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See a list of the contents for  all pages on Page 1 of News Since the Last Newsletter


 


Other Books, Recordings, Publications, and News of Western Interest

Find cowboy poetry and music releases here.

Find Rick Huff's numerous Best of the West reviews here and Jeri Dobrowski's Cowboy Jam Session reviews here.

Poets and musicians: Find resources in our feature So you have a new book or recording...

The items below are linked from our front-page news menu, here.

 

 

  Let the 3hattrio take you down trails unimagined with their latest release, Dark Desert Night.

You may have heard stories like those in some of the dusty tales or felt the emotions explored in other pieces, but never quite in this way, with such singular, innovative expression. It is something new and different and compelling. The band, which includes Greg Istock, Hal Cannon, and Eli Wrankle, labels their sound American Desert Music, “...a new genre which responds to the natural world of our sacred homeland near Zion National Park in Utah. We also strive to acknowledge the cultural traditions of the generations who have worked and lived on the deserts of the American southwest...” That hallowed space finds room for trail drives, murder, deceit, love, awe, the blues, and more.

You want to give a listen to this creative collaboration. Their hypnotic music enchants; you will listen over and over.

Find order information for Dark Desert Night and more about 3hatrio at 3hattrio.com.

Posted 12/9




  Award-winning writer and poet Deanna Dickinson McCall's book of stories, Rough Patches, published by The Frontier Project Inc., is a rich collection of compelling storytelling.

A fourth-generation rancher, Deanna Dickinson McCall raised her family without electricity or a telephone on a remote Nevada ranch and is no stranger to rough patches, herself. She draws on her experience, family stories, history, and her expansive imagination to create captivating stories that stay with a reader long after the book is closed.

Settings range from pioneer days to today's West. In introducing one of the contemporary stories, she writes, "In today's world, women work at jobs previously filled only by their male counterparts, and are offered opportunities never dreamed of by earlier generations. Yet, we are not immune to the same downfalls and insecurities that plague men in similar circumstances."

She continues on that theme, "...In many aspects the West is still a frontier to women. The female role differs in rural and agricultural society here, often crossing previously unseen or blurred lines...Women face their own unique adversities, no more or less than men, just different. Regardless of times or circumstances, the West breeds strong women to face these unique issues..."

These close-to-the-bone stories ring with authenticity. Strife and struggle are faced with grit and determination. Sometimes it all comes to disappointment, and sometimes characters prevail. Always, the stories inspire further contemplation for the reader.

Rough Patches, together with Deanna Dickinson McCall's recent highly praised book of stories and poems, Mustang Spring, displays a breadth of talent and inventiveness.

Find some of Deanna Dickinson McCall's poetry here at CowboyPoetry.com.

Rough Patches is available for $23 from: Deanna Dickinson McCall, PO BOX 376, Timberon, NM 88350-0376; www.DeannaDickinsonMcCall.com, and from The Frontier Project and other booksellers.
 

Posted 7/20


 

  Summer of '58, a novel by horsewoman, poet, and writer Janice Gilbertson, tells an engaging and unique story. It's 1958 and Angela's now-divorced father takes her on the summer rodeo circuit. The evocative, nearly cinematic period atmosphere of honky tonks, cafes, motels, and arenas is filled with captivating characters. Readers are transported to another time, but all is not sweet nostalgia; young Angela becomes involved in a murder. The compelling plot makes for a satisfying page-turner.

Find excerpts at Janice Gilbertson's web site, janicegilbertsonwriter.com, where there are also excerpts of another to-be-published novel, The Canyon House; her writer's blog; and order information for her novel, poetry books, and poetry CD. Visit her Facebook page.

Find some of Janice Gilbertson's poetry here at CowboyPoetry.com.

Summer of '58 is available for $17.96 postpaid from: Janice Gilbertson, PO Box 350, King City, CA 93930; kiger@onemain.com. Credit card orders are accepted by the publisher at Pen-L Publishing and the book is available at Amazon.com.

Posted 6/5


 




 

  Shooting Arrows and Slinging Mud; Custer, the Press, and the Little Bighorn by James E. Mueller takes a deep look at the Battle of the Little Bighorn through extensive research into the newspapers of the day, from near and far. He investigates the power of the press, its accuracy, and its affect on the history of the battle, and he contrasts how art and popular culture have contributed to its perception. The readable volume gives new context to the historic events and offers some insight into how modern-day military operations are covered. Illustrations and extensive notes and a bibliography add to the weight of the impressive research.

Shooting Arrows and Slinging Mud; Custer, the Press, and the Little Bighorn is available from Oklahoma University Press and other booksellers.

Posted 6/5

 


 

  Unspoken, by horsewoman, poet, and writer A.K. Moss, is a novel of Western life that will appeal to a wide audience. The author's own working ranch and horse training experience shines through in an intriguing tale of hardship, sacrifice, and courage, the story of a family faced with adversity but armed with determination. At the heart of the novel is a young complex character, Paige Cason, who learns—and teachesabout patience and healing. Readers will be glad to know that Paige returns in a forthcoming sequel, Finding Home.

Find more about A. K. Moss here at CowboyPoetry.com and more about her books at www.akmossbooks.com and on Facebook.

Unspoken is available from www.akmossbooks.com and booksellers.

Posted 5/19
 


 

  Oklahoma University Press offers a compelling, important account of cowboy life in its publication of Jack Bailey's journal, A Texas Cowboy's Journal: Up the trail to Kansas in 1868, edited by David Dary. From the publisher's description:

In this earliest known day-by-day journal of a cattle drive from Texas to Kansas, Jack Bailey, a North Texas farmer, describes what it was like to live and work as a cowboy in the southern plains just after the Civil War. We follow Bailey as the drive moves northward into Kansas and then as his party returns to Texas through eastern Kansas, southwestern Missouri, northwestern Arkansas, and Indian Territory.

In this slim book, the edifying introductory material takes up nearly as many pages as the diary. Editor David Dary's preface tells of the acquisition of the precious piece of history, and offers insightful commentary about the life and times of the author, about whom little is known.

What survives of Jack Bailey's diary gives colorful and exciting views of his experiences on the trail. Recounting one evening in 1868, he transports to reader:

We had the hardest time last night imaginable. I got up at 10 o'clock. Never got off my horse no more until day light. As I predicted we had 2 of the worst kind of Stampedes. The 1st time they made a break about 9 oclock. Run about 1/2 hour. Got them running around in a circle. Dont Sanders on herd with hguard + they manages to stop them. They rested then until about 2 hours before day, then jewhilikens how they run. It was raining, came a loud keen clap of thunder. They turned all loose. It was so dark we couldent see them. Sometimes we were right in middle of herd. You bet they made the ground roar ...

Bailey encounters Indians, Civil War soldiers, and more. He accounts that one day, "Negroe soldiers camped near us. They are resting. They are so fatigued. We are all sympathetic."

Near the end of his diary, he writes, "I have left out some things that I wish I had put in but my paper run short before I got to Kansas. I dont force you to read this so if you dont like it, just lay it down + don't critisize me for I make no pretintions toward writeing or any thing of the kind. Hope it will interest some people."

It will.

Bailey ends with some poetry. The book includes fitting illustrations and a bibliography for further reading.

A Texas Cowboy's Journal is available here here from Oklahoma University Press and from other booksellers.

Posted 10/13


 

A lively collection of essays, a smattering of poetry, and photographs illuminate the lives of today's rural women in Ankle High and Knee Deep; Women Reflect on Western Rural Life, (Two Dot/Globe Pequot Press) edited by Gail Jenner.

The accounts are collected in categories, "Fortitude," "Horse Sense," "Community," "Self-Reliance," "Memory," "Resilience, and "Lessons," where work, family, humor, pain, love, loss, wisdom, and inspiration are a part of the narratives.

Many familiar writers contribute, including Patricia Frolander, Jane Ambrose Morton, Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, Amy Hale Auker, Lyn Messersmith, and others, more than 40 in all. Their stories draw the reader in to a world of of struggles and accomplishments, a world populated by so many articulate and admirable women.

From the editor's introduction:

Concepts that the general public has now adopted, words like sustainability and renewable/recyclable, come to us directly from the life of a farmer or rancher. Working within a landscape that can change with the seasons or alongside the forces of nature that demand commitment and sacrifice develops deep character; interestingly, the word “character” comes from the Greek word meaning “to chisel.” That describes perfectly what living and working in an often harsh physical environment does to the human soul.

Ankle High and Knee Deep; Women Reflect on Western Rural Life is available from booksellers everywhere.

Posted 10/8




  A sumptuous collection of photographs and stories are offered to fans of cowboy artist Charles M. Russell in Charles M. Russell, Photographing the Legend, by Larry Len Peterson (University of Oklahoma Press). The many images and the accompanying text immerse the reader in his life and times.

From the book's description:

Almost as familiar as the images of the American West he painted and sculpted is the figure of Charles M. Russell himself. Standing or mounted, in boots and wide-brimmed hat, sash knotted at his waist, gaze steady under a hank of unruly hair: he is the one and only “Cowboy Artist.” What is not so well known is the story that unfolds in the myriad photographs of Russell, pictures that document a remarkable life while also reflecting the evolution of photography and the depiction of the American West at the turn of the twentieth century. This biography makes use of hundreds of images of Russell, many never before published, to explore the role of photography in shaping the artist’s public image and the making and selling of his art. More than that, the book shows how the Cowboy Artist personified what he portrayed.

The large-format hardcover (328 pages; 344 photograph) of Charles M. Russell, Photographing the Legend, is available from University of Oklahoma Press, here, and other booksellers.

Posted 10/8


 

  Managing to be exotic and grounded simultaneously, the 3hattrio's Year One CD brims with satisfying musical surprises. Hal Cannon, Founding Director of the Western Folklife Center, wrote many of the songs, some in collaboration with band member and multi-instrumentalist Greg Istock. Istock adds occasional Caribbean flavor and dazzling jazz influences. Hal Cannon contributes lead vocals, banjo, and guitar. Eli Wrankle offers his violin and creative influence from his seventeen-year-old perspective.

A "recording blog" by Hal Cannon at the www.3hattrio.com site reports on a day of recording, "This work has an aspect of prayer, beseeching the muses, locating currents of emotion." Hear "Old Paint" as it never has been heard before and eleven additional generous, inspired tracks.

From the album description: "The music on this album is entirely original with the exception of 'Old Paint,' a widely known traditional cowboy song composed on the trail drives after the Civil War by black cowboys. The 3hats' rendition is unlike any other, inspired by the blues ballad tradition. Every song has its story. Hal composed 'Wind' when he was sitting high on Hurricane Mesa singing in harmony with an approaching storm. 'Flight' came in a dream while he camped on the bank of a raging river near Wallowa Lake in Oregon, a few miles from where Chief Joseph is buried. 'Tongues' was inspired by Hal's Crow Indian friend Henry Real Bird, who has spent his life working to preserve his native language. Most of the songs speak for themselves even if sometimes the words aren't in the dictionary but emerge from the haunting instrument that is the human voice."

Find more at the band's web site, www.3hattrio.com, where there are "musical morsels" and track samples for listening. A digital download ($9) and a CD ($15) are available: http://3hattrio.bandcamp.com/releases.

Posted 8/29


  In her new book, Tales of the Frio Canyon; Stories of the Texas Hill Country, ranch-raised Texas poet, chuckwagon cook, writer and regional historian Linda Kirkpatrick spins fascinating stories and collects rare photographs from the Texas Hill Country that she calls home. There are wild hog hunter tales, Texas Ranger mysteries, profiles of early cowboys and ranchers, outlaws, movie stars, ghost tales, and more. Some of her poetry and that of others is included.

Author Mike Cox comments, "...Linda is a natural storyteller. She offers some takes that have never before seen print, and adds new details to others. The result is an excellent work of local history and folklore that is both fun to read and a good source of information for future researchers."

The handsome book was produced by Jeri Dobrowski's Lamesteer Publishing and Graphics.

Find more about Linda Kirkpatrick in our feature here.

Tales of the Frio Canyon is available for $20 postpaid from Linda Kirkpatrick, PO Box 128, Leakey, Texas, 78873, and from her "Somewhere in the West" blog, somewhereinthewest.blogspot.com.

Posted 10/30


  A line from "The Cowboy's Lament" gives a title to Rod Miller's new novel, Cold as the Clay. The story grabs the reader on the first page of the prologue and never lets go. The suspenseful tale shines with authenticity in its sparkling prose and fully realized characters.

The book is described, "Orphaned, homeless, and on the verge of manhood, Wilson Hayes finds refuge in the employ of powerful rancher Jesse Longmore. Cowboy skills, tenacity, and grit propel the young man's rise to a powerful position on the Fishhook Ranch and membership in the family--but Longmore's belief that he has become a threat results in his driving Hayes away and into the uncomfortable company of an outlaw band and a rival rancher..."

Rod Miller characterizes the story as, "a re-telling of the biblical story of King David set on an Old West ranch." Read more about that in an illuminating author interview here on writer Tom Rizzo's blog for October 1, 2013.

Born and raised in Utah, Miller is the son of a working cowboy who spent his youth working with cattle and horses. He competed as a bareback rider in high school, college, and professional rodeos throughout the Intermountain West.

He has contributed a number of essays on the art and craft of poetry to CowboyPoetry.com. He has given poetry workshops and lectures at numerous places and judged many poetry competitions. He is a widely published poet whose work has appeared in several anthologies and numerous periodicals. He is author of a collection of poetry, Things a Cowboy Sees and Other Poems, and a chapbook of poems, Newe Dreams. He also writes book reviews and magazines articles for a variety of periodicals, has published short fiction in several anthologies, and is author of four novels and three books of nonfiction.
Miller is membership chair for the Western Writers of America and a former board member.

Find more about Rod Miller in our feature here and visit www.writerrodmiller.com.

Cold as the Clay is available in paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble at $13.89 plus shipping. The novel is also available in a Kindle edition at $4.99.

Posted 10/2


  Award-winning writer and working ranch woman Amy Hale Auker's new novel, Winter of Beauty, eloquent and relevant, sweeps readers into the world of the cowboys, their families, and others who populate the remote Tinaja ranch. The story rings true to the bone. One cowboy is even invited to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

From the publisher's description:

Winter of Beauty tells the story of the men and women raising beef and families far off the highways in a seemingly antiquated lifestyle while facing contemporary problems. As Bride Mountain changes her clothes with the seasons, the people down below seek beauty and belonging, drink coffee and tequila, work and play and live and love.

Top cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell comments on the book:

Amy Hale Auker has found her own voice with which she has created a refreshing style of storytelling. It is obvious she has a broad understanding of the politics and traditions of a ranch. It is also obvious she loves the West. She stays spot on with the cycles, moods and language that have evolved within the ranching community. Her characters have the recognizable traits of folks from the same lifestyle and heritage. I tasted the food and the pain and the cold and the friendships. Winter of Beauty will stand the test of time.

Find more about Amy Hale Auker and her writing in our feature here and visit amyhaleauker.com.

Winter of Beauty is available in a special author's edition for $15 postpaid from amyhaleauker.com; available in October, 2013, also from the publisher, Pen-L Publishing.

Posted 8/14


  Over nearly two decades, artist and photographer Lynda Lanker collected images and stories of 49 ranch women and working cowgirls. Those impressive visual and written portraits are collected in Tough by Nature: Portraits of Cowgirls and Ranch Women of the American West.

In a description of a current Tough by Nature exhibit at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Lynda Lanker is quoted from her preface to the book:

I didn't go out there to prove that their lives were so different from those of the women I knew or the cowboys we thought we knew; I started to discover that they were. There were at least as many of the female cowhands and ranchers who were doing the same work as the men but they had mainly been portrayed as rodeo queens in tight satin shirts with lots of sequins and fancy boots. I wanted to go deeper and show the true women instead of the stereotype. I hope people come away from the exhibition feeling the ruggedness, the beauty, and the cultural tradition of this life, for this ranch life, long romanticized, is harsh and makes one tough by nature. What these women and their families are doing is admirable. They have made an indelible imprint on the American landscape.  

The book includes a foreword by Larry McMurtry, an introduction by Sandra Day O'Connor, and an afterword by Maya Angelou ("...I was happy to meet these cowgirls, and I would by happy to call them and Lynda Lanker sister friends, because I am proud of their fortitude.")

The lives of these women (including poet and "cowboy" Georgie Sicking) are vivid, varied, and deeply interesting. Though it looks like a beautiful "coffee table" book, it is far more than that, rich with history and the grit of women who make and have made their own ways in a challenging world. Lynda Lanker's own story of the project is a testament to strength; she, too is "tough by nature."

Find images from the book, purchase information, and more at LyndaLanker.com, on Facebook, at the publisher's site, Oregon State University Press, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 5/6


  Oklahoma writer and poet Chimp Robertson's latest book is Tall Tales and Short Stories: A Family Legacy. From the Amazon description:

...The lives of true cowboys are colored into this account of four generations of a family that lived, enjoyed and overcame the hardships of working on the ranges of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. It is compiled for the appreciation of all who have been cowboys or have ancestors whose lives were enriched by cowboy life. This book opens the corral gate beckoning to the young ones who feel the calling to live in an honorable, hard-working and determined commitment to life that few find nowadays. Enjoy the hardscrabble humor, sweat and endurance of those who have preceded us in this great adventure of the American West.

Find some of Chimp Robertson's poetry and more about him here at CowboyPoetry.com.

Find order information for Tall Tales and Short Stories: A Family Legacy at Amazon.

Posted 5/1


  Historian, writer, and performer Mark Lee Gardner's latest recording, Outlaws: Songs of Robbers, Rustlers, and Rogues is described as "A saddlebag of famous and lesser-known outlaw ballads from America's past, performed by noted Old West historian and author Mark Lee Gardner. Five bonus tracks include several of Mark's original clawhammer banjo tunes."

He comments on the CD, in part:

I first visited Jesse James's St. Joseph, Missouri, home when I was a small boy. Advertisements for the popular attraction tempted tourists with the tantalizing slogan, "See the Bullet Hole." I saw the hole, but I know now that it was not made by the shot that killed Jesse—that the bullet never left his head. Nevertheless, I've been chasing outlaws and bullet holes ever since.

Most of the songs in this collection reflect not only how we romanticize outlaws, but what a significant place they holdand continue to holdin the American consciousness. The truth, of course, is seldom as much fun as the myth. Most outlaws were stone-cold killers, and none stole from the rich to give to the poor...

There are songs about John Hardy, Sam Bass, Jesse James, female outlaws, Mark Twain, and others. Several songs are about Billy the Kid (including a Bob Dylan cover) and he has put Phil LeNoir's poem, "The Finger of Billy the Kid," to music. Mark Lee Gardner is known for his music performances of historic playing styles on vintage instruments. His frequent performing partner Rex Rideout is heard on the CD, as are Skip Gorman and Vance Gardner.

Mark Lee Gardner is the author of To Hell on a Fast Horse: The Untold Story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett and the forthcoming Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West's Greatest Escape

He also edited Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys, which is accompanied by a CD recording performed by Mark L. Gardner and Rex Rideout. See our feature on the book here.

Mark Lee Gardner recites Jack Thorp's "What's Become of the Punchers" on the first volume of The BAR-D Roundup.

Find Outlaws: Songs of Robbers, Rustlers, and Rogues, at CD Baby and find more about Mark Lee Gardner and his work at www.MarkLeeGardner.com.

Posted 2/19 

 


 

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