Cowboy Poetry and Western Life

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Gathering Reports
2005

 

Creswell (Oregon) August

 

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August, 2005
Coast Fork Cowboy Festival  Creswell, Oregon

The following reports on the Coast Fork Cowboy Festival, held August 19-21, 2005 in Creswell, Oregon are written by The Creswell Chronicle's Helen Hollyer (reporter, photographer, editor and publisher) and photos are by Helen Hollyer and Danyelle Glendenning.  Our thanks to PJ McCord for arranging for these stories and photos.

The Creswell Chronicle will sponsor the 2006 festival, to be held August 4-6, 2006.  Read more here.

Visit The Creswell Chronicle web site: www.thecreswellchronicle.com

 


Cowboy performers wow Creswell audiences
by Helen Hollyer

Reprinted with permission from The Cresswell Chronicle

 


Photo Helen Hollyer

Sourdough Slim spins a flat loop, dances a cowboy jig, plays the accordion and yodels - simultaneously!  

Despite a disappointing turnout at the first annual Coast Fork Cowboy Festival, audiences were energetically enthusiastic at the Friday and Saturday night performances.

Hay bales, weathered saddles, pairs of well used cowboy boots and Stetson hats provided the appropriate atmosphere on the Creswell High School Commons stage for a stellar cast of performers hailing from Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho and California.

With lower than anticipated attendance, the event appears to have generated enough to pay the performers, but it did not generate funds for art, music and drama programs at Creswell schools.

Although bluegrass music festivals have been held before in western Oregon, the cowboy music event was the first of its kind west of Baker City.  CFCF organizers Dallas and PJ McCord are already working on next year's event.

"The performers were so well received that they are enthusiastic about coming back," said PJ (The Creswell Chronicle's graphic designer Pamela Palmer).  "We had only a few months to plan this year's event, so we were
short of sponsors.  We're already starting to work on next year's festival, capitalizing on our successes and correcting our mistakes."

PJ's husband Roger Brakefield, who performs with her as Dallas McCord, served as emcee.  The McCords are considering moving the festival to a weekend earlier in August so as not to conflict with the Lane County Fair.

Creswell residents for three years, the McCords are passionate about cowboy music and poetry, which have their roots in bluegrass music, not in country music.  Cowboy music employs acoustic instruments such as guitars, bass fiddles, dobros, fiddles, mandolins, harmonicas, accordions, and, in the case of Wayne Nelson, a sagebrush branch with a single string.

"Country music is about cheating spouses, dying dogs and stolen pickup trucks," said Dallas.  "Cowboy music talks about riding the range on horseback, the natural beauty of the landscape and the hard life of the
tough men and women who work on cattle ranches."

(the above story is from the paper's front page, following is the coverage from inside the same edition)



Cowboys conquer Creswell with music and poetry
by Helen Hollyer

Reprinted with permission from The Cresswell Chronicle

If Sourdough Slim hasn't been designated as a National Historical Treasure, he should be.  His performances at the Coast Fork Cowboy Festival last weekend combined physical comedy, self-deprecatory verbal humor and music from the American West.

"I'm glad to be in Creswell," said Sourdough Slim.  "As an accordion-playing, yodeling cowboy in the 21st century, I'm glad to be anywhere."

Actually, in his pre-Sourdough Slim incarnation as Rick Crowder, he lived in the Creswell area for several months in the early 1970s.

"I spent four months out on Camas Swale trying to be a farmer," Slim said. "I rented an old two-story barn-red farmhouse.  The clay soil out there is terrible."

He soon found work at Weyerhaeuser and moved on to Cottage Grove, where he lived for five years, part of the time up Lynx Hollow.


Photo Helen Hollyer

The multi-talented Sourdough Slim mugged; sang; yodeled; played the accordion, harmonica, baritone ukulele and guitar; danced and swung a lariat as he captivated the audience with his self-deprecatory humor.  

"I started out on fire watch, then did high lead logging as a choker setter, second loader on a landing stage, rigging slinger and I bucked up logs with a chain saw.  I didn't do any actual timber falling," he said, "that
requires more skill."

Eventually the multi-talented entertainer hit the trail singing and playing harmonica, baritone ukulele, guitar and accordion.  He has performed in venues ranging from Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York to county fairs.

Although Sourdough Slim was the headliner, audiences appeared to enjoy every minute of the Coast Fork Cowboy Festival, from the first song by the Poodle Creek Pickers on Friday night to the rendition of "Happy Trails to You" by the Cascade Chorus octet at the end of the Saturday night performance.

"I thought it was awesome," said Creswell Chamber of Commerce President Alan Brown, who volunteered at the Friday night performance.



Photo Helen Hollyer

Wayne Nelson's musical talents extend to mastery of an instrument he made from a sagebrush branch and a single string.  Several of his songs described little-known occupations of the Old West, such as the night calver and the stock detective.

The singer-songwriter from American Falls, Idaho, brought down the house with his rendition of "Dad Burned My Dad Burned Guitar," the hilarious lament of a stage-struck wannabe guitar player.




Photo Helen Hollyer

Stampede!'s Terri Taylor, who was dubbed the "Epiglottis Goddess," by Ranger Doug of Riders in the Sky, sang and yodeled her way through Patsy Montana's "I Want To Be A Cowboy Sweetheart."

The Utah Chapter of the Western Music Association named her Female Vocalist of the Year and Yodeler of the Year in 2001 and 2002 and Entertainer of the Year in 2001.





Photo Helen Hollyer

Cowboy poet  AK Moss, who hails from Canyon City, played tribute to Will James, whose classic novels of the old West include "Smoky: A Cow Horse."  Many of her poems relate her own experiences as a working cowgirl. 


Photo Helen Hollyer

The Poodle Creek Pickers' Big Fiddling Sue on the fiddle and Rick Dobson on the dobro.  The five-member group convinced a lot of Creswellians to become "Picker Heads."  

 


Photo Helen Hollyer

David Anderson, an award winning male vocalist with a rich baritone voice, writes songs, sings and plays the dobro and guitar as a solo artist as well as part of the Stampede! trio. 


Photo Helen Hollyer

Sharon "Silver" Glenn and George Thomsen, who perform as Northfork, live in the Cascade foothills west of Yakima, Washington.  They still work cattle on horseback.  


Photo Danyelle Glendenning

Fay Briscoe, the "Queen of the Cowboy Poets," lives in Emmett, Idaho, where she writes poetry honoring the spirit of the West. 

 


Photo Helen Hollyer


Creswell resident and camp cook Hugh Turnball was one of eight members of the Cascade Chorus who dressed as Western characters and performed cowboy songs barbershop style.

 


Photo Helen Hollyer

Creswell's own Dallas McCord, shown here performing "I Just Don't Look Good Naked Anymore" with his wife PJ, served as event emcee. 


Photo Danyelle Glendenning


While Terri Taylor yodeled like a chicken (center), husband Steve Taylor (with the handlebar mustache) strutted and flapped around stage like a rooster.  David Anderson accompanied their antics on his guitar.  



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