Below we list some Christmas Picks of items released in 2007.
See last year's picks here.
Current Christmas poetry, news, and more is posted here.
Visit Christmas at the BAR-D, our daily Christmas celebration, where we add new poetry, news, and features daily during the season.
(See a list here of all the items released in 2007 that have been mentioned at CowboyPoetry.com.)
The perfect gifts...order by December 15 to ensure delivery by Christmas.
We'll be glad to enclose a gift card for you.
A Special Year-end Message
This past year, did you find something at CowboyPoetry.com that interested you? Did you visit for poetry, news, event information, features? Was your own poem included at the BAR-D? Was your local gathering announced, or were you a part of a gathering report? Did we share your news with our many readers? Your support is vital.
'Tis the season.
If you enjoy features such as Christmas at the BAR-D, there's no better time to show your support.
All that happens at the BAR-D is made possible by the essential contributions of generous supporters: CowboyPoetry.com; Cowboy Poetry Week and its annual Western art poster; The BAR-D Roundup compilation CD; and the Rural Library Project that distributes posters and CDs to rural libraries. We've received generous donations of $10 and donations of $1000; and we are grateful for them all.
Become a supporter, make a tax-deductible donation, perhaps in memory of someone who treasured our Western Heritage: Make a difference.
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As in all journalistic endeavors, no editorial preference is given to financial sponsors or supporters.
Some recent books, recordings, magazines, and art we'd be glad to find under the BAR-D Christmas tree...
2007 cowboy poetry picks
2007 Western music picks
More from 2006
2007 Cowboy Poetry Picks
Open Range; Collected Poems of Bruce Kiskaddon by Bill Siems
Pieces of the Past by Yvonne Hollenbeck
To Be a Top Hand by Georgie Sicking
Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day by Ross Knox
Full Nelson Shoeing by Andy Nelson
Pat Richardson Strikes Again with Duckin' the Law and Many More by Pat Richardson
JB — the circle, edited by Duward Campbell and Chuck Milner
Blazin' Bloats & Cows on FIRE! by Baxter Black
2007 Western Music Picks
It's Just a State of Mind; Live at Tales from the Tavern by Dave Stamey
Christmas for Cowboys by Wylie Gustafson
Every Horse I Ever Rode by Kevin Davis
Twisted Vignettes by John Reedy
What A Man's Got To Do by Brenn Hill
Oklahoma...Where the West Remains! by R.W. Hampton and others
And more from 2007...
Working the West by William Matthews
How to Yodel; Lessons to Tickle Your Tonsils by Wylie Gustafson
"After the Burnt Biscuits" and "What Tully Said" by Rod Miller
Deep West Videos by the Western Folklife Center
Rancher: Photographs of the American West by Carl Corey
Thanks for the Rain by Bob Petermann
Always great gifts:
The perfect gifts...order by December 15 to ensure delivery by Christmas.
You can listen to sample tracks at Amazon from Volume 1 and Volume 2) and read more the CDs of classic and contemporary poetry here at the BAR-D.
We'll be glad to enclose a gift card for you.
Support the BAR-D!
'Tis the season.
If you enjoy features such as Christmas at the BAR-D,
there's no better time to show your support.
2007 Cowboy Poetry Picks
The official release of Bill Siems' long-awaited volume, Open Range; Collected Poems of Bruce Kiskaddon, was announced at an exciting session at the recent Western Folklife Center's 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Surely the most important contemporary cowboy poetry book publication in recent times, this monumental 600-page work includes Bruce Kiskaddon's entire poetic output (481 poems); extensive illustrations (including 323 line drawings by Katherine Field, Amber Dunkerley, and others); biographical and historical introductions; prefaces by Hal Cannon, Waddie Mitchell, and Lynn Held; rare photographs, and more.
The collection, which Bill Siems has worked on for over four years, follows his impressive 2004 book, Bruce Kiskaddon, Shorty's Yarns, the first collection of Kiskaddon's short stories. See our feature about Bruce Kiskaddon here, and our feature about Shorty's Yarns here.
Read Jeri Dobrowski's Cowboy Jam Session column here for additional information about Open Range.
After the outstanding session about Open Range at National Cowboy Poetry Gathering—which included recitations of Kiskaddon poems by modern master reciters including Joel Nelson, Randy Rieman, Ross Knox, and others—a nearly block-long line of people queued for the opportunity to have Bill Siems autograph copies of this important work.
Open Range was produced in a numbered, limited edition of 300 copies and 26 leather-bound books. The leather-bound books have all been sold, but some copies of the hardcover limited edition remain.
Read more about Open Range, view excerpts and the table of contents, and find order information at the Open Range web site.
Western Music Association
Top Female Poet
2006 and 2007
Pieces of the Past, a new CD from South Dakota's Yvonne Hollenbeck pays tribute to the lives of pioneer women. Yvonne is the Western Music Association (WMA) Female Poet of the Year, and as the CD title hints, some of the poems draw on another of her celebrated talents: her quilt making and her knowledge of the craft's history. Enriching the fabric of the project, the CD weaves kindred songs among the poems from award-winning Texas singer and songwriter Jean Prescott.The poems flow into the songs, and the entire effort results in a fresh and warm wholesomeness. It is the voice of the Heartland, with an emphasis on the "heart."
There are new poems, as well as favorites such as "The Red Geranium" (often recited by Red Steagall), "The Christmas Quilt," and "The Old Home Comfort Range." Two of the songs are collaborations between Jean Prescott and Yvonne Hollenbeck, including the award-winning "How Far is Lonesome," which received the 2006 Best Collaboration of Poet and Musician award from the Western Music Association (WMA) and "Her Feet Would Rock the Cradle." Jean sings the works of other top songwriters, too, including Andy Wilkinson and Steve Spurgin. See the entire track list here
The selections will please both regular fans of both of these top artists, as it will those who have the opportunity to view Yvonne Hollenbeck's traveling trunk show, Five Generations of Quilts. The show includes her family quilts and stories and poems inspired by her ancestors and other pioneer women of the Plains. The show has been offered at many venues, festivals, and cowboy poetry gatherings, including the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, Wet Mountain Western Days, the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and the Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival.
The stunning CD package design—both inside and out—by Jeri Dobrowski incorporates quilts from the unique show. Yvonne has won countless awards for her quilts, including ribbons and "best of show" honors. As the liner notes tell, the interior quilt images, with their fine stitching, are "the reverse of Yvonne's masterpiece, 'Pansies for Mama.' Done entirely by hand, it was created as a tribute to her mother, who taught her to quilt and who loves pansies. It is comprised of 5,600 pieces and took 17 months to complete." The cover's crazy quilt "dates to 1900. The initials stand for the maker, Matia Hanson, Yvonne's great-grandmother. Matia emigrated from Norway as a young bride, settled on a Campbell County, South Dakota homestead." Even the disc is decorated as carefully as the quilts are stitched, with its treasured family thimble and antique scissors displayed on a handmade quilt.
The CD is available for $18.50 postpaid from Yvonne Hollenbeck, 30549 291st Street, Clearfield, South Dakota 57580, 605/557-3559, www.YvonneHollenbeck.com.
Cowboy (a term she prefers), rancher, poet, National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductee, and Western treasure Georgie Sicking has a new CD, To Be a Top Hand. The CD includes her recitation of fifteen of her original poems, and Gail I. Gardner's "Moonshine Steer" (see the complete track list here).
A quote from Georgie appears on the back of the CD, "To be a cowgirl is more than just fluff and stuff. You have to do your share of the work, kill your own snakes, never complain, mount up even when you know you may get bucked off, and all the while being more of a lady at work than when you are at home."
A real cowboy, Georgie Sicking earned the title and the respect with hard work and unflagging determination, and she raised a family while doing it. Horseback since age two, she has been honored by the Nevada Cattleman's Association for having spent "100,000 Miles on Horseback."
Georgie Sicking, now 86, was invited to the first National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, has returned many times since, and is again an invited performer in 2008.
Read more about her and some of her poetry in our feature here.
To Be a Top Hand, produced and recorded by Andy Nelson, is available for $18 postpaid from Georgie Sicking, PO Box 11, Kaycee, WY 82639.
Poet, traditional reciter, and storyteller Ross Knox' new CD, Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day, includes classics and his original poetry, an impressive showcase of the best of the hundred-plus poems he has committed to memory. Ross Knox was an invited performer to the Western Folklife Center's first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985, and been featured at almost every gathering since. He will return for the 2008 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
Ross Knox—cowboy, horseshoer, and mule packer—was raised on a small cow outfit in Central Oregon, and left home when he was about 16, headed to Northern Nevada and later to Yellowstone. The CD liner notes tell that he was inspired by Gail Gardner's "The Sierry Petes" and "The Dude Wrangler, and "began writing poetry as a young ranch hand because it was a way to occupy his time when he was alone for three months at the Juniper line camp of Idaho's YP ranch." He has cowboyed across the West and spent 15 years as head packer at the Grand Canyon, longer than any other packer (an estimated more than 40,000 miles into and out of the Grand Canyon) mainly to supply the Phantom Ranch. He now works for the Saguaro National Park packing supplies into the Manning Camp for the fire and trail crews.
Most of the 15 tracks are introduced with Ross Knox' engaging stories, and the cuts include his recitations of classics by S. Omar Barker ("Bear Hunters Bold"), Bruce Kiskaddon ("When Buck Conners Rode Rep for the Lord," "Silver Bells and Golden Spurs," The Old Nighthawk," and "The Long Eared Bull"), Curly Fletcher ("The Flying Outlaw"), D. J. O'Malley, "The D2 Horse Wrangler," and Robert Service, "The Cremation of Sam McGee"; modern "classics" by Joel Nelson ("Charles Goodnight's Dream") and Baxter Black ("The Legacy of a Rodeo Man"); four of his own poems, "Memories," "Man's Best Friend," "Easy Chairs and Saddle Sores," "The Final Ride of Freeman McBride"; and more.
Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day is available for $18 postpaid from Ross Knox, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail, Tucson, AZ 85730.
"Strike" and "duck" and "Pat Richardson" have probably been used in the same breath more than once. The title of Pat Richardson's new CD, Pat Richardson Strikes Again with Duckin' the Law and Many More, gives a good warning of what is to come in this collection of 16 previously unrecorded original poems (two are by his brother, Jess Howard, and there is one collaboration by Pat and Jess). "Original" is the right word for Pat's work and his muted, deadpan delivery. He has no match when it comes to humor, and no reciter doing his material (something he discourages) can reproduce the hilarity of his powerful, side-splitting affect on audiences.
Known as "the bad boy of cowboy poetry," Pat Richardson's newest CD is full of the poems that deliver on that promise. No one is safe and nothing is sacred, with most of the pointed jabs directed at cowboys—or himself. What makes him such a pro is that he's not just funny, he is also a master of metaphors, colorful adjectives, meter and rhyme, and, full of surprises. He works harder than most on the editing and refining of his work. His friend Baxter Black, however, may not have been referring to that when he commented, "If you boiled cowboy poetry down to what's worth savin', this is what the stew would smell like."
"A Friend in Need" is an example of twisted cowboy compassion, "Cowboy Logic" is a look at the breed from women's point of view, "Henry the Cook" evokes the same sort of graphic groaners and descriptive assaults on the senses as Pat Richardson's infamous poem, "The Donner Party." Long-time fans will welcome another Benny Meyers story ("The Lover") and another assault on his friend and frequent target, popular North Dakota poet Rodney Nelson ("Repulsive Trophy").
"Bigfoot," which will be included on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 3 (2008) from CowboyPoetry.com, is an inventive and wacky windy about the creature who shows up at the cabin door with a splinter, which the narrator pulls out with his shoeing nippers. Bigfoot speaks with a lisp. "Mississippi gave him problems with all the esses it contained, and he'd dribble little spitballs on his fur; I tried tongue depressors, enemas, and books by Baxter Black, but I never seemed to come up with a cure." The rest of the story is as unpredictable as the poker hands the beast draws.
Jess Howard's comical and inventive "Uncle Ned" is a story out of the brothers' colorful and dysfunctional family, the rich source for a number of Richardson/Howard tales, and Jess Howard's "Duckin' the Law" is a frequently-requested favorite of audiences. A strange sibling harmony makes the co-written "Zeke and the Bull" sing in its own outrageous strangeness. As a bonus, the real music comes from another generation, in introductory and final music by Pat Richardson's talented grandson, Brandon Richardson.
Pat Richardson comes across so comfortably reciting and introducing his poems, that he makes a listener feel like they are sharing barstools in some friendly, broken down cowboy saloon. Pat spent plenty of time in such places. He was born and raised with livestock, he rode colts, rodeoed, cartooned for The Pro Rodeo Sports News, and did his share of ranch work. He's an impressive artist and has produced other award-winning CDs and his book, Pat Richardson Unhobbled, Cowboy Poetry, Stories, and Outright Lies received the Will Rogers Medallion award.
These days he's found at the top gatherings and events, and is a frequently invited performer to the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. When you're not in his audience, Pat Richardson Strikes Again with Duckin' the Law and Many More is the newest, next-best-thing to being there.
Pat Richardson Strikes Again with Duckin' the Law and Many More is available for $18, postpaid from Pat Richardson; 562 Breeze Avenue; Merced, California 95348; 209/722-4612; www.PatRichardson.com.
Western Music Association
Top Male Poet
Andy Nelson's newest CD, Full Nelson Shoeing, is a perfect showcase of his talents. The CD is filled with poetry, "politically incorrect short poems," and some of the humorous commentary that keeps him in demand as an emcee--some recorded with live with audiences. Some poems are backed up by the impressive musical talents of Rich O'Brien, and there's the occasional "just right" touch of sound effects. Material ranges from contemplative to knee-slapping. Best known for his wild humor, and the majority of pieces tilt in that direction, there are also poems that show Andy Nelson's more serious side, with an emphasis on the things that are most important to this well-liked performer: his family and his way of life. (His oldest son, Dylan Nelson, shares the stage on "That's Not What I Said.") The well-designed package includes comic cover art by acclaimed cartoonist Daryl Reed and excellent photography by Stuart Johnson.
Andy Nelson was recently named the Western Music Association (WMA) Male Poet of the Year. He is also the co-host of Clear Out West (C. O. W.) radio, with his brother Jim Nelson (who likes to describe himself as "the better looking half of the full Nelson").
You can listen to the title track, "Full Nelson Shoeing," at Andy Nelson's web site, where you can listen to other tracks from his previous CDs, find his schedule, and order Full Nelson Shoeing for $18 postpaid from www.CowpokePoet.com, PO Box 1547, Pinedale, WY 82941; firstname.lastname@example.org.
An impressive volume of poetry by J. B. Allen (1938-2005), JB — the circle, has been published by Dry Camp Press. The book includes 65 poems, in chapters titled "The Tribe," "The Usin' Kind...or Not," "Bits of Life," and "Speculations."
J. B. Allen had been involved with the creation of the book, and his comment about its making are included as an introduction: "The editing process continues to be somewhat controversial between myself and those who graciously undertake the chore. Words and phrases commonly used by those of my acquaintance, now and in the past, are cause for some consternation in others attempting to render the poems understandable to those outside the Texican tribe of cowboys ....This set of poems, written over a period of fifteen years, contain personal experiences, stories gleaned from old times, and a few, evidently, originating from ethereal revelations. Three cowboys, who also happen to write, were consulted as to content, spelling and word use. This offering is the result of their suggestions, some of which were heeded."
Insightful pieces by J. B. Allen's daughters open the book, and a chapter called "The Circle" includes moving recollections and heartfelt commentary from his friends Joel Nelson, Chuck Milner, Randy Rieman, Red Steagall, Gail Steiger, Tom Sharpe, Waddie Mitchell, Duward Campbell, and others. Throughout, noted artist Duward Campbell's striking paintings and drawings complement the well designed book.
The book was edited by Durward Campbell and Chuck Milner, and designed by Wayne Beadles, Duward Campbell, and Mark Hartsfield,
The book complements the 1997 collection of J. B. Allen's work, The Medicine Keepers, which was designed by Mark Hartsfield and Duward Campbell and edited by Andy Wilkinson, with an introduction by Buck Ramsey. The Medicine Keepers received the prestigious Western Heritage Award for Poetry from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
JB — the circle is available for $25 postpaid from Duward Campbell, 2515 Second St, Lubbock, TX 79415.
America's best-known cowboy poet, Baxter Black, has a new double CD, Blazin' Bloats & Cows on FIRE!. From the official description:
This double CD set is Baxter's latest audio collection of cowboy poetry and tall tales taken from his book by the same name. The title should give you a clue that it's not about the lonesome pine, the Red River Valley or the cattle call, unless they are on fire, flooded or stampeding like lemmings!
It includes favorites such as "Women Wearing Chaps," "Sixty Foot Rope," "Blazin' Bloats," and "Lucky to be an American."
It also features never-before-recorded versions of Baxter Black classics not found in the book, such as, "I Know You'll Miss This Man," "The Flag," and "Cowboy's Document of Contrition." Many selections were recorded at a live performance...over 2 hours of cowboy hilarity!
Visit Baxter Black's web site for the entire track list. You'll find Christmas specials and many features at the site, including an audio message from Baxter himself.
See information about all the cowboy poetry books and recordings released in 2007 and mentioned at the BAR-D here.
2006 Western Music Picks
Western Music Association
Top Songwriter and Top Male Vocalist
It's Just a State of Mind; Live at Tales from the Tavern, is the next best thing to being at a Dave Stamey concert. Recorded live at California's Taproom at Firestone Walker with top-quality audio, the CD captures all of the energy of Dave Stamey's performances, and includes some of his best and best-known songs, such as "It's the West," "Buckaroo Man," "Montana," "If I Only Had a Horse," "The Bandit Joaquin," and eight other songs. The lively recording showcases the breadth of his diverse work, his skillful songwriting, his off-beat humor, his serious scholarship, his dazzling musicianship, and his love of the West. The recording leaves no question about why Dave Stamey has received so many top awards (including the 2007 Western Music Association (WMA) Top Songwriter and Top Male Vocalist, and the organization's 2006 Entertainer of the Year, and others).
Christmas for Cowboys by Wylie Gustafson (of Wylie & the Wild West) brims with singular spirit. The thoughtfully chosen traditional songs are delivered with inspired reverence, dazzling style, and, of course, a bit of yodeling. Wylie's masterful interpretations of familiar and lesser known songs shine with the true joy, grace, and meaning of the season. Selections include "Go Tell it on the Mountain," "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," "Silent Night," "In the Bleak Midwinter," and six others (see the entire track list here). At Wylie's web site, you can listen to track samples and find order information for Christmas for Cowboys.
Oklahoma singer and songwriter Kevin Davis has an impressive new release, Every Horse I Ever Rode, that's "pure cowboy." Produced by top songwriter Luke Reed, whose song is the title track, the CD also includes two other of his works, Kevin Davis' original songs, and songs by Red Steagall ("Underneath a Wide Texas Sky"), Roger Brown, and Clay Baker. Some outstanding musicians back up Kevin Davis , including Ginny Mac and Dave Alexander, and it all makes for one of those rare CDs you find yourself listening to again and again.
Every Horse I Ever Rode is $16.50 postpaid, available from: Kevin Davis, P. O. Box 131, Walters, OK 73572.
Montana poet, songwriter, and photographer John Reedy has an impressive CD of fresh Americana music, Twisted Vignettes. The CD includes original songs and his renditions of songs by Merle Haggard, Tom Russell and Paul Zarzyski, and others. (See the entire track list here and lyrics for two of the original songs here).
John Reedy's poetry of Western life is collected, along with his photography, in an accompanying book, Twisted Vignettes: Poems and Photographs. (See the contents list here and one of the poems here).
Read more about John and his music and poetry in our feature here.
The Twisted Vignettes CD is available for $13.00 postpaid from www.TwistedCowboy.com; the Twisted Vignettes: Poems and Photographs book is available for $15.00 postpaid from www.TwistedCowboy.com. A Limited Edition Set of the CD and book is available for $25.00 postpaid from www.TwistedCowboy.com.
Popular Utah singer and songwriter Brenn Hill's sixth CD, What A Man's Got To Do is described by the producer:
Like Brenn’s previous albums, What A Man's Got To Do contains songs that speak boldly of life in the modern mountain west, songs punctuated by crisp cinematic imagery and underscored by confident melodies. But while the central themes present in Hill’s other CDs are once again apparent in his new material, What a Man's Got to Do reveals a new maturity in Brenn’s songwriting as he offers his deepest exploration yet of the core values of the cowboy.
See a July 7, 2006 Deseret News article, "For Hill, music centers on the West, horses" by Carma Wadley, which profiles Brenn Hill and includes some of his comments about songwriting and the new CD.
See the entire track list here in our feature about Brenn Hill; visit his web site and for lyrics and samples; and visit his MySpace site, where you can listen to complete tracks from the new CD, and more.
What A Man's Got To Do is available from Brenn Hill's web site.
From the first strains of the overture in Oklahoma...Where the West Remains!, listeners are swept into the state's colorful, vast, and varied history. Created in part in celebration of Oklahoma's 100 years of statehood, the CD is a "journey in story and song," featuring R.W. Hampton, Rich O'Brien, and Oklahoma's Enid Symphony Orchestra.
The inspired production takes listeners along the Cherokee trail, introduces them to cowboys, Native Americans, and Buffalo Soldiers; looks into trail drive, ranching, and rodeo life; celebrates favorite sons including Will Rogers and Bob Wills; and the journey continues, up to the present day. This is no dry history.
R.W. Hampton sets the tone as heintroduces the people and the state, "...made up mostly of folks who were lookin' to be somewhere else... a refuge and melting pot Native Americans, immigrants of all kinds for outlaws, in-laws, former slaves and just about every other group that you can imagine. All with one thing in mind: new beginnings." The tales and songs are compelling, and the whole project is cinematic in mood and vision, treating listeners to a rich and entertaining real Western experience.
Oklahoma writer, musician, and attorney and Oklahoma native Edna Mae Holden—descended from four generations of Oklahoma ranchers— conceived the project. She worked for three years with Rich O'Brien, R.W. Hampton, and Douglas Newell, the Music Director of the Enid Symphony Orchestra, and others to, as she writes, "convert 'Where the West Remains' from a little melody that was just bouncing around in my head." Edna Mae Holden has recorded an album of original cowboy music (These Canyon Walls); published articles in Cowboy Magazine, Western Horseman, and Persimmon Hill; and served on the Working Ranch Cowboys Association board and currently serves on the board of the National Ranching Heritage Center.
The production, chosen as an official Oklahoma Centennial Commission event, includes songs and music written by Edna Mae Holden, Rich O'Brien, R.W. Hampton, Tim Spencer, Cindy Walker, and others (see the entire track list here in our feature about R.W. Hampton). R.W. Hampton delivers the moving narrative presentation and songs, and his entrancing voice is backed up by the music of Rich O'Brien and the Chisholm Trail String Band and the Enid Symphony Orchestra. A highlight of the recording is a new version of R. W. Hampton's award-winning "For the Freedom," performed with the Enid Symphony. (You can listen to the entire song at R.W. Hampton's MySpace site).
A performance of Oklahoma... Where The West Remains was presented November 18, 2007 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The "Where the West Remains" web site has more information about the production.
The Oklahoma...Where the West Remains! CD is available for $20 from R.W. Hampton's web site, where there's additional information.
See information about all the Western music recordings released in 2007 and mentioned at the BAR-D here.
Master painter, designer, and musician William Matthews' (www.williammatthewsgallery.com) sumptuous new book, Working the West, includes 180 color plates of his Western subjects. The publisher describes the book, "Watercolorist William Matthews has long been hailed as the preeminent painter of the American West. In this new collection of 180 staggering paintings, he captures the full range of western experience: endless skies, high plains, the last working cowboys, the Navajo the mystique of the Living Desert. Steeped in introspection and connected to land, tradition, and identity, Matthews' work evokes a place that is authentic, anachronistic, and dynamic."
Matthews has been called today's Frederic Remington. He earns praise from Western Folklife Center Founding Director Hal Cannon, "William Matthews fashions water and color to evoke the billow of a cowboy's shirt at full gallop, the patina of a well-used saddle, the blistering mirage of Nevada. Simply put, he sees the West with new eyes." Cowboy poet and buckaroo Waddie Mitchell comments, "Willy's work is so dead right and real, a buckaroo can see what is beyond either side of the painting."
William Matthews' work has been featured in gathering posters for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, the Southeastern Cowboy Festival and Symposium, and others. He has painted Don Edwards, Randy Rieman, Waddie Mitchell, R. W. Hampton, Wallace McRae, and many other cowboys and ranchers. Some of those images are included in his landmark 1993 book, Cowboys and Images.
Wylie Gustafson of Wylie & the Wild West's new, flat-out fun book and CD, How to Yodel; Lessons to Tickle Your Tonsils, may start an international yodel revolution. Described by the publisher, "World-famous Yahooer and yodeling guru Wylie Gustafson teaches fun and easy lessons in the high art of yodeling, with a big dose of hilarity along the way...," it delivers on all fronts.
The fun starts right away, with the book's "Disclaimer," which reads, "I, nor the publishers of this book, will be responsible for the consequences resulting from techniques used in this book..." with a list including stampeding buffalo, avalanches, marital discourse, tectonic shifts, and "the swallows not returning to San Juan Capistrano." The practical lessons are peppered with amusing and entertaining trivia, fascinating history, wry asides (such as "Where Not to Yodel") and Wylie's answer to "Can Anyone Yodel?" A glossary and list of references are included. The accompanying CD offers step-by-step lessons with 21 tracks that lead from warm up and breathing exercises to music for advanced yodels.
How to Yodel; Lessons to Tickle Your Tonsils, with Robert Paul Payne's comical illustrations, retails for $9.95 and is available from Wylie's web site; the publisher, Gibbs-Smith, Amazon, and other outlets.
Amazon.com describes Amazon Shorts as "never-before-seen short works from a wide variety of well-known authors, available only on Amazon.com."
Rod Miller comments on the story: "The popular classic cowboy poem, Boomer Johnson, by Henry Herbert Knibbs always left me wondering what happened next. 'After the Burnt Biscuits' answers that question. Losing a cook under the sudden and unexpected circumstances described in the poem leaves a lot of gates open, and, as everyone knows, open gates mean trouble..."
A previous Amazon Short by Rod, "Just Like Tully Said", is also available. Rod Miller comments on the story, "Tall tales are a lost tradition in Western storytelling. In 'Just Like Tully Said,' I attempt to recapture the spirit of old-time campfire stories with wit, humor, and suspense. In the story, a likeable, aw-shucks cowboy named Tully fends off skepticism and downright disbelief as he recounts his Wild West adventures to entertain and enthrall his trail drive saddle pals."
Rod, a member of Western Writers of America, has published essays, articles, short stories (many included in top Western anthologies), and a successful Western novel, Galllows for a Gunman. He has been selected as the 2008 Guest Poetry Editor for American Cowboy magazine.
Rod teaches poetry workshops, and more than seventy of his poems have appeared in print since he penned his first in 1997. He is one of Western Horseman's most frequently-published poets. Editor A. J. Mangum comments, "Miller is a cowboy poet with a real handle on his craft...His sense of humor, knack for crafting great sentences and flair for description have made his work some of the best cowboy poetry we've published." Rod is also one of American Cowboy magazine's most-published poets. Editor Jesse Mullins first published Rod's poetry in the mid-90s, and more than a dozen of his poems have been published in the magazine to date.
A number of Rod Miller's essays are featured at CowboyPoetry.com.
See our separate feature about Rod Miller here, which includes some of his poetry and more about his publications.
Two sessions at the 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering screened short films made by ranching families, created for the Western Folklife Center's Deep West Video project. The films, most made by those with no prior filmmaking experience, offer up-close glimpses into the rural and ranch life of the West. The project is in its seventh year, and two DVDs are now available, each including a number of the short films.
Deep West Videos DVDs (2006 and 2007) are produced by the Western Folklife Center's Taki Telonidis and Founding Director Hal Cannon. The official description tells that they feature "... first hand stories rooted in the values of life on the land in first-hand stories of the people of the rural West, living their daily lives on the land. With the tools of digital communication in hand, our filmmakers make simple productions that are relevant, everyday stories of rural life and its values." The collections of short video pieces on the DVDs are accompanied by descriptive notes.
The subjects of the films cover a wide spectrum, all inspired by ranching life. The honest views are often remarkable in both their messages and their presentation. Every film—each in its unique way—speaks to the fragile existence of ranching in the West and each is an important piece of cultural preservation.
On the 2006 video, for example, there are lyrical pieces, such as "Mothering the West," written and narrated by poet and rancher Linda Hussa; "Winter Feeding Workout," a look at a day's work with a light twist by rancher Susan Church; a moving piece of reporting, "The Annual Christmas Program," which takes a look at a small rural community's annual event, and includes a recitation of Yvonne Hollenbeck's poem, "The Annual Christmas Program"; a meaningful piece, "Boot Camp," a portrait of bootmaker Jack Rowin by his apprentice; and others.
The 2007 video includes "Turning to Face the Wind," Jane Morton's film about her family's ranch and the effects of "progress." A photo from Jane's ranch adorns the cover of the video (see that photo and read more about it here). Other pieces on the 2007 collection include Robin Boies' "Highway Mythology," a thoughtful examination of the intersection of the "outside world" with her family's Nevada ranch; "Fifty Years of Brand Inspecting: A Peek at Harry Peter's Job"; "The Burn," a look at the forces of Nature; an unvarnished look at the "Facts of Wife"; and others.
Read more about Deep West Video project and view some of the short films on line at the Western Folklife Center web site.
The DVDs are available for $20 each from the Western Folklife Center bookstore.
Rancher: Photographs of the American West is a collection of striking photographs by Carl Corey, accompanied by the poetry of South Dakota rancher Robert Dennis, with an introduction by respected writer, editor, poet, and ranchwoman Linda Hasselstrom.
Corey "set out to find a place that maintained an identity that could be uniquely defined as the American West." He writes, "I developed an interest in the notion of the West. What is it? Where is it? Is it even still there?" He tells that he found his unique American West on the ranches of the western Dakotas. He comments, "There are pictures of land. There are pictures of people: proud, honorable, very American people—individuals whose land, lives, and lifestyle exemplify and define what was and continues to be the American West."
Throughout the book, the reader comes face-to-face with the real West, in photos rich with context. In her introduction, Linda Hasselstrom comments, "Ranchers are not all alike, but they share certain traits....Their experiences in learning how to live responsibly on this land are braided into chronicles that make their children and grandchildren who we are." The reader comes to know those people, as she writes, "in a way of living that often eludes description in words." They are images to be savored, each for its own story.
Robert Dennis' poetry complements the 100 remarkable color and black-and-white photographs of people and place.
View some of the book's images at VPGallery and find more about the book and order information at the publisher's web site, Bunker Hill Publishing.
Montana rancher Bob Petermann's new "Cowboy Gospel" CD, Thanks for the Rain, includes his original gospel music and traditional selections. Read more about the CD and see the complete track list here.
Bob is scheduled to make a return appearance at the 2008 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Read more about Bob and some of his lyrics in our feature here.
Thanks for the Rain
is available for $15 postpaid from Bob Petermann,
942 Pine Unit Road,
Wibaux, Montana 59353,
Cowboy Magazine is a quarterly publication dedicated to promoting and preserving the lifestyle of ranchers and cowboys, "by, for, and about the working ranch cowboy."
See our feature here. Visit the Cowboy Magazine web site.
$20.00 for a 1 year U. S. subscription (4 issues)
$35.00 for a 2 year U. S. subscription (8 issues)
$50.00 for a 3 year U. S. subscription (12 issues)
P.O. Box 126
La Veta, CO 81055
American Cowboyis published bi-monthly, "...a bold, adventurous magazine that portrays the spirit of the West and appeals to the ever-growing number of Western enthusiasts."
See our feature here.
Visit the American Cowboy magazine web site.
$19.95 for a 1 year U.S. subscription (6 issues)
(free issue and on-line discount available)
Western Horseman is published monthly, "... one of the oldest horse magazines in the world."
Visit the Western Horseman magazine web site.
$22.00 for a 1 year U. S. subscription (12 issues)
Rope Burns is published bi-monthly, with "news from the Cowboy Entertainment and Trade Industry."
See our feature here.
$15.00 for a 1 year U. S. subscription (6 issues)
Subscribe on line
P.O. Box 35
Gene Autry, OK 73436
Visit our daily Christmas celebration, where we add new poetry, news, and features every day during the season.
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