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photo © 2009, Jessica Brandi Lifland, www.jessicalifland.com


About DW Groethe
Poems and Lyrics
Recordings and Books
Contact Information

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About DW Groethe:
 

DW Groethe was born and raised in western North Dakota. Along the way he learned to play the guitar and started writing songs and poems about life out West. In 1991 he pulled stakes, moved to Bainville, Montana, and started working as a ranch hand. He has, over the years, 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.  He has recorded three CDs and has four other books of poetry, one of which, West River Waltz, won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in Cowboy Poetry.

 

Poems and Lyrics

One for the Workin' Cowboy
There's a Silence
 Fifty a Day
The Fence
The Great Hay Yard Assault of '04 or The Sad State of Cowboy Job Security
The Funeral
Under the Dim and Nodding Sky
Bent
That Ol' Red, White and Blue
Just Like A Chinook
The Bunny Poem
Pens and Pockets
A Cowboy's Education
My Father's Horses

Let Me Tell You 'Bout Weanin'
When There's Frost Upon the Ponies
Rain
Lady Luck Takes a Break
The Star Cavvy

Over Yonder
The Night Ol' Flukie Foundered

This Old Post
The Legend of Little Buddy the Christmas Steer
Hooves Everlasting
The Coffee Song

Yearlin' Heifers (separate page)

Midnight, Somewheres in August  (separate page)

Two Cowpokes and a Tamper (separate page)

 

One for the Workin' Cowboy

Spoken:
Here's one for the workin' cowboy
Whose souls just can't be penned.
They've been told way more'n once
They just do not fit in.
But that's O.K. they ain't complainin'
An' if you listen to this song
You just might catch their drift
An' maybe even sing along.

Sung:
Wouldn't it be grand ridin' horseback
On the range of long ago.
I tell you boys that's one thing that I know.
To be ropin' and workin' cattle
Up and down the Little Mo'.
I believe for me that's heaven an' some, for sure.
      Ridin' the line when the cold wind blows
      Waitin' for signs of spring.
      Trailin' the herd in at brandin' time.
      Turnin' 'em back again
      Out on the range, you know,
      I'm never gonna change
I want to be sittin', in the evenin',
Round the campfire's fadin' glow.
Wishin' I was a cowboy
A hundred years ago.
      It sure feels fine when the first light shines
      Down through the coulees and draws.
      Hear my heart singin' "Home Sweet Home"
      Out where the coyote howls
      Out on the range, you know,
      I'm never gonna change.
I want to be sittin', in the evenin',
Round the campfire's fadin' glow.
Wishin' I was a cowboy
A hundred years ago.

© 2001, DW Groethe, from Tales from West River
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

DW Groethe told us this song was inspired by an old, old friend, once his dentist, George Hegge, who, in his fifties, left his former life behind. DW says, "He quit, to go cowboying. He told me, 'All I ever wanted to do, all I ever wanted to be is a cowboy.' The song is about what drives a guy."

George Hegge went on to have what is described as likely the largest longhorn herd in North Dakota. Jeri Dobrowski sent an October 22, 2011 article from North Dakota's Bismark Tribune about George Hegge, "A North Dakota Cowpoke's Last Ride," which tells about his ranching life and retirement. 

"One for the Workin' Cowboy" is featured on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday's "What's in a Song," broadcast February 26, 2012.  You can listen to the broadcast here.

"What's in a Song" is an occasional series from the Western Folklife Center "that weaves together a tapestry of American music, one song and one story at a time..." Other programs have included Baxter Black, Mike Beck, Stephanie Davis, Connie Dover, Stan Howe, Tom Russell, and others. Find many of the broadcasts here at NPR and also here at the Western Folklife Center.

 

There's a Silence

     There's a silence that's found
     As a hoof hits the ground
When yer ridin' alone in the night
     An' the dust of the day
     Has settled away
An' yer glad that ol' moon has some light
     Tho you ain't ridin' blind
     Cause yer pony'll find
The trail that leads you back home
     'Sides, yer mind is a driftin;
     Like the blue shadows shiftin'
Thru the sage an' the cedar an stone.
     The breeze heaves a sigh
     Like an' ol' lullaby
An' it all sets yer spirit aright
     In that silence that's found
     As a hoof hits the ground
When yer ridin' alone in the night.

© 2003, DW Groethe, from West River Waltz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Fifty a Day

Fifty a day is a cowboy's pay
It ain't much, tho for some it's enough.
It's not always money
That rides a man hard
Or acquirin' piles a stuff.
There are those who would willingly
Trade it all in
For a chance to go ridin' the herd.
Bein' out in the lonesome
Not feelin' alone --
That's somethin' you can't put in words.
No -- This is one a them things
That money can't buy, tho
They wouldn't say no to a raise,
You can sure bet
They'll give more'n they get
An be happy til the end a their days.
'Cause bein' a cowboy
Is like sayin' "I'm broke."
A purty good chunk a the time.
But broke ain't a shame
It's a part a the game,
Just a fool thinks broke is a crime.
An' for sure it's not sweat
The hours they get
Will sometimes be tired an' long.
But when they hit the hay,
At the end a the day,
What they earned is the sweetest of songs.
Oh, there's always those times
When the best that you do
Simply will not be enough.
There are things in this world
That'll flat make you blue
But that's life an' sometimes it's rough.

Fifty a day a cowboy's pay
More than enough for a few
Who heed not the call
Of that ol' nine to five
An' they'll laugh around broke,
Tired an' blue.

© 2002, DW Groethe, from Tales from West River
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

 

The Fence 

When it comes to vexation and ire
Nothin' gets my dander higher
Than bein' in the sticks
Tryin' to fix
Hun'erd year old strands a wire.
They criss cross in jumbles an' knots
In places God's all but forgot
Hangin' from posts
That gave up the ghost
Way back when Valentino was hot!

You can randomly pick any stretch
Of thirty odd feet an' you'll fetch
Ten distinct types of wire
Twelve knots and a choir
Of whatever the wind lets it ketch.
As a functionin' tool—it's a bust.
There's no metal in here -- it's all rust
That with one careless stare
Will drop from the air
To the gumbo's gray mud cracklin' crust.

A tradition out here every spring,
Says you light out an' fix the damn thing—
Tho' any ol' dope
Can see it's past hope—
You still go and give 'er a fling. 
Soon you'll hitch up two loose ends that's fell
An' click that ol' stretcher until
It's snug tight an' fit
Ah -- You know you should quit
But a little voice says—"What the hell!"—
So you give it just one tiny squeeze
The whole time yer sayin'—"Lord please—
If I can just click one more
You'll see me Sunday for sure—
Heck!—I'm already down on my knees!"—

But a fool and his wire are soon parted
So yer settin' right back where you started—
With a mouth full of cuss
An' words blasphemous—
It's no place fer them that's weak hearted.

And rocks?—
The rocks here a thicker 'n sin
So there's posts that 'r barely sunk in—
The fact that they're there
Proves the power of prayer
Answers many a shaky Amen.
There's willow an' cedar an' steel—
Stone Johnnies—But hey let's git real
In this fencin' game
Findin' two posts the same
In a row—now that's a big deal!

An' when it comes to ranklin' yer craw
Nothin' beats coulees an' draws
When it's hot'r 'n blazes
An' there's nothin' that fazes
The bugs as they chew yer hide raw.
There's no such a thing as just one—
They're like clouds that blot out the sun—
Moskeeters an' gnats
Flies—big as small cats—
That nothin' on earth can outrun.

Eventu'ly you've had enuf fun
An' you end up—back where you begun—
With fingers well crossed
You lie to the boss
"She's like new—I got 'er all done!"
Til next spring when it's time to commence
This time honored ritual nonsense—
What strikes me as odd
Is that cows us an' God
All pretend that the damn thing's a fence!

© 2001, DW Groethe, from Tales from West River
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

 

The Great Hay Yard Assault of '04
                        or
The Sad State of Cowboy Job Security

               

                              We Fix the Fence 
They tear it down 
                              We Fix the Fence 
They tear it down 
We                          Electrify
They                        Leap and fly 
We                          Barricade
They                        Soon evade
An make a new door down the line. 
Ain't        That          Just        Fine!
    'Cause now
We start the whole thing 
    Up again
We chase the cows back out
     An then
                              We Fix the Fence 
They tear it down 
                              We Fix the Fence 
    (Please return to line four.)

© 2003, DW Groethe, from West River Waltz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Since no computer can do justice to the handwritten versions of DW Groethe's work, here's how we receive his poems, and the way the poem above is meant to look:

 

 

The Funeral

A local old timer had quietly passed on
To his eternal reward up on high.
So the day of this service a bunch of us gathered
To give him a final goodbye.
As we entered the church we doffed our hats
Signed the book on the stand by the door
Kinda moseyed on over to see Bud one last time
As he lay in his funeral repose.
We all gandered once an then twice an twice an again
'Cause somethin' was plenty amiss.
We stood scratchin' our heads when finally Ed
Says, "Does anyone know who this is?
A round of "Not me's!" flurried out past the lips
Of the crew that was gathered nearby
an without no exceptions the pervailing preception
Was that none of us knew this here guy.
Then Chuck up and says, "I don't think Bud
Even owned a suit and a tie!
As long as I knew him he always wore bibs,
Blue, of a generous size!
An you boys all know as well as I do
Bud wouldn't be caught dead with no cap.
An need I point out, this fella is bald!
Just a few scraggly hairs on his tap!"
"He's right," Harley pipes, "Take a close look!
Why this fella don't even chew snoose!"
"Check out that tie an' the front of this shirt,
Ain't even one speckle a juice!"
"Whoa!" we all nodded, thinkin' "Son of a gun!"
Still, we hung in there for coffee an pie.
But out on the prairie at the ol' cemetery
We all knew...they buried the wrong guy!

© 2003, DW Groethe, from West River Waltz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Under the Dim and Nodding Sky

Under the dim and nodding sky
   Mid the night hawks' fading skree,
Bend your ear to the rush in the willows,
   That hush you hear is me.
Up through the cottonwoods murmuring leaves
   Down round in a laughing swirl
Hovering close to the warm moist earth
   My whispering fingers unfurl
And lightly gather each blade of grass
   Till at last I come to thee
And brush your cheek with lover's lips
  You can no longer see.

© 2003, DW Groethe, from West River Waltz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

This poem is included in our Cowboy Love Poetry collection

 

 

Bent

      To the wind.
Rough shod.     Gnarled
Hide so leathered up
It was hard to believe he could take
One more lick.
But by God could he.
      Just ask him.
And you did not doubt his word.
His heart burnt twice the fire
Of most men half his age.
And the rest?      Did not count.
     He'd say
"it ain't how many yuh done,
it's how many yuh got left in yuh."
I believed him.
Hell,      I think on it,
The wind      bent to him.

for all the pony breakers

© 2004, DW Groethe, from West River Waltz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

That Ol' Red, White and Blue

My ol’ man was a soldier back in WWII.
My mom was a nurse on a hospital ship
In that same ol’ big war, too.
I remember, as a kid, how they hung out the flag
On a special day or two,
But I was too young to really understand
About that ol’ red, white and blue.

So they taught me how to put my hand on my heart
When the flag passed by in review.
And to take off my hat as a sign of respect
For the things that flag could do.
And that every little thing she stood for
Really stood for me and you.
And hey, every day’s the Fourth of July
For that ol’ red, white and blue.

     Chorus
      Every day’s the Fourth of July
      For that ol’ red, white and blue.
      A tie that binds, a spirit that shines
      And it shines the whole year through.
      And every little thing she stands for
      Really stands for me and you,
      Hey, every day’s the Fourth of July
      For that ol’ red, white and blue.


Well, both of my folks are gone now,
That’s just the way it goes.
You’re here for a while, a tear and a smile,
They left me more than heaven knows.
And all those little things they stood for
They did ‘em for me and you
And hey, every day’s the Fourth of July
For that ol’ red, white and blue.

     Chorus

© 2001, DW Groethe, from Tales from West River
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Just Like a Chinook

She come on strong
and warm
and totally unexpected.
            Just like a chinook
during one a' them
long
hard
spine cracking winters
when even the stones groan.

My spirit quivered.
                  Been a while.
You bury things deep
in a spell like that
and time                      takes time
to thaw feelin's
froze deep as all that.

Quick.
Like a wink.
A brief flurry of dancin'
hand grabbin' romancin'
that settles your heart into spring.
And then's gone.
 
And after one a' them passages
of short
hollow gut feelin's
winter come back    
                        and then softened
like new fallen snow.
Spring snow.
And I knew that I'd make it.
All quite unexpected.
                 Just like a chinook.

© 2005, DW Groethe, from West River Waltz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

This poem is included in our Cowboy Love Poetry collection

 

 

The Bunny Poem

Drivin' through the midnight hour
     Clippin' down the trail,
We was headin' back from Utah
     On the last leg of 'r tale.

Twenty hours ridin' hard
     From down the ol' southwest
We was more'n plenty tired
     An' 'r brains was cravin' rest.

Then we finally hit the Black Hills
     An' the end was nigh in sight
So we caught 'rselves a second wind
     An' flew back in the night.

Now from Belle Fourche up to Bowman
     Is a mighty lonesome haul.
Ain't much to keep you comp'ny
     Sides that hauntin' coyote's call.  

The moon was full upon us
     An' the prairie was aglow
When out the corner of my vision
     Come a scene that froze my soul.
 
There was bunnies in the ditches,
     'Neath the sagebrush, in the air.
There was millions there was billions
     There was bunnies everywhere.
 
Them beady little eyeballs
     Was a glarin' mean an' hard.
I could smell the trouble brewin'
     When the first one rammed the car.
 
Suicidal little buggers
     Was on a lemming kick!
I thought even for a bunny
     This is gittin' perty sick!
 
They careened out on the highway
     Not a care for life an' limb.
We was turnin' furry bunnies
     Into prairie cherubim.
 
They was wrapped around the axles,
     They was gummed up in the tires,
Parts was flipped up on the engine
     On the manifolds an' wires!
 
Others wacked against the floor boards
     After kissin' that ol' bumper,
Now I know why Disney called ol'
     Bambi's bunny buddy Thumper!
 
It was bowlin' in the badlands
     With a strike at every throw.
A bunny Armageddon
     In a P. T. Barnum show!
 
'Til at last they started thinnin' down
     As Ludlow slipped away
An' we crossed that North Dakota line
     In one bunged up Chevrolet.
 
I breathed an everlastin' sigh
     A knowin' that from here
All's we had to worry 'bout
     Was open range an' deer.

© 2005, DW Groethe, from West River Waltz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


Pockets and Pens

The one hard truth of pockets is,
     you never have enough.
Wallet, keys and gadgets.
     there's no end to all the stuff
you cram into your britches,
     your shirt and hat and vest.
You think you're finally settled
     when life puts you to the test.

Let's say you're goin' fencin'
     need some place for the pliers,
a pocket for the staples,
     one for clips, for hangin' wires.
You've got a bit of 'lectric
     that needs some checkin', too,
so a handful of them doodads
     goes inside your kangaroo,

Pretty soon you're lookin'
     like you've latched some new disease
makes you lumpy as the dickens
     from your nipples to your knees

And pens?......Are just big pockets.
     Let's figure combinations,
you find yourself confronted
     with, in weanin' computations.

Heifers that are keepers,
     heifers sold, an' heaven knows
the steers'll need a big one,
     a small for dinks an' those
that look a little ganted.
     An' the cows, you've got a few,
you've should've sold in April,
     now, what you gonna do?

Can't put 'em in the pole barn,
      'cause the buyer just wants black,
so, you planned it for the colors,
     now, you're somewhat took a-back.
'cause you figure you'll be runnin'
     maybe two or three pens shy,
an' you catch yourself a-wondrin'
     just a sorry minute, why

it ain't goin' like you worked it
     in your mind. It's just the pits.
It's the kind of aggravation
     makes you wanna call it quits.
You think it would be simple.
    Not like you're buildin' rockets.
But there's nothin' simple 'bout it,
    when you're workin' pens an' pockets.

© 2006, DW Groethe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

A Cowboy's Education

A cowboy's education,
     purty much, was trial an' error.
For most, the thought of schoolin'
    balked their hearts in abject terror.
But you rarely found a rider,
    or a nighthawk or a cook
That couldn't lose himself inside
     a good, old fashioned book.
If he weren't readin', he was read to,
     a-whilin' away his time,
In volumes chock with learnin',
     high adventure, muse an' rhyme.
Beat an' weathered, as their riders,
     they trailed far, an' then,
From saddlebag to bunkhouse
     they'd make the rounds, again.
Which gets me kinda fig'rin',
     them old cowboys weren't no fools.
Got themselves an education
     'thout goin' to any schools.

© 2006, DW Groethe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

DW tells us this poem was inspired by the Rural Library Project, which is an important part of Cowboy Poetry Week.

 

My Father's Horses

It must've been a day
for peace an' reverie
When my father took a pencil in his hand
an' scribed upon his notebook,
all the horses that he'd had
when growin' up in West Dakota land.

I can see him sittin', thoughtful,
soft smile in his eyes,
As the ponies pranced before him, once again.
Then he jotted each one down,
with a slow an' careful hand.
Sometimes, horses, can count right up with kin.

Tobe, Frank an' Muggins,
Daisy I an' Daisy II,
(his mem'ry felt a breeze that stirred their manes.)
Charlie, Chub an' Pearl
found their way up to the front
an' back once more upon the dusty plains.

Prince I an' II an' Mike
come lopin' lightly into view,
he penned their mem'ries, gentle on the page...
a-waitin' an' a thinkin',
he was missin'...just a few
when Queen an' May neared, nickerin' thru the sage.

An' finally, down the draw,
come Thunder, Buck an' Bill
a'flyin' like the wind an' they was one.
then he eased back in his chair,
contemplatin' all that's there,
his gatherin' of the old bunch was all done.

Yeah...it must've been a day
of peace an' reverie,
in his office, at a desk of metal gray,
when the ol' man made a tally
a-gatherin' up his cavvy,
One last time, a-fore they slipped away.

© 2007, DW Groethe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

DW comments: "Among the many things I inherited from my father was a box of items from his office desk. In it there was a handful of pens and pencils and a small pocket notebook (stapled, not spiral-bound). On the first page he'd written the names of sixteen horses...the horses he'd grown up with back in the twenties and thirties. I wish I could remember all the stories he had about them. As it is, all I have is a page in an old worn notebook and a poem to honor their memories."

 


 

Let Me Tell You ‘bout Weanin

Let me tell you ‘bout weanin’

      and the severin’ of ties

and them cows with their bellerin’ lips fulla lies.

They’ll hang on that gate

      for a day               maybe two

creatin’ a ruckusin’ hullabaloo.

Then on a sudden

      no reason      no rhyme

they stroll away thinkin’,  “Hell, that calf ain’t mine.”

And never again so much utter a moo

      bawler a holler or mutter an oo.

They go back to grazin’ and lollin’ around

      bovinely considerin’ whatever’s profound.

 

If the city’s your home range

      You’d bet this ain’t true.

But that’s what them cows, come weanin’ time, do.

© 2005, DW Groethe, from West River Waltz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

When There's Frost Upon the Ponies

When there's frost upon the ponies
an' snow drift on the ground,
an' that yeller sun comes creepin'
through the cedars all around,
a feller gets to thinkin'
maybe winter ain't so bad,
starts shuckin' off the mem'ries
of the blizzards that we've had.
The squeakin' an' the crunchin'
of yer boots on morning snow,
when dawn's a-risin' easy,
an ol' time's a movin' slow,
makes a feller sorta settled
in the choices that he's made.
How he coulda wandered elsewhere,
now, he's mighty glad he stayed.
Most folks don't understand it,
but he knows just what he's found...
when there's frost upon the ponies
an' snow drift on the ground,
an' that yeller sun comes creepin'
through the cedars all around.

© 2008, DW Groethe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Rain

The workin' crew was ready,
   first calf heifers gathered in,
we'd sorted off their youn'ns
   time for brandin' to begin.
The ropers had their ponies
   all decked out an' set to go,
   cajone cutters, wrestlers,
vaccinators...gear in tow.

Things was goin' smooth as
   honeyed words on whisky lips
till halfway through the brandin'
   someone noticed that the drips
of water that was hustlin'
   from 'r hats an' to the ground
wasn't beads of sweat at all,
   it was drizzlin' all around.

Now, a little bitty sprinkle
   won't up an' put a stop
to a crew that's used to workin'
   ankle deep in dust 'er slop.
But a critter drug thru mud
   you can't hardly brand at all,
so, figgerin' for the worst
  we asked the boss, "Hey, what's yer call?"

He pondered for a minute,
   contemplatin' what to do,
said "If we run 'em in the shed
   we can see this brandin' thru."
The problem with the shed was
   it was filled with tons of stuff...
hayin' stuff an' tractor stuff
   twice the stuff as that's enough!

The calves were on a heyday
   hidin' ever' where in sight.
The crew was on the prowl
   an' the calves was on the fight.
We was brandin' by the balers,
   we was brandin' 'neath the rake,
we was brandin' anywheres
   that ol' brandin' iron 'ld take.

It took a while but fin'lly
   when the chaos was all done
the boss, he made a tally
   an' we hadn't missed a one.
For all the consternation
   not a word was said in vain,
cause cowboys in this country
   never, ever cuss the rain.

© 2007, DW Groethe, from My Father's Horses
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


Lady Luck Takes a Break

He reached to grab his keys,
the keys inside his pocket,
the pocket that was empty
caught him somewhat unawares.

He stared in through the window,
the window of the pickup,
the pickup he'd just driven
twenty miles, haulin' pairs.

Sittin' neat upon the seat,
the seat beyond the door,
the door he's somehow locked up,
lay his only ticket home.

A mist began to sprinkle,
the sprinkle turned to rain,
the rain became a torrent
down upon his Stetson dome.

He let a little sigh,
a sigh that reached his boots,
the boots that started trudgin'
one long lonesome walk back home.

© 2009, DW Groethe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Star Cavvy

Somewhere along the line,
   after years of sleepin' out,
a-layin', lookin' from his soogan bed,
he got to seein' patterns,
   in the way the stars were set,
a-studyin' the Heavens o'er his head.

One outfit to the north,
    was a big ol' letter M.
His first pony'd wore that brand up till it died.
An' a square, not too far off,
     was that blockhead roan he'd rode
up from Texas...fin'lly swapped its on'ry hide.

High on the milky river
     flowin' through the cosmos bright,
was a cavvy shaped exactly like a cross.
The gal who'd stole his heart
     had a sorrel with that mark...
Ahh...a fella shouldn't dwell too much on loss.

His eyes would roam the meadows
     in the boundless prairie skies,
recallin' damn near ever'thing he knowed.
Some was fam'ly, some was folks
     that he met along the trail,
but mostly, it was horses that he'd rode.

Horses in the heavens
     ever'where he set his eyes,
a-runnin' free an' wild, without a care.
Endless pastures in the stars
     kept him warm in company,
knowin', one day, he'd be with 'em, way up there.

© 2009, DW Groethe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

DW comments:  There's no one specific "inspired moment" behind the poem. It's an amalgam of moments and memories of nights spent under the stars. Our saddle club has a wagon train/trail ride every year on Labor Day weekend. I usually pitch my outfit somewhere on the far reaches of night camp so when I tire of the the crowd I can wander off and be alone with the night sky. The wagon train is one of my favorite sources for inspiration. When it all falls together it feels like a hundred years gone.
 


 

Over Yonder

They're a diff'ernt sorta breed,
them that take to horse an' saddle,
restless souls that're mighty prone to wander.
Tho' they're grateful to be reachin'
trails end when day is done,
they're always itchin' for what's over yonder.

Might be it's just a hilltop
That they've never seen before,
gets 'em wond'rin' 'bout what's on the other side.
Doesn't matter what the reason,
for the reason ain't the point,
all they know's they got to saddle up an' ride.

They've a light touch on the reins
an' their spirit knows no bit,
as they ease off lookin' for that someday soon.
Nothin' moves 'em like horizons,
an' you'll never change their ways.
Be easier to rope an' catch the moon.

You're either like 'em or you're not,
it's a basic fact of life,
you prob'ly shouldn't contemplate an' ponder.
Yet, I get this yearnin' feelin',
when I see 'em ride away,
wondrin' what it's like there, over yonder.

© 2009, DW Groethe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

The Night Ol' Flukie Foundered

We'd been quaffin' quarts of beers
an' exchangin' Christmas cheers,
yeehawin' hoots an' shriekin' filled the hall.
'Cause in honor of the season,
an' fer one another reason,
it was time for Smokey's annual oyster ball.

When thru the ol' front door
stepped a stranger, limpin' sore.
His clothes was sad...he looked to have the mange.
Then he broke into a grin
that was catchy as all sin,
"Muh handle's Fluke! An' I'm fresh right off th' range.
I usta be a cowboy,
could rodeo an' howboy,
but I landed once too often on muh head.
So, I quit a-workin' cattle,
a-horseback in the saddle...
an' I roughnecked in the oilpatch, instead.

"But I still likes drinkin' beers
an' nibblin' choice bits of steers,
'specially them parts they miss the most!
An' I gather here tonight,
much to muh heart's delight,
yer servin' both, jes' like a perfeck host.
I ain't one for heavy braggin',
but you could fill a wagon
from end to end an' heaped for all it's worth
with them calf fries, toasted brown,
little beer, help wash 'em down,
boys...I can eat more fries than any man on earth!"

     Whoa...
So, we took 'im on his dare,
an' tol ol' Cookie to prepare
cajones for the Flukie's yearnin' craw.
We went to fillin' up his plate,
he ate an' ate.......an' ate!
Was the dangest thing I think I ever saw!
All at once ol' Cookie cries,
"Boys, I'm runnin' outa fries!
He's et enuf to choke an army down!"
When Pat says, "I know where
there's a fresh retired pair!,"
an' he hies to Murphy's on the edge of town.

Murphy's bull had up an' died,
turned to hamburger an' hide,
an' left behind two monster you-know-whats.
Pat come back with a torpedo,
we though, "Jeez, holy Toledo!"
Cookie tossed the whopper in the pot.
It lurked there in the fat
like some legless, naked rat
till Cookie fine'ly up, declares it done.
Flops it with a splatter
on a turkey servin' platter,
an' brings it out to Flukie on the run.

Ol' Flukie belched a it,
scrunched his nose an' scritched an' itch,
ya knowed his thoughts was way beyond pertend.
He sorta squintered up one eye,
an' let out a mighty sigh,
said, "Move back boys, this just might be the end!"
The tension was unnervin'
as he dived into that servin'
it took both hands to raise it up on high.
Then he opened up his mouth,
an' aimed that oyster south,
my knees went weak, I thought, "He's gonna die!"

Flukie cracked a gnarled grin
up an' slurped that baby in,
I felt so proud I thought I'se gonna burst!
Till it got halfway, an' 'nin,
it started up agin,
an' as they say things went bad to worst!
Like some errant, clueless rocket,
it shot out from his socket,
an' slammed against the bar, an' evil slap,
oozed on down the mirror,
then careened off Flukie's beer,
an' landed up in' Widder Hanson's lap.

"Oh my Lord!," she stated screamin'
then som'thin 'bout bad dreamin',
next thing you know, she's passed out on the floor.
Flukie's floppin' like a flounder,
yowlin', "Boys, I'm gonna founder!,
I need some help to gettin' out the door!"
It was pandemonium
at the ol' emporium,
an' to this day I see the carnage still.
Ol Flukie, up an' weavin',
jest a-gaggin' an' a-heavin'
as growed up men was greenin' 'round the gill.

'Twas a night, if I fergit,
won't bother me a bit,
there are some things a man should not recall.
Like the moment of his birth...
how much his "ex" is worth...
an' the night Ol' Flukie foundered at the hall.

© 2003, DW Groethe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

This Old Post

This old post was cut
   an' cleaned an' carted
   up the river road
when my great granddaddy
   was barely a shadow
   of the man my granddad knowed.
He was young an' life
    was free for the takin'.
    Not free like it is today.
No sir...
He drug this cedar,
   an' most of that line,
   from many a mile away.
Did it by horse,
   hard sweat an' grit
   Did it for the love of a dream.
Sunk them posts 'round
   a quarter of land till
   his muscles, set to scream,
'ld make 'im stop for a minute

and blow a bit

But never too long for the lazin'.
   He was never the kind
   to live in the minute,
he could see them cattle grazin'
   on a section or two
   an' all he had to do
was get these posts sunk in.
   Deep an' solid...straight an' true
   an' he knew, by God, he'd win.
And win he did
   one post at a time, set a
   great life course, an' rode it.
The night he passed
   was felt bone deep
   an' the gatherin' clan all showed it.
Now, the stone we set
   at the head of his grave
   is movin', but it ain't near
the tellin' of the life
   an' love of that man
   like that old post, right here.

© 2006, DW Groethe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


DW told us, "When you fence as much as I do in this country, you are always running across old cedar posts, posts that have been there for 100 years and more, and they are still holding true. On our old home quarter, there are still posts that my grandfather set. When I look at those old posts, I think they stand for folks who said, "I'm gonna make a start, this is my beginning.' Those posts meant the future."

"This Old Post" is on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Six. The poem is included in his recent chapbook, My Father’s Horses. It was also included in a full-page presentation in American Cowboy magazine in 2006 (see it here in Google Books).

 

The Legend of Little Buddy the Christmas Steer

I'll tell you a tale of the ol' frontier,
a story of sorts filled with lotsa good cheer,
back before Santa an' all his reindeer
was the legend of Buddy the Christmas steer.

Some say he was born in the snow an' the cold,
yeller an' white with a heart made of gold.
His mom was part Angus his dad was a polled
Hereford I hear (er so I been told).

Don't know where he come from, he always was there,
sorta popped up outta pure prairie air.
An' just how he knew the when an' the where
to do what he did...we don't really care.

'Cause when things got dark at the end of the year,
with six foot of snow, why, who 'ould appear
with a sled fulla presents an' Yuletide beer???
'r own little Buddy the Christmas steer.

He dint miss no one he visited all
the ranches and homesteads, the big an' the small.
He'd stop at each cabin an' let out a bawl
so folks 'ould come out for their Christmas haul.

When Buddy appeared their eyes opened wide.
The kids 'ould all clammer all over his hide
while the folks 'ould come carry the presents inside
an' bring him fresh hay with water beside.

He did this for years for count beyond end,
when Christmas rolled 'round in winter's slow wend,
If you needed a present 'er just a good friend,
on ol' little buddy you sure could depend.

'Til finally, one Christmas (retirement near),
he passed on the reins, at the turn of the year,
to a short hairy fat guy with eight tiny reindeer...
(more 'n one cowboy shed more 'n one tear).

Yet...
Ever' once in a while, on a Christmas Eve clear,
(for those who believe...for who Christmas is dear),
He'll make an appearance with presents and beer,
Good ol' Little Buddy the Christmas Steer.

© 2012, DW Groethe,
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.

 

The front of the card, with "Little Buddy's Christmas Express":

Inside the card:

The back of the card:





The real "Little Buddy" who inspired the poem, with his heifers:


photo courtesy of DW Groethe

Listen to DW Groethe recite the poem here on a December 6, 2012 Dakota Air radio show from Medora, North Dakota.

 

 

Hooves Everlasting

And once on a time,
(before time was a nuisance),
back when the day was still sister to night,
came echoing ever,
in coulee, on grassland,
the hooves of the herds, never ending in sight.

Hooves of the buffalo,
hooves of the horses,
hooves of the cattle droves following all.
This is a land that was
made for a hoofprint,
this is a land for a hoofbeat to fall.

Hooves dusted heavy
in drought-ridden canyons,
hooves sinking, sloshing in river drift sand,
hooves by the spring warming
snow nestled crocus,
hooves that for aeons were one with the land.

Now o'er their tracks
there roll trucks with a vengeance,
pummeling trails and prairie to dust,
till mem'ries of hooves,
at once primal and heartfelt,
are drowned in the shriek of an oil-driven lust.

Yet, deep in the swaddling
heart of the prairie,
the imprint of hooves everlasting lives on,
and bones rest a'plenty,
'neath gumbo and grasses,
as witness in silence to time lost and gone.

© 2013, DW Groethe,
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.

 

The Coffee Song

We was somewhere in Wyoming
halfway through an all night drive
tired-and-wired from too much fun
when we seen this roadside dive.
So we pulls on over and strolls on in
for eggs and a cup of brew
but when the waitress brung a slug of their best
I said, "Honey! This just won't do!
I ain't sure what's up but through the coffee cup
I can read this outfit's name.
This here watered-down, can-barely-even-call-it-brown's
a monumental cryin' shame!"
I said, "Lord be praised and glory be,
this is somethin' I never seen!
How can someone get so much mileage
out of one little ol' coffee bean!"

Chorus:
I said, "Darlin', I like my coffee lethal.
I like my coffee black.
I like it so that first big swig
hits like a heart attack!
I like it when you need a knife
to cut it and that's a fact.
The kind that's said will 'wake the dead'
I like my coffee black!"


It's hard to describe the look on her face
as my tirade flew and grew.
But in spite of my squawkin'and cowboy talkin'
nothin' I said got through.
Her eyes got kind of squirrely, glazed like in a dream.
And when I finally run out of breath,
She smiled, "Sugar or cream?"

(Chorus)

Well, needless to say we drove away
our appetites unsated.
Didn't get no eggs, no toast, no ham
and was totally uncaffeinated.
So with eyes half-propped and ready to drop
we barely made 'er back.
And I'll tell you true the next trip I do,
I'm gonna bring along a thermos of black.

(Chorus)

What more can I tell you?
I'll never hold a grudge if you serve me sludge
I like my coffee black!

© 2001, DW Groethe, from Tales from West River
These lyrics may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Read DW Groethe's

'Twas a Fright Before Christmas or Snake Eye Saves the Day posted with 2007 Christmas poems

and

 The Carhartt Song in a feature about Jean Prescott's Sweethearts in Carhartts recording

and

Out My Window, posted with 2005 Christmas poems

and

 A Charlie Creek Christmas, posted with 2003 Christmas  poems

 

 

Recordings and Books


Prairie Song: A Meander of Memory
New and Used Poems


2013

A collection of over three dozen new poems and selections from previous books and chapbooks.

DW Groethe's 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, Artistic Director, 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 and author

Cover photos are by Jessica Brandi Lifland.

$18 postpaid from:

DW Groethe
PO Box 144
Bainville, MT 59212
406/769-2312 

 


 

The Night Ol' Flukie Foundered

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

 

A chapbook of twenty-five poems, including:

 Two Cowpokes and a Tamper
Star Cavvy
Wire
The Night Ol' Flukie Foundered
Lady Luck Takes a Break
Seeding
When the Old Man Left
Cerberus Rising
The Ballad of Murphy's Outhouse
The Cowboy Look
Breakin' a Sweat
The Homesteader
Lilacs, Rhubarb, Horseradish
One Leaf Left
He Ate a Bug
Bully Tom Gets His
Amos
Last Rites
Famous Last Words
Daydreamin'
Bittersweet and Ervin
Song in the Night
Marita
When There's Frost Upon the Ponies
Over Yonder


$15 postpaid from:

DW Groethe
PO Box 144
Bainville, MT 59212
406/769-2312 

 


 

My Father's Horses

"Among the elite of the educated cowboy kind is DW Groethe, a Montana cowboy who, when he's not doing his cowboy work, reads more books—fiction, non-fiction, and lauded literature—than most college-educated people ever will. In addition, DW is one of the most cerebral and clever cowboy poets out there. This man has a lot to teach, not only about ranch life, but also about how to write this poem. You need this book."  Darrell Arnold, Editor, Cowboy Magazine

A chapbook of thirty poems, including:

I'm
My Father's Horses
Ol' Growler
Lost and Found
This Old Post
Roughstock
I Was Here
Tripod
Every Outfit's Got One
It's Saturday Night
Pockets and Pens
P.S.T. the III
A Cowboy's Education
Rain
Home at Last
Dining Out
Pest Control
One Morning at the Gates of Eternity
Meadowlarks on Fence Posts
My Heart's in Montana
Thigg's Pig
Signs of Spring
"'bout time"
Rustler's Lament
Slow Day at Mac's
Second Sense
A Pocketful of Marbles
a flurry of wings
Scarlet Marrow
Fin de Siecle

$15 postpaid from:

DW Groethe
PO Box 144
Bainville, MT 59212
406/769-2312 

 


 

West River Waltz

 

If you don't think songs and poems can have magic, listen to a bunch of authors recite or sing their work and then ask to see it on the written page. That's usually when the craft of the thing is laid bare and you can't believe the performance took you in. That is strange magic. D.W. Groethe's poems and songs work both in performance and on the page. It may sound simplistic but that's rare, that's fine craftsmanship, and most of all, that's good magic.  Hal Cannon, Founding Director of the Western Folklife Center


I want to move to the too dry, too wet, too windy, too hot and too cold West River country. Not because DW makes the climate sound so appealing, but because hours spent listening to his poems and music make me feel already at home there. And maybe I'd hear magic in the wind to make me write as authentically, as sparingly and as honestly as this remarkably talented Western writer and singer.

What makes DW peerless in today's big herd of cowboy poets and wannabe writers? He's 25 percent rainbow trout (colourful and quick), 25 percent draft horse (every line and every word has a job to do), 25 percent Sea Biscuit (totally one-of-a-kind) and 25 percent Painted Lady (relax-it's a breed of butterfly, quite delicate and sensitive). From Carhartt gals to cackleberry fruits, from empty loops to empty homesteads, he takes the ordinary and the extraordinary and wordsmiths it into art. He's a cowboy, a friend, a Westerner and a writer. If I bought only one book of Western poetry by a Great Plains writer, it would be West River Waltz. Let the music begin. 
Doris Daley
 

DW is a sage, a bard—gifted beyond understanding. I was mesmerized by every page of this beautiful book. The variety is awesome, and his rich sense of humor is the crowning touch. It is a treasure. Someday he will be mentioned along with Clark, Barker and Kiskaddon as one of the greats.  Rhonda Stearns
 

Once in a while... you find a herd of poetry so beautiful that it snaps your eyelids open and temporarily disengages your breathing mechanism....[it] belongs on the shelf of every admirer of cowboy poems. Those of us who love to read poetry will return to its pages repeatedly for enjoyment and stimulation. Those of us who aspire to write the stuff will—ought to—return to it often for inspiration and education.  Rod Miller, from his review.
 

DW Groethe's West River Waltz includes collected poems and lyrics

Contents:

Foreword by Jens Lund
Preface 
Down by the Willows

The Poems 
 Fifty a Day (Broke, Tired and Blue) 
John Goodall, Good Night
Hey Gray ... Wadda Ya Say?
He’s a Cowboy Not a Carpenter
Cows on Mars
Let ’Er Buck 
Weekend Jackpot Ropin’
A Little Thing about Creepin’ Jenny
Seven Tadpoles
One of Them Kind
When She Speaks
Blue Moon #1
Bossy Gets Hosed
A Prickly Time Out 
Them Four Wheel Steeds 
The Bunny Poem
When Hell Comes Knockin’
Midnight, Somewheres in August
There's a Silence
The Point: (The Whole Point and Nothin’ But the Point) 
Some Things Look Better Just Left Where They Are 
The Funeral
And From This Hill: A Requiem
At the Timmer Bar
Bent
There’s Life in the Ol’ Dog Yet
Likely, When That Sun Creeps Up  
Same Old Story
Under the Dim and Nodding Sky
When the Old Man Goes (A Poem in Two Voices)
Let Me Tell You ’Bout Weanin’
East Wind–December 4th
She Wore Her Twilight Well 
And Now as My Day Settles 
The Novice
An Act of Confusion
The Coyotes’ Annual Christmas Howl
Winter 1903
A Charley Creek Christmas
Three Horses Waiting
Out My Window
The Christmas Serenade
Final Prayer
The Great Hay Yard Assault of '04 or The Sad State of Cowboy Job Security
You Know It’s a Day
’Cross the Top of the Butte
The Feed Truck Blues
Notes on the Clipper 
Winter Light
Lifting a Glass to Summer
So Here I Am Diggin’
Nothing Rhymes with Lutefisk
Comin’ Home
The Passing 
?
Just Like a Chinook
Cracks
Late One Evenin’
I Suppose Some Folks Would Say
Geezer Poem #3
He Was a Cattleman
When Spring Breaks on the Prairie
If
The Fence
Traeger’s Dilemma
Bless
Yearlin' Heifers-Part I
He Rides a Mellow Gelding Anymore
Looks Like Another Hot One 
Generations
Little Katy Rose

 
The Lyrics 

Notes from the Hinterland 
How it Rolls
Blue (Like in Lonesome)
Ridin’ Blue
Missouri Valley Hymn
Heartache #1
That Ol’ Full Moon
Eddie

There’s a Place 
Only Cowgirls Give Cowboys the Blues
Hell to Pay
Song of the Nighthawk
Old Mem’ries
There’s a Place 
Hard, Wild and Free 
A Cowboy’s Prayer 
In Without Knockin’ 
I Eat Meat
A Letter Home 
Blood Is Blood 
A West River Tale 
Prairie Anthem 
Last Dog
 
Tales from West River 
Rodeo Sweetheart  
The Coffee Song  
I Go Ridin’ 
West River Moon  
The Thunderin’ Herds 
The Carhartt Song  
Let ’Er Go
That Ol' Red, White and Blue
When True Love Runs Thin 
The Little Things 
Bluegrass Lullaby 
Ol’ Man Coyote 
He Was Once a Hero 
One for the Workin' Cowboy

What Ever It Takes
Give Him a Horse and Saddle
Leavin’ it All Behind
Talkin’ Windy Blues 
Lately (A Phone Call from Home)
When We Get Hitched
Ridin’ That Trail
Summer
The One That Got Away
Heartbroke
Long Train Gone 
Mendin’ Harness 
Some Sunny Day 
What Ever it Takes

published by Cowboy Miner Productions
ISBN 1-931735
hardcover, 224 pages

$20 plus $4.50 postage from:

DW Groethe
PO Box 144
Bainville, MT 59212
406/769-2312 

Read Rod Miller's review here.


What Ever It Takes  (CD)

Includes:

Give Him A Horse and Saddle
Generations
Leavin' It All Behind
Talkin' Windy Blues
There's a Silence
Lately
When We Get Hitched
Ridin' That Trail
Yearlin' Heifers
Summer
The One That Got Away
Heartbroke
Long Train Gone
The Funeral
Mendin' Harness
Some Sunny Day
The Bunny Poem
What Ever It Takes

$15 postpaid from:

DW Groethe
PO Box 144
Bainville, MT 59212
406/769-2312 

There's a clear sense of person and place in all that Groethe writes. His latest CD is a kind of crazy quilt (in the best sense) of his talents:  bright, authentic and intriguing pieces stitched together perfectly...When he switches to humor, hold on tightly, because his zany songs and poems are full of surprises...

Read our full review here.


Tales from West River  (CD)

 

"There's not hardly a song on this CD I wish I hadn't written."
Baxter Black

 

Includes:

Midnight, Somewheres in August
Rodeo Sweetheart
The Coffee Song
I Go Ridin'
When Spring Breaks
West River Moon
The Thunderin' Herds
The Carhartt® Song
The Fence
Let'er Go
That Ol' Red, White and Blue
When True Love Runs Thin
Fifty a Day
The Little Things
Bluegrass Lullaby
Ol' Man Coyote
Let'er Buck
He Was Once a Hero
One for the Workin' Cowboy

acoustic guitar and vocals:  DW Groethe
acoustic upright bass:  John Lardinois

All songs written by DW Groethe except "The Little Things," written by Bob Petermann and D. W. Groethe and the chorus melody for the Carhartt® song purloined from a fiddle tune by P. I. Tchaikovsky

$17 postpaid from:

DW Groethe
PO Box 144
Bainville, MT 59212
406/769-2312 

 


There's  a Place (CD)

 

"Groethe's voice is dang sure loaded with character, and character is the overwhelming element throughout the 14 original songs on the highly entertaining album.  "Song of the Nighthawk" is the most intriguing, with an eerie, old-time feel to it. Truly excellent. You'll like DW's refreshing brand of cowboy music."
Darrell Arnold, Cowboy Magazine

 

Includes:

Only Cowgirls (Give Cowboys The Blues)
Hell To Pay
Song of the Nighthawk
Old Mem'ries
There's A Place
Hard, Wild And Free
A Cowboy's Prayer
In Without Knockin'
I Eat Meat
A Letter Home
Blood Is Blood
A West River Tale (Jake And Silm)
Prairie Anthem
Last Dog

$17 postpaid from:

DW Groethe
PO Box 144
Bainville, MT 59212
406/769-2312 

 


A Charlie Creek Christmas
&
Other Wint'ry
Tales of the West

 

"Only a cowboy -- with a great imagination -- could picture scenes like these."
Rodney Nelson

 

This book is a work of art in words and illustration, with 
hand-lettered poems, black and white and hand-colored illustrations 
by Scott Nelson and D. W. Groethe

Includes:

A Charlie Creek Christmas
Christmas '95
Twas a Fright Before Christmas or Snake Eye Saves the Day
Christmas '96
Jake An' the Elves or Big Doin's at the Lazy A
Winter 1903
Out My Window

43 pages, published 2002

$10 postpaid from:

DW Groethe
PO Box 144
Bainville, MT 59212
406/769-2312 


Notes from the Hinterland (cassette)

And From This Hill
How it Rolls
A Little Thing About Creeping Jenny
Blue Like in Lonesome
John Goodall, Goodnight
Ridin' Blue
The ballad of Murphy's Outhouse
Missouri Valley Hymn
Winter 1903
Heartache #1
When Hell Comes Knockin'
Ol' Full Moon
Some Things Look Better Just Left Where They Are
Eddie
Notes on the Clipper
No One to Love Me
Looks Like Another Hot One
Color of Love

recorded 1995

no longer available

Jessica Brandi Lifland (www.jessicalifland.com), the official photographer for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, is working on a project documenting the lives of cowboy poets.

 

Currently, her photoblog includes a slide show of DW Groethe accompanied by his poem "Yearlin' Heifers" from the first volume of The BAR-D Roundup.



photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller

In 2005, DW Groethe was invited to appear in Washington, D. C. at the

Library of Congress / American Folklife Center

and on the 

The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage


View the
archived broadcast

and at the

67th National Folk Festival

 


Listen to the  July, 2006, archived broadcast appearance 
at the Heritage of the American West (mp3 file)

Listen to "The Coffee Song" on Ranch Rhymes: Cowboy Poetry and Music from the Western Folklife Center Archives

"One for the Workin' Cowboy" is featured on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday's "What's in a Song," broadcast February 26, 2012.  You can listen to the broadcast here.

"What's in a Song" is an occasional series from the Western Folklife Center "that weaves together a tapestry of American music, one song and one story at a time..." Other programs have included Baxter Black, Mike Beck, Stephanie Davis, Connie Dover, Stan Howe, Tom Russell, and others. Find many of the broadcasts here at NPR and also here at the Western Folklife Center.

DW is the best kept secret in Western music. I keep his CD's on the top shelf along with Tyson and Russell.  His song is the heartbeat of today's cowpoke cosmos.
Wylie Gustafson, Wylie and the Wild West

 


 

When he sings, you hear the bawling calves, smell the fire at branding time and shiver at the chill of a skin-strapping prairie wind.  You ache at the contradiction of ranch life, starving to death to do the thing you love.
Chris Jorgensen, Billings Gazette

 

Contact Information


photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski
 

D. W. Groethe
PO Box 144
Bainville, MT 59212
406/769-2312 


 

 

 

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