displays
popular image of the poet, taken at the
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
Wolf Teeth is
available for $16.95 plus postage from Lost
www.losthorsepress.org and other
is arguably the greatest modern American
cowboy balladeer, he's a man of quiet
humility. His new recording, Just Me
and My Guitar, doesn't come with any
slick media releases or hype. Even the title
is humble. The packaging is spare, only a
track list and credits. After all, it's
what's inside, a deeply rich treasury of
impressive picking, singing and composition
that is important to the audience, and,
obviously, to him.
Steeped in music history, he is the master
interpreter of traditional songs, and among
the album's selections are "Jack O'
Diamonds," "When I Was a Cowboy," "Poor
Lonesome Cowboy," and "Cowboy's Lament."
More recent standards are given the same
respectful yet fresh presentation as well,
such as Tex Owens' "Cattle Call"; Stan
Jones' "Riders in the Sky," and Bob Nolan's
Much of the
project is suffused with an appealing,
certain bluesy melancholy. Hank Williams'
"Weary Blues" and three songs by Jimmie
Rodgers, including "Waiting for a Train" and
"Cowhand's Last Ride," complement Don
Edwards' own blues pieces ("Cowtown Blues"
and "Cyclone Blues")—all are among the most
outstanding, complex tracks.
Don Edwards' popular tribute to Tom Mix,
"West of Yesterday"; the powerful "How Great
Thou Art"; and more, 17 total tracks.
makes for great listening.
has been an ambassador of cowboy music to
the wide world; his work is an enduring
legacy. Known for his generosity as well as
his humility, he has nurtured the talents of
other deserving artists who will carry on
the traditions. To be able to listen to
"just him and his guitar" with such sincere
performances is his most recent generous
gift to us all.
feature here about Don Edwards.
Just Me and My Guitar is available
for $15 plus postage from
www.DonEdwardsMusic.com and from Amazon,
CDBaby, iTunes, and other outlets.
Finally. The "desert
island" book for cowboy poetry fans: the
has compiled his
Poems Not Worth Saving.
Poems Worth Saving
in a new, hardcover book. He notes that the
title leaves room for a sequel,
Readers will find old favorites, gems they
may have missed, a lot of humor, a few
serious pieces, and some of Baxter's best
columns and commentary. The pieces are
sorted into chapters. The first is "Cowboy
Mentality," which includes Baxter classics
such as "Cowboy Time" and "The Oyster."
Chapter Two covers "Cow, Calf, Ranching." He
introduces it as stories that are mostly
"one cowboy versus one cow" and comments, "I
would suggest God put them in his plan when
He was seeking to add some humor to the vast
universe." Poems such as "Prolapse from the
Black Lagoon" are penned there. Other
chapters are titled "Feedlot, Market,
Bankers, and Sheep"; "Horses, Rodeo,
Veterinarians," with a few serious pieces
such as "Legacy of a Rodeo Man" and "The
Buckskin Mare"; "Farming, The Weather"; and
"Christmas, Holidays," which includes the
popular "Reindeer Flu."
He writes that the final chapter, "Assorted
Strays," is "where I got off the beaten path
and let my mind wander." Baxter ever having
been on a "beaten path" is worth pondering,
and so are the pieces in the chapter,
especially "Just Words."
And for delicious frosting on the already
tasty cake, the book is generously sprinkled
with a great selection of illustrations by
Bob Black, Don Gill, Dave Holl, Charlie
Marsh, A-10 (Etienne Etcheverry), and Bill
Patterson; Baxter's infectious humor comes
through in their antic illustrations. He
appreciates them, and in a section that
includes their bios and photos, he writes,
"My plastic sleeve is off to you ..."
Baxter makes it look easy, but as you savor
his work you see that the madness underneath
is fine indeed. He's brilliant, informed,
possibly certifiable, and, as Hank the Cowdog
author John Erickson observes about his use
of words, "He gives them an order we never
dreamed was there."
Whether you are headed for that desert
island or just want to put your feet up and
Poems Worth Saving
will be good company.
See our feature about Baxter Black
Poems Worth Saving
is available for $24.95 from
music goes beyond any
simple categorization. Is it "cowboy?"
Mostly. Is it relevant? Always. He
makes the old new with his inventive,
thoughtful renderings of traditional folk
music, creations that come to inhabit their
own timeless place among the best roots
music. While he seems to channel the spirits
of the old ballads and blues, he reinvents
them with his singular picking, singing, and
interpretations. Throughout his latest
release, Cowboy Songster, his
delivery expresses the irony, humor,
longing, and pain encompassed in his
selections; the songs are reborn as uniquely
musician and collector and scholar of
traditional works from a young age, Andy
Hedges now has eight albums, a Wrangler
Award, and many acclaimed performances to
stand on. Perhaps there is no better
endorsement of his work than that of great
American cowboy troubadour
who calls Andy Hedges' music "undeniably
real," and states, "Andy could very well
carry on the traditions when all us old guys
are gone. I'd feel assured in knowing the
music of our great American West was in good
Songster includes a satisfying range of
traditional songs—among them, "Diamond Joe,"
"Old Chisholm Trail," Chuck-Wagon Blues,"
"The Bronc That Wouldn't Bust," "The Brazos
arranged by Andy Hedges, along with Curley
Fletcher's "Wild Buckaroo," and "Down South
on the Rio Grande," a traditional piece with
original music. "Boll Weevil" and
"James Alley Blues" are particular
standouts. Liner notes list his father's
rebuilt guitar as one of the instruments
used in the recording, along with "one of
Ramblin' Jack's old guitar picks."
Songster honors tradition, and like the
historic works he brings to life, Andy
Hedges offers important music that will
Find a video preview of Cowboy Songster
here at YouTube.
See our feature
here about Andy
Hedges with the Cowboy Songster
www.AndyHedges.com where there are
videos and audio files.
Cowboy Songster is available for
$17 plus postage from Yellowhouse
Music, CD Baby, with
has a long-awaited CD of his poetry and, a
fine addition, his music. Paul Bliss can
move effortlessly and naturally from humor
to lyric poetry to entertaining music, and
he delivers it all with an engaging voice of
experience. From the producers of
this well known, respected cowboy and
poet from Salem, Utah will be delighted
with this collection of some old
favorites that Paul has performed at
numerous poetry gatherings—but the big
news and pleasant surprise is the new
material that Paul has written and
performed with music and song for the
very first time!
Bliss has a unique talent for describing
the everyday life of this Western-bred
rancher, rodeo performer, wrangler and
Trail Boss. When he composes poetry, and
now music, he truly is speaking from
experience from years of living the
ranch life and dealing with cattle,
horses and people on a daily basis. You
can’t go wrong listening to this latest
offering from a past WMA Utah Poet of
the Year. He’s admittedly more
comfortable on the range than in town.
Paul considers himself “just a cowboy,”
a little hard to catch up with maybe,
but when you do …. it’s Pure Bliss.
Find a track list
find some of Paul's poetry and more about
him on that same page at the BAR-D.
is available for $15 plus postage from
Cowgirl Poet of the Year
in 2010 by the Academy of Western Artists,
has a new CD,
From the description:
There are 11 poems that were inspired by
her life and her heritage and one track
that took her out of her comfort zone as
she sings "I Reckon I’m a Texan." The
material on this CD reflects Teresa’s
sense of humor, her love of history and
her roots that are planted in the
agricultural and cowboy way of life.
Find the track list
and more about the CD along with a poem by
Remains is available for $17
contact Teresa Burleson at
Top singer and
songwriter and respected horseman
new project, Tribute, gives
100% of its proceeds to
The Joyful Horse Project and the Healing
with Horses pilot program, where recent
military veterans are working with rescue
He tells about about the new album
here on his web site:
album is primarily a collection of horse
songs, but it also includes two songs that
were recorded in honor of U.S veterans and
a poem by Jeremiah Watt.
I wanted to make this record as a tribute
to horses. and, I wanted the proceeds to
support a worthy cause—one that helps both
horses and people come together in true
I spent two months in Austin Texas
recording this album while working on a
pilot program with The Joyful Horse
Project (a 501c3 charity). On the weekends
U.S. Veterans came out to work with horses
that were being rehabilitated from abuse
I was there to help the veterans get to
where they could catch the horses and work
with them safely. Working with the
veterans helps give the horses a sense of
purpose and gets them in a
better frame of mind for placement into
new homes. It's a perfect blend really and
it's amazing to see the changes in the
both the veterans and the horses.
...Watch the video about this project on
my YouTube Channel:
Beth Rand of The Joyful
Horse Project comments on the album
has a passion for sharing the cowboy
lifestyle through his music - writing
songs about the West. and on occasion,
from the horse's perspective.
Beck's new song "20 Bucks a Gallon" that
debuts on the Tribute CD is a great
example of humor and honky tonk. but the
record showcases his wide range of
songwriting talent from upbeat American
folk ballads to the bluesy "100 Dollar
Horse." Beck's signature B-Bender electric
guitar and vocals are featured in "Amanda
Come Home" and "Don't Hurt My Heart" and
he closes out the collection with a unique
remake of Canned Heat's "Work Together."
Find the track list and read
our feature about Mike Beck.
Learn more about
and The Joyful Horse Project
here and on
Find more about Mike Beck
and more of his lyrics in our feature
here, and visit
is $20 postpaid. Order
here from The Joyful Horse Project.
Missouri songwriter, poet, and interpreter
of cowboy songs, has another impressive
of the Perilous Trail. It is
Kendrick’s Tales of the Perilous Trail
is a collection of authentic and
traditional songs and stories about the
American Cowboys. As the title suggests,
all have a common theme of moving along,
and the trials, troubles and joy that can
bring. A couple of cowboy songs from the
Carter Family, a Hank Williams classic
that didn't sell, and a discovered gem
recorded by Tex Owens on a Kansas City
radio show in 1936 are just a few of the
highlights of this trail to revelation.
Others are a fresh take on Huddie
Ledbetter's cowboy, Peter LaFarge’s
classic Native American ballad, and a new
song by the Turnpike Troubadours
interpreted with an old perspective.
Subtle work with guitar, tenor guitar,
piccolo banjo and an understated fiddle
help tell the stories. Accompanists on
this true-to-the-spirit collection are
Kendrick's sons Jackson and Samuel.
along with some of Johnny Kendrick's poems
and lyrics. Find the liner notes
www.JohnnyKendrick.com and listen to
the Perilous Trail is $14 postpaid
from www.johnnykendrick.com, or downloads are
is a perfect road trip
soundtrack. It has a generous helping of
memorable good songs in the hands of
talented musicians and the honest,
authentic, and dynamic voice of Rogerson.
Rodeo, horses, love—even
the title's dirt—inspires
these songs. The energy works like a
transfusion. You want to roll down the
windows, turn up the volume, and go.
Jared Rogerson comments that the album, "...
just as the name implies, paints a portrait
of modern day life closely associated with
that most basic component of the American
The album's media release tells more about
the talented singer and songwriter, "Raised
in the mighty Rocky Mountain West, Jared
Rogerson is the product of a generation
learning to thrive in midst of ever-changing
surroundings. His songwriting draws from 17
years of bronc' riding in rodeos and
countless miles traversing the rugged
backcountry on horseback. Then throw earning
a Master's degree in biology into the
repertoire of his
life's experiences and back it with an array
of musical influences from Chris LeDoux to
the Grateful Dead. The end result is a
modern cowboy-flavored vibe lyrically
embellished with character and an honest
edge, and deepened by the unmistakable tone
of genuine experience. Jared calls his
unique sonic blend of contemporary
authenticity, 'Western Country.' It's
Authentic Country Music from the New
See a promo video, "Where Dirt Comes From"
which includes some rodeo footage of Jared
His third album, Dirt is a solid
offering that deserves a wide listening
audience. Like the previous
Love, and Horses, Dirt was
co-produced with award-winning
and Ryan Tilby.
See our feature on Jared Rogerson
Dirt is available for $20
jaredrogerson.com, where there are audio
samples and lyrics.
The main title of
is deceptively spare. Even before you listen
to the dazzling music, the engaging liner
notes draw you into into her world and the
unique experience of the project; you're
listening before a note is played. You
follow her journey and learn how she
came to listen to her own heart in a
greatly healing way. What results are
songs—from blues to ballads that are deep,
moving, exhilarating, and complex—with a
singular passion: the horse.
Along with her own outstanding compositions,
there are collaborations with poets
Waddie Mitchell and
a cover of Mike Beck's
iconic "Patrick"; and the traditional "Stewball."
A "warning" on CD states, "The true horsemen
and women who listen to this album may be
inspired to laugh, cry, and share the word.
Those who do not fully understand may seek
to learn more, and for that, the horses of
the world are celebrating..." In short:
everyone should listen.
Produced by Dave Martin, the music is
flawless. Carolyn Martin joins in on
Harmonies in the title track.
Jeri Dobrowski of
Lamesteer Publishing & Graphics designed the
attractive package, which includes a
photograph by California's
Find the lyrics for the standout "Fly
Without Leaving the Ground," a song
filled with hard-earned wisdom in our
feature about Juni Fisher
She comments that it is inspired by how she
changed the way she felt about riding, and
writes, "It is a gift, now, just riding for
the sheer joy of riding."
Listen (to the horse) is available at
Montana ranch hand, poet, and picker
calls Prairie Song: A Meander of
Memory, a collection of "new and
used poems." It includes over three dozen
new poems and selections from previous books
and chapbooks. There's praise for the book:
poetry brings intimacy and grace to a
wide, wild West. Drawing on a generous
life as a ranch hand, DW's writing
beautifully evokes the poignant moments
and timeless stories of a true citizen of
the shortgrass prairie. Meg Glaser,
Western Folklife Center
There aren't a lot of poets whose work
consistently impresses me-who pen poem
after poem that, in Emily Dickinson's
words, make me "feel physically as if the
top of my head were taken off." But DW
Groethe's poetry does that kind of thing
to me. While reading his words I've felt
my brain do backflips, my knees weaken, my
hands quiver, and my belly button come
undone. And that's not counting the times
he makes me laugh. You'll have to ride
long and hard to round up another poet who
writes about cowboys and the West with the
skill, talent, and artistry that DW does.
So snug up your cinches, screw your hat
down tight, and enjoy this long-awaited
collection of poems. Rod Miller, Spur Award-winning poet
Jessica Brandi Lifland.
As his bio tells, he has "...
been invited to perform his eclectic assortment of poems and tunes at the
Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, two National Folk
Festivals, the Library of Congress, The Kennedy Center…and a whole lot of grand
places all over the West. His poems have appeared in American Cowboy, Cowboy Magazine,
RATTLE, The Cowboy Way, Rope Burns; at
CowboyPoetry.com; and on the Western Folklife Center and National
Public Radio’s What’s in a Song, Ranch Rhymes: Cowboy Poetry and
Music from the Western Folklife Center, and The BAR-D Roundup
from the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry."
Find some of DW
Groethe's poems and lyrics in our feature
Prairie Song is available for
$18 postpaid from DW Groethe,
PO Box 144,
Bainville, MT 59212; 406/769-7312
the organization that pairs recent military veterans and
rescue horses. The CD will be released in May, 2013, with all
proceeds going toward the program.
Master songwriter and musician
Pine Street Girl,
brims with rich lyrics and outstanding performances. There are
solo tracks as well as selections with his band, The Bohemian
Saints,s a showcase of their individual and collective breadth
and range. Even the original songs that have appeared on earlier
releases shine here in fresh and fine renditions.
The eclectic mix flows with traditional tunes such as "Ol' Blue"
and "The Cuckoo"; a standout interpretation of Robert Johnson's
"Crossroads"; Ian Tyson's "Summer Wages"; Mike Beck's songs such
as "Don't Hurt My Heart," "Oildale,"
and "John Steinbeck Drank in Here"; and the sparkling title
track, with a style unique even to the complex writer Mike Beck
(who says it was "fun to write"). Renate Lade adds graceful
harmony vocals to that track.
Find the track list
listen to samples
on CD Baby.
Beck is also working on a forthcoming CD with The Joyful Horse
Project, a collection of songs about horses.
respected horse trainer, Mike Beck has been working with
Find more about Mike Beck in our feature
and visit www.MikeBeck.com.
announces the release of
his latest album of cowboy poetry:
Thirteen tracks make up this new collection, showcasing
original poems by Nash and solid classics by poets such as
, and a few
others, providing a broad sample of the cowboy poetry Terry
delivers at gatherings throughout the West.
The title poem, "December Stragglers", describes real-life
happenings on the high country range where Terry runs his
cattle. "A Cowman's Lot" gives the listener unique insight
into what a cowman sometimes deals with during calving in
the late winter.
The CD was recorded by studio owner and producer Ken Dravis
in Grand Junction, Colorado. On
several tracks, Dravis joins in with backing tracks of
his original guitar work, making for some darn good
some of Terry's poems and more about him
Montana songwriter, poet, and
John Michael Reedy
captures the extraordinary beauty of the ranch in a "gentle
valley in southwest Montana" that he and his family call home.
The impressive photography is accompanied by his poems and
In an introductory piece, he tells
that "this humble ground":
a focal point,
for a creative life.
A place to look
A place to find beauty
that come from knowing a place
Find more about John
Reedy and some of his poetry and lyrics here
at CowboyPoetry.com and visit www.twistedcowboy.com.
See some of the book's photographs and an introduction in
Picture the West.
here from the
publisher, where you can also view the entire book online.
Popular poet and working ranch woman
just back from a return appearance at the National Cowboy Poetry
Gathering, has released her second recording,
Buckaroo Woman Unconfined.
It is described as exploring "...the modern world of the working
buckaroo and the women within it. The stories are further enhanced
by music, taking you to the vast expanses of the Great Basin."
There are 18 tracks of her original poetry and a recitation of Bruce
Kiskaddon's "Bronco Twister's Prayer." Find the title poem
here, along with other
poems, at CowboyPoetry.com and see the
Buckaroo Woman Unconfined
track list here.
JessicaHedgescowboypoetry.com for much more, including her
Buckaroo Woman Unconfined
CD and downloads (and her previous, award-winning
History in The Barn
recording) at her web site,
experiences at various gatherings—are among the inspirations for
poems in his most recent release,
The Great Divide,
as told in the colorful liner notes.
Colorado poet, songwriter, and musician
Al "Doc" Mehl
has countless poet and musicians friends, and some of them
He describes the release:
The Great Divide.
This is Doc's second CD of original cowboy
poetry, and he has previously released two
albums of original contemporary western
music as well.
The Great Divide
includes seventeen tracks of poetry (and,
by golly, that adds up to over 400 rhyming
couplets.), with tracks of brief original
instrumental music woven in between the
spoken-word recitations. Along with Doc's
uniquely "west-clectic" spoken-word
creations, hear Doc himself playing the
guitar and western cello on the musical
interludes, accompanied by Eric
Christiansen on harmonica and Dawn Watson
Al "Doc" Mehl has released
a new album of original cowboy poetry
Find the title poem
more of his Doc Mehl's
poetry here at the
describes his new release,
Saddle Songs of Idaho:
See the entire track list
The Great Divide
is available for $18 postpaid from Doc Mehl;
9140 W. 107th Place; Westminster, CO 80021.
Find more at
lively blend of swing and western music
together with cadenced poetry. From the
opening number all wrapped up in steel
guitar “Tell Me It Ain’t So” to the
questioning “Why’d He Have to Steal My
Boots?” to the mocking electrified style
of “Children of the Mustang Range” to the
penetrating bass line in “A Little South
of Dixie” this passel of musical poetry is
bound to be slightly addictive. You’ll
want to listen again and again.
My third CD Saddle
Songs of Idaho is deeply rooted in my
Gem State heritage. Though each of the
fourteen tracks is based on something that
took place somewhere up north, they all
contribute to describe the colorful mosaic
that is the American West. It was during
the 2011 awards ceremony of the Academy of
Western Artists in Ft. Worth that I heard
western and Texas swing performed live for
the very first time. I came away thinking
that somehow I needed to marry up “that
music” with my recited poetry—seemingly an
odd mix at the outset. Over the course of
the following months I came in contact
with musicians who were recording tracks
of swing and other western musical styles
that just might fit with what I had in
mind. The resulting mix was somewhat
magical. The product of this synthesis is
Saddles Songs of Idaho
Paul Kern's CD,
Rimrock, Where the Memories Rhyme,
was named the top 2011 cowboy poetry CD by
the Academy of Western Artists. He recites
his poem, "At Coddings Place," on
The BAR-D Roundup:
Find some of his poetry and more about him
Saddle Songs of Idaho
is available for $10 from
Award-winning South Dakota poet and fine leather
Between My Horse's
includes 16 original poems. The attractive cover is by South Dakota
poet and artist Bonnie Krogman.
Find a list of the book's contents
here at the BAR-D, where
you can also read about Slim McNaught and find some of his poetry.
Slim McNaught's CD,
was named Top Cowboy Poetry CD by the Academy of Western Artists in
2009. He is the official "Poet Lariat" of the
Live! With Jim Thompson
show. Find more about Slim McNaught at
Between My Horse's Ears
is available for $10.50 postpaid
Slim McNaught, P.O. Box 274, New Underwood, SD 57761;