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Gail Steiger is a songwriter, filmmaker, and cowboy who has been the foreman of remote Spider Ranch in Yavapai County, Arizona since 1995.

He is a frequent performer at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering and at the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Gail Steiger's acclaimed Ranch Album film, released in 1988, is recognized as one of the best portrayals of modern cowboy and ranching life on film. 

A CD of his music, The Romance of Western Life, earned praise from Cowboy Magazine editor Darrell Arnold, who wrote his music is "... like listening to Bob Dylan if Dylan had been a working cowboy...the lyrics are so beautifully descriptive of daily cowboy life...These are cowboy feelings, simple and profound."  

Gail Steiger is the grandson of Delia Gist Gardner and Gail I. Gardner. His recitation of Delia Gist Gardner's poem, "Hail and Farwell," is included on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two. His recitation of Gail Gardner's poem, "The Dude Wrangler," is included on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Four.

You can email Gail Steiger.

Visit his web site, gailsteiger.biz.
 


Below:


Lyrics and Poem
The Romance of Western Life
A Cowboy's Prayer

Forthcoming recording

The Romance of Western Life CD

Ranch Album film

Cowboy Magazine article

Range magazine article

Additional links

Gail Steiger recites "The Dude Wrangler" on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Four. The poem was written by his grandfather, Gail I. Gardner, who is pictured, as a child, on the CD's cover.

Gail Gardner's own recitation of his poem, "The Sierry Petes," is also included on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Four.

"The Sierry Petes," recited by the late J. B Allen, is also featured on the 2007 CD, The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two.

 

Gail Steiger's grandmother Delia Gist Gardner's moving poem, ďHail and Farewell,Ē is delivered in a singular performance by Gail Steiger on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two.

 



 


photo by
Kathy McCraine
 


 

The Romance of Western Life

The old black bull
got stuck in the mud
for six hours we pushed and we pried
finally took four horses
to pull him free
and when we got our ropes untied
he looked up at the sky
then he give out a big sigh
and he laid down his head and he died

we started for town
but the truck broke down
we walked home five miles in the rain
and weíd have been glad for that
but we had hay on the ground
and the timing was kind of a shame

and the romance ainít completely gone
to this cowboy life weíve chose
but the bliss that Iíd been counting on
well it comes and then it goes
I could have been a lawyer or something
but itís too late for that now
cause the only thing I know anything about
is a damned old hereford cow

well the creek come up
took the watergap down
our yearlings were nowhere to be found
only taken us a week to gather em all
be easier the second time around
at least thatís what I thought
till I seen Shorty there looking blue
just before we left for town
he turned our horses out there too
(they went with the yearlings)

and the romance ainít completely gone
but itís wearing kind of thin
I know that thereís a lot of things
I maybe could have been
I could have been a fireman
but itís too late for that now
cause the only thing I know anything about
is a damned old hereford cow

no the romance ainít completely gone
to this cowboy life weíve chose
but the bliss that Iíd been counting on
well it comes and then it goes
I could have been a lot of things
and I guess I still could now
but the only thing I really care about
is a damned old hereford cow

© 1986, Gail Steiger, from The Romance of Western Life
These lyrics may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 



A Cowboy's Prayer

Well Iíve heard it said
and I believe that itís true
it ainít what youíre wearing
itís what you can do

The boys they are ready
itís time to begin
and I sure hope that I
can hold up my end

And maybe some day
when theyíre old and gray
theyíll think of me
and someone will say

He sure made a good hand
and we always did know
he would be there
when we needed him most

I do what I can
thatís all I can do
the crew that I work with
they do the same too

And maybe some day
when theyíre old and gray
theyíll think of me
and someone will say

He sure made a good hand
and we always did know
he would be there
when we needed him most

© 1986, Gail Steiger
These lyrics may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Gail told us that these lyrics, which "for a while were called 'Good Hand'," were written for the film, Ranch Album. The song also appears on his CD, The Romance of Western Life.

 


 


Forthcoming Recording (2013)
 

From the web site here (where you can place advance orders):

Gail Steiger is recording a new album this late winter/early spring. He is going to record it live and include the stories that go along with some of the songs. He will also be including new material and some covers. This is going to be a fun album with the warmth and humor that many of you are accustomed to when you hear Gail perform live...
 


 

The Romance of Western Life  CD

"... like listening to Bob Dylan if Dylan had been a working cowboy...the lyrics are so beautifully descriptive of daily cowboy life...These are cowboy feelings, simple and profound."  Editor Darrell Arnold, Cowboy Magazine.

Includes 12 original songs by Gail Steiger:

The Romance of Western Life
Moment in Time
Riding on the Wind
A Cowboy's Prayer (from Ranch Album)
Nevada Highway
Right and Wrong
There Ain't a Day
John and Charlie
Jose Flores
Whistle
My Son (from Ranch Album)
Hired Hand
Hail and Farewell by Delia Gist Gardner

 

Gail Steiger-vocals, guitar
Brent Reason-bass, lead guitars, percussion vocals
Mary Trevor-vocals
Lew Steiger-harmonica

 

Order directly from www.amyhaleauker.com/steiger_bros and gailsteiger.biz

Also available from CD Baby, the Western Folklife Center, and other sources.

 


Ranch Album

"Neither hurried nor overly sentimental, this is a magnificent video." Booklist

The tough life of the New West cowboy is lovingly portrayed in this gorgeous film..." Wall Street Journal

"...cinematically brilliant and wonderfully constructed." TV Guide
 

The acclaimed Ranch Album video by Gail Steiger, released in 1988, is cited for its insightful portrayal of cowboy life.  From the producers' description:

Nationally released as an hour-long PBS special, Ranch Album celebrates rough country ranching in Northern Arizona and shows real cowboy life. Season by season, the people of this film describe what they do and why they do it. In the process, they reveal a sense of something more importantóa spirit and culture that have survived in the American west for a very long time.

The film is included in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/UCLA Film and Television Archives' survey of outstanding recent work in the documentary field.

Order the DVD directly from www.amyhaleauker.com/steiger_bros and gailsteiger.biz

Also available from Amazon.

 

 


Cowboy Magazine

Poet, musician, photographer and writer Sally Harper Bates profiled Gail Steiger in a Summer, 1998 cover story in Cowboy Magazine, "Ridin' the Spider" and wrote about the Spider Ranch, about 40 miles from Prescott, Arizona, where Gail Steiger has been the foreman since 1995. Sally Harper Bates writes that the ranch is "one of the most remote areas in Yavapai County. The terrain is some of the most rugged in the West, yet these mountainous rock piles hold some of the best cattle grazing available." About Gail Steiger, she writes, "...the call to cattle runs deep enough in his veins to draw him back to country like the Spider Ranch."

Cowboy Magazine back issues are available from the Cowboy Magazine web site.

 


Range 

 

Gail Steiger is profiled in the Spring, 2009 issue of Range magazine, in an absorbing article, "Arizona Cowboy," by rancher, writer, and photographer Kathy McCraine. The article explores the rough country where Steiger works as the foreman of the Spider Ranch, and delves into how he came to be a cowboy, filmmaker, and songwriter ("I just kind of fell into it all," he says, but the article elaborates) The challenges of the wild country and Steiger's ranching practices and philosophies feature largely in the article, and there is a discussion of his grandfather, famous poet Gail I. Gardner ("The Sierry Petes or Tying the Knots in the Devil's Tail").

Read the entire article at the Range magazine web site.

 



photo by Jeri Dobrowski from the 25th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
 


 

More...

 

  Gail Steiger appears on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor on January 19, 2013, broadcast from Tempe, Arizona. He sings "The Romance of Western Life" and "Whistle," and recites his grandmother Delia Gist Gardner's poem, "Hail and Farewell."

 

  Gail Steiger recites his grandfather Gail I. Gardner's poem, "The Dude Wrangler," on the 2009 CD from CowboyPoetry.com, The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Four.

 

  Gail Steiger recites his grandfather Gail I. Gardner's poem, "The Sierry Petes," on the 2003 Smithsonian Folkways recording, Cowboy Poetry Classics.  

 

   Gail Steiger recites his grandmother Delia Gist Gardner 's poem, "Hail and Farewell," on the 2007 CD from CowboyPoetry.com, The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two.

 

   Gail Steiger has a journal at the Western Folklife Center.

 

 

 

 

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