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photo at the Dorrance Ranch by John McCleary

MIKE BECK

 


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Mike Beck plays the guitar like a Byrd. His strings do things that mine could never do. They obey the slightest finger-touch commands like a fine reining horse.
                                                                                                            Ramblin' Jack Elliott

Mike's plowing new ground. He's not re-recording the old Hollywood matinee music from the '30s and '40s. You've got to have focus and keep producing good stuff. He's better than all of those newer western guys.
                                                                                        Ian Tyson


Mike Beck is one of those writers with the cowboy in his heart. These songs are filled with braided rawhide and mission bells...Listen up, Friend! (Where the Green Grass Grows)
                                                                                                              Tom Russell

 

Top Western singer, songwriter, and musician Mike Beck performs solo and with his acclaimed band, Mike Beck and the Bohemian Saints. He is also a respected horseman and cowboy; he lived at the legendary Dorrance Ranch and gained much of his early experience with horses and ranch work there. He conducts horsemanship across the West and in the U.K. and Scandinavia. An accomplished guitarist and distinguished songwriter, he writes some of today's most transcendent, relevant songs about the West.

Read more about him below.

Below:

About Mike Beck

Lyrics

Recordings

Contacting Mike Beck

Find full-length tracks and other audio and video at

www.MikeBeck.com

and at other links, below

 

Senior editor Jennifer Denison offers an insightful look Mike Beck "Roaming Troubadour" in the April, 2012 edition of Western Horseman magazine. The multi-page, illustrated article delves into his cowboying history, his time spent with the legendary horseman Bill Dorrance, and how his experiences influence his music.

In one passage, he is quoted about working with Bill Dorrance, "Bill taught me that to do something well, you have to live it, breathe it, never stop thinking about it, and then start over the next day. If I'm learning a new melody, I remind myself to go slow, take my time and put it all together. That's the same thing Bill taught me to do with horses."

Accompanyin the article, "Beck's Picks" include his favorite ten albums by a variety of musicians, from Ian Tyson to The Byrds.

Western Horseman cites two of Mike Beck's songs, "In Old California" and "Don't Tell Me," as among "The 13 Best Cowboy Songs of All Time." Other noted songwriters included Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Ian Tyson, Gary McMahan, Dave Stamey, and Tom Russell,. 

Mike Beck's "Amanda Come Home" is featured on What's in a Song,
 produced by The Western Folklife Center and National Public Radio.

Mike Beck's "Patrick" and "Mi Caballo Negro Poncho"
are featured in the outstanding film, Tapadero

 


 

About Mike Beck
adapted from www.MikeBeck.com


Born and raised in Monterey County, California, at age 13, Mike Beck went to the Monterey Pop Festival and liked what he heard. He picked up a guitar and never looked back. Since that time, he has been composing and performing a wide array of folk, rock and Americana music. Mike's songs reflect his life as a professional musician and a working cowboy in Montana and Carmel Valley near Big Sur.

Mike Beck and The Bohemian Saints is an irresistible old fashioned guitar band, comprising Mike Beck; San Francisco Bay Area guitarist, Tom Ayres; Marty Lydon on bass; and Paul Montgomery on drums. The band has played together since 2002, and no matter where the band performs, their large loyal fan base follows. 

 

 


© 2007, Jeri Dobrowski

One of Mike Beck's most popular gigs (often with the Bohemian Saints) is at the Stray Dog in Elko, Nevada, each January during the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

 

Lyrics

Don't Tell Me

Amanda Come Home

In Old California

Don't Hurt My Heart

 

Don't Tell Me

I want to saddle my horse in darkness, trot out through the mornin’ dew;
I want to breathe some air that’s never been breathed.
I want to drink the wine of freedom and toast the good ones that we knew;
I want to count a million stars and think of you.

I wanna see one more hometown rodeo where it’s hats off for the flag;
Yeah we cheer the buckin’ horse and the wild ride.
I want to put a hole in my TV set and let the silence ring true;
I want to count a million stars and think of you.

So don’t tell me that the West is dead and gone,
Yeah 'cause my heart can’t stand to hear that sad old song.
And if you’re sayin’ “Son, you missed it all,” here’s hopin’ that you’re wrong.
Don’t tell me it’s dead and gone.

I want to see one more Charlie Russell print in some old rundown café,
Where old men and coffee tell their tales.
I want to ride out with the wagon and the scent of the springtime sage;
I want to keep the wind at my back on down the trail.

So don’t tell me that the West is dead and gone,
'Cause my heart can’t stand to hear that sad old song.
And if you’re sayin’ “Son, you missed it all,” here’s hopin’ that you’re wrong.
Don’t tell me it’s dead and gone.

I want to see suntanned cowgirl cheeks with long braids 'neath a hat;
Hear the summer rain on the roof at a country dance.
And we’ll ride out our raging storms till the light comes shining through,
Then we’ll count a million stars and think of you.

So don’t tell me that the West is dead and gone,
'Cause my heart can’t stand to hear that sad old song.
And if you’re sayin’ “Son, you missed it all,” here’s hopin’ that you’re wrong.
Don’t tell me, no don't tell me, don't tell me it’s dead and gone. 

© 2001, Mike Beck-Songs of the Sage/BMI, All rights reserved
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


 

Amanda Come Home

Rollin' down some desert highway
On the other side of the world
All dressed up in camo
She's some mama's little girl
 
Never heard her talk political
College was her biggest dream
Her daddy laid off down at the factory
Things down in her neighborhood
Were pretty lean
 
Yesterday she was a little girl
Bringin' home a bird with a broken wing
Amanda come home
Amanda come home
 
On the outskirts
Of Ba'Quabah
The IEDs are goin' down
The ringin' of the cell phone
It could be the last sound
 
So keep your eyes wide open
And cover up your heart
Amanda come home
Amanda come home 
 
Last night I had a dream
You couldn't remember your name
You couldn't wash that smell
Off of your skin
You couldn't stop hearin' all the cries of pain

But when you get home
We'll mend the bird with the broken wing
Amanda come home
Amanda come home

© 2009, Mike Beck-Songs of the Sage/BMI, All rights reserved  
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


 

In Old California

Well colors awash on adobe, mixed with salty sea air;
Filters through redwood and oak trees, it’s the Santa Lucias standing there.
And vaqueros trot in to the plaza and the guitars they build and they sway;
And horses and rawhide and silver, slide and spin in a timeless display.

And Jo Mora told the story, all the color and the glory,
And the Californios who rode through dappled green and gold
Ay yi yi yi yi in Old Californ.

Señoritas in handwoven colors and their scarves frame faces of brown,
They dance at the mission fiesta; they laugh and sing and they twirl 'round and 'round.
And the ancient roar off the ocean; and the grapes, they ripen on the vine;
And the foggy arroyos and canyons; the freighters are anchored off the coastline.

And Jo Mora told the story, all the color and the glory,
And the Californios who rode through dappled green and gold
Ay yi yi yi yi in Old Californ.

So in the missions out by Monterey, they’re molded in the wood and the bronze;
Jo Mora’s vision of yesterday, Old California, it lives on, and on and on and on.

And Jo Mora told the story, all the color and the glory,
And the Californios who rode through dappled green and gold
Ay yi yi yi yi in Old Californ.

And Jo Mora told the story, all the color and the glory,
And the Californios who rode through dappled green and gold
Ay yi yi yi yi in Old Californ.

© 1997, Mike Beck and Ian Tyson-Slick Fork Music/SOCAN, All rights reserved  
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Thanks to Mick Vernon for help with some of the above lyrics.



Don't Hurt My Heart

I fought with you at The Crusades
I fell with you at the Little Big Horn

Crossed the plains
and I plowed your fields
I've been serving you since I was born

I met some men with kind hands
Others that are hard as steel
Work me hard and they give me the whip
Never thinking 'bout how I feel

So don't sore my back
Don't ya jerk my mouth
Don't hurt my heart
And I'll run to you

I've been a cow pony out in the sage
And I sailed with Spain across the sea
I've made kings out of common men

How come its taken you so long to feel for me?

So don't sore my back
Don't ya jerk my mouth
Don't hurt my heart
And I'll run to you
And I'll try for you

If we come together
We can fly
       
And I forgive all my wildness lost
But that flame it still burns
Haven't I given you my all?
I've asked so little in return

So don't sore my back
And don't ya jerk my mouth
Don't hurt my heart
Don't hurt my heart

© Mike Beck-Songs of the Sage/BMI, All rights reserved  
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 



Recordings

A number of these songs can be sampled, heard in full tracks, and on video at the links below.


Tribute



Includes:

20 Bucks a Gallon
Amanda Come Home
Happy Reunion
La Primera
Sales Ring Seance (poem by Jeremiah Watt)
Molly & Tenbrooks
Patrick
Krissy & the Red Roan
100 Dollar Horse
Don't Hurt My Heart
Work Together

Mike Beck uses all of his considerable skills—as a horse trainer, songwriter, and musician—in meaningful ways, working with the Joyful Horse Project and the Healing with Horses pilot program where recent military veterans are working with rescue horses. Mike, who trains horses internationally, believes in a "one horse, one person" approach. He says the experience with the program has been good for him, as well the others, as he observes the extraordinary healing bonds between people and horses.

Beth Rand is the moving force behind all of the efforts at The Joyful Horse Project. In a recent blog she writes, "...I realize Mike's formula is working on all of us—not just the horses. We've brought the lives together, it's being directed with grace though experienced hands and there's a quality to it
that makes us all want more."

In Tribute, Mike has recorded a collection of songs celebrating that horse that he calls "...a labor of love that is being made with all proceeds going toward The Joyful Horse Project..."

Mike tells about the new album here on his web site:

The Tribute album is primarily a collection of horse songs, but it also includes two songs that were recorded in honor of U.S veterans and a poem by Jeremiah Watt.

I wanted to make this record as a tribute to horses. and, I wanted the proceeds to support a worthy cause—one that helps both horses and people come together in true partnership.

I spent two months in Austin Texas recording this album while working on a pilot program with The Joyful Horse Project (a 501c3 charity). On the weekends U.S. Veterans came out to work with horses that were being rehabilitated from abuse and neglect.

I was there to help the veterans get to where they could catch the horses and work with them safely. Working with the veterans helps give the horses a sense of purpose and gets them in a
better frame of mind for placement into new homes. It's a perfect blend really and it's amazing to see the changes in the both the veterans and the horses.

I'm donating all proceeds from the sale of this CD directly to The Joyful Horse Project so this program can continue.

Watch the video about this project on my YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cpJxdQIjtM&feature=youtu.be

Learn more about The Joyful Horse Project here and on Facebook.com/TheJoyfulHorseProject.

Mike is doing a tour for the project and invites people to contact him about house concerts. Find more here at his site.

  Order The Tribute CD here.

From The Joyful Horse Project (and on Facebook.com/TheJoyfulHorseProject):

Mike Beck has a passion for sharing the cowboy lifestyle through his music - writing songs about the West. and on occasion, from the horse's perspective.

Beck's new song "20 Bucks a Gallon" that debuts on the Tribute CD is a great example of humor and honky tonk. but the record showcases his wide range of songwriting talent from upbeat American folk ballads to the bluesy "100 Dollar Horse." Beck's signature B-Bender electric guitar and vocals are featured in "Amanda Come Home" and "Don't Hurt My Heart" and he closes out the collection with a unique remake of Canned Heat's "Work Together." ...

The real story behind the Tribute CD is Beck's humanitarian work with The Joyful Horse Project (a 501c3 charity dedicated to holistic equine rehabilitation and education).

According to Mike, "I wanted to make this record as a tribute to horses. and, I wanted the proceeds from the CD to support a worthy cause—one that helps both horses and people come together in true partnership."

"When Beth Rand, President of The Joyful Horse Project, approached me about facilitating a pilot program designed to teach returning war heroes the horsemanship skills needed to help rebuild bonds of trust with abused and neglected horses—I knew we had the makings of a great story. It is a win-win for all involved."

Mike recorded the songs in Austin, Texas while facilitating this groundbreaking pilot program for The Joyful Horse Project. Beck's horsemanship methods are based on the traditional wisdom handed down to him from cowboy legends Bill and Tom Dorrance, along with several other gifted horsemen that he was fortunate to work with over many years spent as a working cowboy.

The legacy of what's been passed down to Mike includes a potent combination of intuitive unity, harmony, and communication between horse and human—work that often yields a powerful healing experience for all involved. Sharing these techniques provides the perfect medicine for both the combat veterans and the horses.

"This is the new work of horses," says Mike. "Horses are quite sensitive and operate through feel—instinctively understanding our intentions. They have served us for centuries fighting our wars, plowing our fields, and carrying our kids to victory in the show ring. Now more than ever, horses can put us in touch with our own humanity and open the eyes and hearts of the people who wish to partner with them."

Mike Beck's horsemanship and his music are forever intertwined. His songs—two of which were tagged by Western Horseman on their "13 Best Cowboy Songs of All Time"—are a reflection of his life both as a professional musician and a working cowboy in California, Nevada and Montana.

In a 2012 feature in Western Horseman magazine, Beck says, "I think being a horseman and musician are similar in many ways. They're both about feel."

The Joyful Horse Project's holistic equine rehabilitation program is founded on natural horse care and sound herd management principles that restore the physical vitality and behavioral stability to these horses. But while the horses wait for the right adoptive home to come along, they need a job to do—a reason to partner with people again.

Beth Rand observes, "Veterans are amazingly well suited to the challenge of working with these horses. By background and training, they are keenly aware of the bonds of trust required to perform any task with sureness and confidence. These unique talents help the horses overcome their fears and become more suitable for further training and adoption."

"...Our veterans can relate to these horses in ways many of us never will - and they thrive on the challenge—our horses need their time and talent"

100% of the proceeds from the sale of the Tribute CD will be used to support The Joyful Horse Project and their Healing with Horses Veterans Program—thus allowing this devoted team of veterans and volunteers to reach more military families and place more horses in good homes.

 


 

Pine Street Girl

Don't Hurt My Heart
Cheyanna
Pine Street Girl
Summer of Love
Crossroads
Itty Bitty Girl
Oildale
The Cuckoo
Summer Wages
John Steinbeck Drank in Here
She Run Away
Matty Groves
Ol' Blue


Listen to track samples and purchase CD or downloads at CD Baby

 


 

Feel

Mariposa Wind
Alberta Cowgirl
Poncho
Livin' In the Arts
Don't Hurt My Heart
In Old California
Don't Tell Me
Amanda Come Home
Closer To the Light
Patrick
Rubin's Song
Before the Moon Fell Down

Listen to track samples and purchase CD or downloads at CD Baby

 

  From our announcement:

Top Western singer, songwriter, and musician Mike Beck's Feel is deceptively spare in its packaging, strikingly pure in its execution: pure cowboy, pure acoustic, and pure art. The often mellow-yet-complex songs are infinitely satisfying in their depth.

Feel showcases Mike Beck's guitar wizardry as well as his songwriting magic. Most of the tracks are originals, with the exception of a collaboration with Ian Tyson ("In Old California") and an arrangement of Jack Thorp's "Chopo" ("Poncho"), which he introduces as "For the cow horse, Pancho."

Mike Beck's music is rooted in folk and cowboy music traditions, but beyond that his work defies categorization. And his great guitar band, The Bohemian Saints (not included on this solo acoustic CD) knock down all fences with their own brand of Americana rock. Of this album, Beck has written, "I decided I wanted to do an album of a few new songs I've written and some of my other cowboy songs that people have requested...."

Among the old favorites are his frequently-covered grand anthem to the West, "Don't Tell Me"; the evocative and bittersweet pull-of-a-place "Mariposa Wind"; and "Amanda Come Home," about a young female soldier deployed to Iraq. That song got much national attention and was featured on National Public Radio in the The Western Folklife Center's What's in a Song series (find the broadcast here).

The song written with Ian Tyson, "In Old California," is a tribute to Jo Mora (1876-1947), legendary cowboy, artist, writer, and photographer (and more) whose art graces the CD cover. "In Old California" and "Don't Tell Me" were named as two of today's thirteen best songs by Western Horseman in April, 2009, along with selections by Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Ian Tyson, Gary McMahan, Dave Stamey, Tom Russell, and just a few others.

Mike Beck writes as eloquently as anyone ever has about real cowboy life in "Closer to the Light" and in "Rubin's Song." In the first, he limns the romance and transformation that can be found in that life—always without sentimentality but full of honest sentiment"The young and old, the meek and bold....some boys are green as grass, some best hands you ever saw/ones leavin' a broken marriage, others runnin' from the law/you can't stow away on a sea-bound ship, and the circus quit comin' to town/so you pack your gear and you head out of here....you're runnin' from the fences, and you're holdin' on real tight....so shine boys, shine, a little closer to the light...." 

Literally from inside his subjects, "Don't Hurt My Heart" and "Patrick" are pieces written from horses' point of view. "Patrick" is a tribute to noted horseman Bill Dorrance; Mike Beck lived at the Dorrance ranch and gained much of his early experience with horses and ranch work there.

Nothing is predictable here. "Before the Moon Fell Down" is an aching depiction of loss. "Alberta Cowgirl" celebrates the hardy species with unabashed admiration. Not only do the themes of the album's songs cover a broad spectrum, but what's inside is unfailingly perceptive. The standout "Livin' in the Arts" refers to Van Gogh, Hank Williams, Richard Brautigan, Lane Frost, Beethoven and others. It's a completely original insight into what it takes to survive an artist's life, informed by what must be Mike Beck's own upbeat strategy for survival.

Cowboys, cowgirls, horses, heartbreak, happiness, hope, a deep allegiance to the real West...and that guitar. Fans couldn't ask for more.

Feel is available for $12.97 plus postage or as a download for $11 here from CD Baby (where there are sample tracks). Find more about Mike Beck at www.mikebeck.com where there are full-track audio downloads from other CDs, videos, and more.

 


4 Songs


2008 EP

Cheyanna
Don't Hurt My Heart
Itty Bitty Girl
She Run Away

Listen to track samples and purchase CD at CD Baby
 


Rooted


2006

John Steinbeck Drank in Here
George Orwell's 113th. Dream
Amanda Come Home
I Want You 
Quite Like This
Oildale
Before the Moon Fell Down
Rock and Roll Cowgirl
Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man
Cold Cold Ground
Meth
 

Listen to track samples and purchase CD or downloads at CD Baby

 


Mariposa Wind


2001

Mariposa Wind
California Dreamin'
Old Man
Mi Caballo Negro Poncho
Deportee
Patrick
Carey
Angel of Sobraines
Your Angels
Wild Roses
Old California
Don't Tell Me

Listen to track samples and purchase CD or downloads at CD Baby


Where the Green Grass Grows


1997

Where the Green Grass Grows
Vaquero
Ropin' To Do
Ballad of Jimmie Day
Vision Seeker
Don't Tell Me
In Old California
I Can't Find Juanita
If you Could
Life of a Buckaroo
Both Sides Now
Old Chisholm Trail


Out of print, may be available from used sources


Where the Green Grass Grows


1995

Fire of the West
Angel of Sobraines
Rubin's Song
Juan Guadalupe (Duet with Ian Tyson)
Closer to the Light
Georgie
Vision Seeker
My Uncle's Saddle
Cold and Lonely Night
My Baby (Duet with Claudia Williams)
One Wreck Away


Out of print, may be available from used sources



Contacting Mike Beck

Sign up for Mike Beck's newsletter, find audio, video, and more at

  www.MikeBeck.com

 

Mike Beck and the Bohemian Saints on Facebook 

Mike Beck on MySpace

Mike Beck on YouTube

 

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