Below you'll find:
New in 2007: Books: Cowboy Poetry and Stories
Texas poet Rod Nichols' third book of poetry, Old Trees 'n Tumbleweeds, is now available. The book of previously unpublished poems includes a foreword by South Dakota broadcaster and friend to cowboy poetry, Jim Thompson. In his introduction, Rod Nichols writes, "....There are stories that are deeply rooted in cowboy lore and experiences and others that provoke thought and reflection. These are the ‘Old Trees’ of this collection. Some poems and stories are intended to bring a smile, a grin or maybe a laugh. These are the ‘Tumbleweeds’ in this anthology. Whatever you find here is intended to bring the reader closer to the life and ways of that most uniquely American figure, the cowboy."
Read the introduction, the foreword, and see the table of contents here, along with some of Rod Nichols' poetry.
Old Trees 'n Tumbleweeds is available for $16.95 postpaid from Rod Nichols' website, or by mail: Rod Nichols, P.O. Box 215, 6140 Hwy. 6, Missouri City, TX 77459.
Montana poet, songwriter, and photographer John Reedy's poetry of Western life is collected, along with his photography, in Twisted Vignettes: Poems and Photographs. (See the contents list here and one of the poems here).
John also has an impressive new CD of fresh Americana music, Twisted Vignettes. The CD includes original songs and his renditions of songs by Merle Haggard, Tom Russell and Paul Zarzyski, and others. (See the entire track list here and lyrics for two of the original songs here).
Read more about John and his music and poetry in our feature here.
The Twisted Vignettes CD is available for $13.00 postpaid from www.TwistedCowboy.com; the Twisted Vignettes: Poems and Photographs book is available for $15.00 postpaid from www.TwistedCowboy.com. A Limited Edition Set of the CD and book is available for $25.00 postpaid from www.TwistedCowboy.com.
Woody Woodruff's book, The Incomplete Works of Woody Woodruff, World-Wide Unknown Poet, includes over 20 original poems, and a poem from the family's next generation of writers, his granddaughter Alexia Woodruff. See the entire contents list here .
In 2005, Woody was named Cowboy Poet of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists.
The Incomplete Works of Woody Woodruff, World-Wide Unknown Poet, is available for $14.95 postpaid from Woody Woodruff, 983 Pike Lane, Centerville, TN 37033.
Poet Byrd Woodward's chapbook, There...Just Over the Ridge, includes 18 original poems (see the entire contents list here ). Her poetry is often inspired by the Idaho cow ranch where she she grew up, and from the stories of her parents and their pioneering forebears, the Jordans, Badleys and DeMasters.
Read more about Byrd Woodward and selections of her poetry here at the BAR-D.
There...Just Over the Ridge is available for $8 postpaid from Byrd Woodward, 17412 Bob White Rd., Mayer, AZ 86333.
Jack Griner has a new book of poetry, Cowboy Dust. He
says it is "...a city boy's rendition with a cowboy's point of view" about
his experiences as a young man doing farm and ranch work in Iowa and South
The book is available for $17.99 plus postage from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and there is additional information at Authors to Believe In.
Texas poet and writer Linda Kirkpatrick has a new chapbook "dedicated to the history of the West," the first in a semi-annual series. Carrying on the name from her award-winning collection of stories and poems (Cowboy Miner, 2002), the chapbook Somewhere in the West includes a feature story, "Conflict in the Frio Canyon; The Incident at the McLaurin Ranch," accompanied by a bibliography and vintage photos; her poem, "Conflict in the Frio Canyon"; classic poetry by Bruce Kiskaddon, "Graves by the Side of the Trail"; and a list of rare, old, and out-of-print books and more available from her Frontier Book Store.
Clark Crouch's book of western and cowboy poetry, Western Images, has been published by Western Poetry Publications (an imprint of The Resource Network).
The publisher notes, "As in his other two books, Where Horses Reign and Sun, Sand & Soapweed, his poems are reality-based but he has not hesitated to exercise the cowboy’s propensity to embellish the truth as he captures glimpses of both the humorous and serious aspects of life in the west." Read more about the book here, along with some of Clark Crouch's poetry.
Western Images (ISBN 0-9624438-5-9), a 120-page paperback, has a suggested list price of $11.95. The book is available through any bookseller, including Amazon.
Sue Jones' Tales from Across the Fence book includes 26 of her best poems, including her new works up through 2006. The artwork is a collaboration by Grace Cooper of Camp Verde, Arizona and Sue Jones.
Sue and her husband, Bill, live on the west side of New Mexico near the border and do day work for friends and neighbors on local cattle ranches and participate in cattle grower events. Read more about Sue and some of her poetry here.
Tales from Across the Fence is available for $13.95 postpaid from: Sue Jones, P. O. Box 115, Glenwood, NM 88039.
The Sharlot Hall Museum, sponsor of the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, has released a new anthology, Thanks for the Poems; a Commemorative Collection for the 20th Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering. The book, edited by Sally Harper Bates, Nika Nordbrock, and Mary Abbott, contains nearly 100 poems by poets who have appeared at the respected gathering.
An impressive volume of poetry by J. B. Allen (1938-2005), JB — the circle, has been published by Dry Camp Press. The book includes 65 poems, in chapters titled "The Tribe," "The Usin' Kind...or Not," "Bits of Life," and "Speculations."
J. B. Allen had been involved with the creation of the book, and his comment about its making are included as an introduction: "The editing process continues to be somewhat controversial between myself and those who graciously undertake the chore. Words and phrases commonly used by those of my acquaintance, now and in the past, are cause for some consternation in others attempting to render the poems understandable to those outside the Texican tribe of cowboys ....This set of poems, written over a period of fifteen years, contain personal experiences, stories gleaned from old times, and a few, evidently, originating from ethereal revelations. Three cowboys, who also happen to write, were consulted as to content, spelling and word use. This offering is the result of their suggestions, some of which were heeded."
Insightful pieces by J. B. Allen's daughters open the book, and a chapter called "The Circle" includes moving recollections and heartfelt commentary from his friends Joel Nelson, Chuck Milner, Randy Rieman, Red Steagall, Gail Steiger, Tom Sharpe, Waddie Mitchell, Duward Campbell, and others. Throughout, noted artist Duward Campbell's striking paintings and drawings complement the well designed book.
The book was edited by Durward Campbell and Chuck Milner, and designed by Wayne Beadles, Duward Campbell, and Mark Hartsfield,
The book complements the 1997 collection of J. B. Allen's work, The Medicine Keepers, which was designed by Mark Hartsfield and Duward Campbell and edited by Andy Wilkinson, with an introduction by Buck Ramsey. The Medicine Keepers received the prestigious Western Heritage Award for Poetry from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
JB — the circle is available for $25 postpaid from Duward Campbell, 2515 Second St, Lubbock, TX 79415.
[Thanks to Jay Snider for the initial information about this book]
California poet Vince Pedroia's book, A Mano, earns high praise from Paul Zarzyski:
"From the free verse romp of his 'Prince Valiant Of The West' paying crude, rude tribute to brutal truth; from his empathetic celebration of sweat-'n'-callus white-collar migrant worker lives in the title piece; from the fanciful narrative of 'Black Magic,' a metered and rhymed genuine-article Cowboy Poem complete with a saddlebag full of clamorous shenanigans building toward its bunkhouse-bard punchline; from these varied sensibilities to the demonstratively personal, poignant, and courageous ponderings in his poem so precisely titled 'Pause,' Vince Pedroia exhibits a multi-faceted finesse in most every tapestry of verse he weaves from the finest fleece. Moreover (and you bet, he DOES merit mixed metaphors), Vince is a master at distilling the short story—hell, sometimes the veritable novella!—down into the 200 proof elixir-of-the-grappa-gods we call poetry. A Mano is a book built by both heart and hand—the fine guitar bowed to in the poem 'Partnership.' Read this work aloud. Enunciate each syllable. Assimilate every nuance. Sip from Vince Pedroia's pool and stroll away healthier, more soulful, and far more human."
The book includes 20 original poems, vintage photos, family photos, and contemporary photos by Vince Pedroia and his wife Trisha and others. The handsome volume is carefully designed and printed by BK Publications of Eagle, Idaho, and is already in its second printing.
A Mano is available for $20 postpaid from Trisha Pedroia, 13799 Occidental Rd., Sebastopol, CA 95472, firstname.lastname@example.org. A companion CD (read about that below) is available for $20 postpaid. You can order the book and CD together for $25 postpaid.
The official release of Bill Siems' long-awaited volume, Open Range; Collected Poems of Bruce Kiskaddon, was announced at an exciting session at the recent Western Folklife Center's 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Surely the most important contemporary cowboy poetry book publication in recent times, this monumental 600-page work includes Bruce Kiskaddon's entire poetic output (481 poems); extensive illustrations (including 323 line drawings by Katherine Field, Amber Dunkerley, and others); biographical and historical introductions; prefaces by Hal Cannon, Waddie Mitchell, and Lynn Held; rare photographs, and more.
The collection, which Bill Siems has worked on for over four years, follows his impressive 2004 book, Bruce Kiskaddon, Shorty's Yarns, the first collection of Kiskaddon's short stories. See our feature about Bruce Kiskaddon here, and our feature about Shorty's Yarns here.
Read Jeri Dobrowski's Cowboy Jam Session column here for additional information about Open Range.
After the outstanding session about Open Range at National Cowboy Poetry Gathering—which included recitations of Kiskaddon poems by modern master reciters including Joel Nelson, Randy Rieman, Ross Knox, and others—a nearly block-long line of people queued for the opportunity to have Bill Siems autograph copies of this important work.
Open Range has been produced in a numbered, limited edition of 300 copies, which are available for $125 until February 28, 2007, when the price will be $150. There is also a limited edition of 26 leather bound books. (Through the generosity of a Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry/CowboyPoetry.com supporter and Bill Siems, we'll have a silent auction of one of the limited leather-bound editions of the book, along with other donated, rare Kiskaddon books, in March. We also look forward to posting extended feature about the book.)
Read more about Open Range, view excerpts and the table of contents, and find order information at the Open Range web site.
See our feature about the book here.
South Dakota poet and leatherworker Slim McNaught has a new book of poetry, Reflections of a Cowboy Poet, with fifteen poems and his original illustrations (see the list of contents here). Slim, raised on a ranch in the Badlands country on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwest South Dakota, dedicates the book, "...to the memory of our ancestors who came up the trail and settled this land with their herds..."
Reflections of a Cowboy Poet is available for $7.50 postpaid from Slim's web site or by mail: Slim McNaught, P.O. Box 274, New Underwood, SD 57761; 605-754-6103.
Read some of Slim's poetry at his web site, including more about the book and a sample page here, and read more of his poetry here at the BAR-D.
Popular Texas poet Rod Nichols has a new book, Drover Diaries, which includes 76 previously unpublished poems. In the book's introduction, Rod writes, "... In the following pages you will find tales of humor, drama and faith as you ride along the trail." Read the entire introduction here.
Drover Diaries is available for $16.95 from Rod Nichols. Email him to order: email@example.com
Minnesota rancher Diane Tribitt's book, Trail Mix, is now available. The 304 page book includes "original cowboy poetry, cowboy lingo, cowboy sayings, poker terminology, rodeo terminology, Native American tribes and sayings, and real working-ranch pictures."
Diane's work and the book have earned praise. South Dakota rancher and poet Ken Cook comments:
"If you ever have the opportunity to attend a cowboy poetry gathering and Diane is performing...sit near the front...and take a deep seat because you are in for a memorable ride. Ranching is not an easy life, but Diane captures its heartfelt reality and unending humor in her poetry. Poems from the heart have a tendency to reach mine and Diane's poetry does just that."
Colorado singer and songwriter Will Dudley writes:
"Diane Tribitt is an amazing poet. Her strength of character and dedication to the cowboy way of life has won her friends and fans across the country. With her crystal writing style, using themes common to modern American cowboys, her poems are as clear to me as the oil on the canvases of Charlie Russell."
more at Diane Tribitt's web site, www.dianetribitt.com,
available for $17.95 postpaid (or by email Tribitt@brainerd.net,
phone 888-410-7774; or by mail by check or money order: Diane Tribitt, 38034 193rd Street
Hillman, MN 56338.
New in 2007: Cowboy Poetry recordings, CDs and DVDs
America's best-known cowboy poet, Baxter Black,
has a new double CD, Blazin' Bloats & Cows on FIRE!. From the official description:
This double CD set is Baxter's latest audio collection of cowboy poetry
and tall tales taken from his book by the same name. The title should give
you a clue that it's not about the lonesome pine, the Red River Valley or
the cattle call, unless they are on fire, flooded or stampeding like
lemmings! It includes favorites such as "Women Wearing Chaps," "Sixty Foot Rope,"
"Blazin' Bloats," and "Lucky to be an American." Visit Baxter Black's
web site for the entire track list. You'll find Christmas specials
and many features at the site, including an audio message from Baxter
himself. Posted 12/3
It also features never-before-recorded versions of Baxter Black classics not found in the book, such as, "I Know You'll Miss This Man," "The Flag," and "Cowboy's Document of Contrition." Many selections were recorded at a live performance...over 2 hours of cowboy hilarity!
This double CD set is Baxter's latest audio collection of cowboy poetry and tall tales taken from his book by the same name. The title should give you a clue that it's not about the lonesome pine, the Red River Valley or the cattle call, unless they are on fire, flooded or stampeding like lemmings!
It includes favorites such as "Women Wearing Chaps," "Sixty Foot Rope,"
"Blazin' Bloats," and "Lucky to be an American."
Visit Baxter Black's web site for the entire track list. You'll find Christmas specials and many features at the site, including an audio message from Baxter himself.
"Strike" and "duck" and "Pat Richardson" have probably been used in the same breath more than once. The title of Pat Richardson's new CD, Pat Richardson Strikes Again with Duckin' the Law and Many More, gives a good warning of what is to come in this collection of 16 previously unrecorded original poems (two are by his brother, Jess Howard, and there is one collaboration by Pat and Jess). "Original" is the right word for Pat's work and his muted, deadpan delivery. He has no match when it comes to humor, and no reciter doing his material (something he discourages) can reproduce the hilarity of his powerful, side-splitting affect on audiences.
Known as "the bad boy of cowboy poetry," Pat Richardson's newest CD is full of the poems that deliver on that promise. No one is safe and nothing is sacred, with most of the pointed jabs directed at cowboys—or himself. What makes him such a pro is that he's not just funny, he is also a master of metaphors, colorful adjectives, meter and rhyme, and, full of surprises. He works harder than most on the editing and refining of his work. His friend Baxter Black, however, may not have been referring to that when he commented, "If you boiled cowboy poetry down to what's worth savin', this is what the stew would smell like."
"A Friend in Need" is an example of twisted cowboy compassion, "Cowboy Logic" is a look at the breed from women's point of view, "Henry the Cook" evokes the same sort of graphic groaners and descriptive assaults on the senses as Pat Richardson's infamous poem, "The Donner Party." Long-time fans will welcome another Benny Meyers story ("The Lover") and another assault on his friend and frequent target, popular North Dakota poet Rodney Nelson ("Repulsive Trophy").
"Bigfoot," which will be included on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 3 (2008) from CowboyPoetry.com, is an inventive and wacky windy about the creature who shows up at the cabin door with a splinter, which the narrator pulls out with his shoeing nippers. Bigfoot speaks with a lisp. "Mississippi gave him problems with all the esses it contained, and he'd dribble little spitballs on his fur; I tried tongue depressors, enemas, and books by Baxter Black, but I never seemed to come up with a cure." The rest of the story is as unpredictable as the poker hands the beast draws.
Jess Howard's comical and inventive "Uncle Ned" is a story out of the brothers' colorful and dysfunctional family, the rich source for a number of Richardson/Howard tales, and Jess Howard's "Duckin' the Law" is a frequently-requested favorite of audiences. A strange sibling harmony makes the co-written "Zeke and the Bull" sing in its own outrageous strangeness. As a bonus, the real music comes from another generation, in introductory and final music by Pat Richardson's talented grandson, Brandon Richardson.
Pat Richardson comes across so comfortably reciting and introducing his poems, that he makes a listener feel like they are sharing barstools in some friendly, broken down cowboy saloon. Pat spent plenty of time in such places. He was born and raised with livestock, he rode colts, rodeoed, cartooned for The Pro Rodeo Sports News, and did his share of ranch work. He's an impressive artist and has produced other award-winning CDs and his book, Pat Richardson Unhobbled, Cowboy Poetry, Stories, and Outright Lies received the Will Rogers Medallion award.
These days he's found at the top gatherings and events, and is a frequently invited performer to the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. When you're not in his audience, Pat Richardson Strikes Again with Duckin' the Law and Many More is the newest, next-best-thing to being there.
Pat Richardson Strikes Again with Duckin' the Law and Many More is available for $18, postpaid from Pat Richardson; 562 Breeze Avenue; Merced, California 95348; 209/722-4612; www.PatRichardson.com.
Minnesota rancher Diane Tribitt's second CD, Ranchin' Rhymes, is now available. She describes the CD:
Ranchin’ Rhymes includes 16 tracks (14 originals as well as 2 recited poems that were written by Mountain Memories cowboy author and poet James Whilt) as well as one song track as an introduction to a cowboy friend( Paul Larson) from South Dakota performing “The One I Never Could Ride” by R. W. Hampton. Most all of the tracks are set to either music or audio clips (or both!) that will put you smack-dab in the middle of cowboy country, no matter where you are!
Diane has been invited to the Western Folklife Center's 2008 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in January, for her first appearance on the Elko stage.
California's Jim Cardwell has a new CD, Five Silver Dollars, described as "music, poetry, and opinion." The CD, his second, includes six songs (five original) and five original poems (see the complete track list here). In his acknowledgements, Jim thanks "Euriah and Elizabeth Jones (1840s) for having the vision to homestead in Iowa when the prairie was still inhabited mostly by buffalo; Velma Cardwell (1934) for moving her family to California when the dust bowl required that she do so..." along with his family, co-workers, and friends.
Five Silver Dollars is available for $14 postpaid from Froggie Lane Productions, PO Box 5282, Oroville, CA 95966, or e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pieces of the Past, a new CD from South Dakota's Yvonne Hollenbeck pays tribute to the lives of pioneer women. Yvonne is the Western Music Association (WMA) Female Poet of the Year, and as the CD title hints, some of the poems draw on another of her celebrated talents: her quilt making and her knowledge of the craft's history. Enriching the fabric of the project, the CD weaves kindred songs among the poems from award-winning Texas singer and songwriter Jean Prescott.The poems flow into the songs, and the entire effort results in a fresh and warm wholesomeness. It is the voice of the Heartland, with an emphasis on the "heart."
There are new poems, as well as favorites such as "The Red Geranium" (often recited by Red Steagall), "The Christmas Quilt," and "The Old Home Comfort Range." Two of the songs are collaborations between Jean Prescott and Yvonne Hollenbeck, including the award-winning "How Far is Lonesome," which received the 2006 Best Collaboration of Poet and Musician award from the Western Music Association (WMA) and "Her Feet Would Rock the Cradle." Jean sings the works of other top songwriters, too, including Andy Wilkinson and Steve Spurgin. See the entire track list here
The selections will please both regular fans of both of these top artists, as it will those who have the opportunity to view Yvonne Hollenbeck's traveling trunk show, Five Generations of Quilts. The show includes her family quilts and stories and poems inspired by her ancestors and other pioneer women of the Plains. The show has been offered at many venues, festivals, and cowboy poetry gatherings, including the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, Wet Mountain Western Days, the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and the Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival.
The stunning CD package design—both inside and out—by Jeri Dobrowski incorporates quilts from the unique show. Yvonne has won countless awards for her quilts, including ribbons and "best of show" honors. As the liner notes tell, the interior quilt images, with their fine stitching, are "the reverse of Yvonne's masterpiece, 'Pansies for Mama.' Done entirely by hand, it was created as a tribute to her mother, who taught her to quilt and who loves pansies. It is comprised of 5,600 pieces and took 17 months to complete." The cover's crazy quilt "dates to 1900. The initials stand for the maker, Matia Hanson, Yvonne's great-grandmother. Matia emigrated from Norway as a young bride, settled on a Campbell County, South Dakota homestead." Even the disc is decorated as carefully as the quilts are stitched, with its treasured family thimble and antique scissors displayed on a handmade quilt.
The CD is available for $18.50 postpaid from Yvonne Hollenbeck, 30549 291st Street, Clearfield, South Dakota 57580, 605/557-3559, www.YvonneHollenbeck.com.
Nona Kelley Carver's inspirational Christmas CD, When the Cowboys Came for Christmas, has 17 poems of faith, including “A Soldier’s Christmas” and “Christmas on the Oregon Trail.” When the Cowboys Came for Christmas is available for $16 postpaid from Carver Country Poetry, P.O. Box 115, Mesa, CO 81643.
Nona Kelley Carver's Potbellied Pete & Luley Belle CD is a series of 17 poems about the bunk house cook and the local school marm. Nona reports, "This series got rave reviews when it was printed as a serial story in the Plateau Valley Times. Only then, the folks had to wait for the next paper to read the next poem!" Potbellied Pete & Luley Belle (46 minutes) is available for $16 postpaid from Carver Country Poetry, P.O. Box 115, Mesa, CO 81643.
Read more about Nona Kelley Carver and some of her poetry in here at the BAR-D.
Poet, traditional reciter, and storyteller
Ross Knox' new CD,
Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day, includes classics and his
original poetry, an impressive showcase of the best of the hundred-plus
poems he has committed to memory. Ross Knox was an invited performer to
the Western Folklife
Center's first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985, and been
featured at almost every gathering since. He will return for the 2008
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
Ross Knox—cowboy, horseshoer, and mule packer—was raised on a small cow outfit in Central Oregon, and left home when he was about 16, headed to Northern Nevada and later to Yellowstone. The CD liner notes tell that he was inspired by Gail Gardner's "The Sierry Petes" and "The Dude Wrangler, and "began writing poetry as a young ranch hand because it was a way to occupy his time when he was alone for three months at the Juniper line camp of Idaho's YP ranch." He has cowboyed across the West and spent 15 years as head packer at the Grand Canyon, longer than any other packer (an estimated more than 40,000 miles into and out of the Grand Canyon) mainly to supply the Phantom Ranch. He now works for the Saguaro National Park packing supplies into the Manning Camp for the fire and trail crews.
Most of the 15 tracks are introduced with Ross Knox' engaging stories, and the cuts include his recitations of classics by S. Omar Barker ("Bear Hunters Bold"), Bruce Kiskaddon ("When Buck Conners Rode Rep for the Lord," "Silver Bells and Golden Spurs," The Old Nighthawk," and "The Long Eared Bull"), Curly Fletcher ("The Flying Outlaw"), D.J. O'Malley, "The D2 Horse Wrangler," and Robert Service, "The Cremation of Sam McGee"; modern "classics" by Joel Nelson ("Charles Goodnight's Dream") and Baxter Black ("The Legacy of a Rodeo Man"); four of his own poems, "Memories," "Man's Best Friend," "Easy Chairs and Saddle Sores," "The Final Ride of Freeman McBride"; and more.
Ross Knox' recitation of
"The D2 Horse Wrangler" by D.J. O'Malley
is included on
The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three
The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three
Read more about Ross Knox in our feature here.
Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day is available for $18 postpaid from Ross Knox, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail, Tucson, AZ 85730.
Updated in 2008
Cowboy (a term she prefers), rancher, poet, National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductee, and Western treasure Georgie Sicking has a new CD, To Be a Top Hand. The CD includes her recitation of fifteen of her original poems, and Gail I. Gardner's "Moonshine Steer" (see the complete track list here).
A quote from Georgie appears on the back of the CD, "To be a cowgirl is more than just fluff and stuff. You have to do your share of the work, kill your own snakes, never complain, mount up even when you know you may get bucked off, and all the while being more of a lady at work than when you are at home."
A real cowboy, Georgie Sicking earned the title and the respect with hard work and unflagging determination, and she raised a family while doing it. Horseback since age two, she has been honored by the Nevada Cattleman's Association for having spent "100,000 Miles on Horseback."
Georgie Sicking, now 86, was invited to the first National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, has returned many times since, and is again an invited performer in 2008.
Read more about her and some of her poetry in our feature here.
To Be a Top Hand, produced and recorded by Andy Nelson, is available for $18 postpaid from Georgie Sicking, PO Box 11, Kaycee, WY 82639.
Sandy Seaton's Montana Legacy CD includes 13 original poems, some accompanied by her vocals, including "They Call the Wind Maria," "Night Rider's Lament," and "I Ride an Old Paint." See the complete track list here .
From the official description:
Listening to the moaning whip of the "Wind" or the howl of a newborn pup in "The Wolf", Sandy Seaton's Montana Legacy CD is a saga of the West. From the true story of Cattle Kate in "Code of the West," the legend of the Crazy Mountains in "Mountain Madness," or Sandy's own hilarious wilderness adventures in "Pack Trippin'," you will experience the past and the present with her heartfelt delivery. Travel through her family tree with "Grandma's Gift," or share her childhood misadventures in "Six Mule Hitch." Craig Hall backs many of Sandy's original poems and historical song with his incredible guitar picking. Montana Legacy was produced and mastered by Emmy nominated Gil Stober's Peak Recording in Bozeman, Montana.
Montana poet and writer Gwen Petersen reviewed Montana Legacy in her "In a Sow's Ear" column in The Fence Post. Read the entire review here at the BAR-D.
Sandy Seaton Sallee writes and rides from her home in Paradise Valley, Montana. Sandy grew up in Yellowstone National Park, where she rode horseback among the elk and drove four-up stagecoaches. After cowboying in New Mexico, she returned to her native Montana where she met her future husband, Scott, in a wilderness hunting camp. Sandy and Scott now own and operate Black Mountain Outfitters , a wilderness and ranch outfitting business. They also raise and train hound dogs, horses, and mules.Sandy has been an invited performer at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering five times (and will return in 2008) and is also featured at the Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival in December, 2007.
Read more about Sandy Seaton and some of her poetry in our feature here .
Montana Legacy is available for $17 postpaid from: Sandy Seaton, P.O. Box 117, Emigrant, MT 59027; (406)222-7455; BlackMtn2@aol.com; www.blackmountainoutfitters.com
Popular Utah poet and Lariat Laureate Brenda "Sam" DeLeeuw has a new CD, Spreadin' Sunshine.
Spreadin' Sunshine includes 16 original poems, both old favorites and new poems. See the entire track list here . The CD's photography is by Lori Faith Merritt (www.photographybyfaith.com).
Sam is the past president of the Cowboy
Poets of Utah, and is now serving on its Board of Directors. She is a
member of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho, Cowboy Poets of Wind River, the Utah
Chapter of the
Music Association (WMA) and was one of five finalists
for the WMA Female Poet for 2006. Sam won three of four events in the Western
Legends Poetry Rodeo in Kanab, Utah, held in August of 2006 and was named
the 2006 Silver Buckle Category winner.
She will be a featured poet at the Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering in Sierra Vista in February of 2007 and a featured poet at the Cedar City Cowboy Gathering in Utah in March of 2007.
Read more about Sam DeLeeuw and some of her poetry in our feature here.
Spreadin' Sunshine is a vailable
for $18 postpaid from Sam DeLeeuw, 5579 South 2800 West Roy, Utah 84067;
California poet Susan Parker's new CD, She Rode a Wild Horse, includes her original poems and others by S. Omar Barker, Dee Strickland Johnson, Elizabeth Ebert, Sally Bates, Virginia Bennett, Henry Herbert Knibbs, and Will Ogilvie. See the entire track list here.
Susan Parker was chosen to perform at the
California Rodeo Cowboy Poetry
Gathering in Salinas in July, with Red Steagall,
and Belinda Gail, Sourdough Slim,and
Pat Richardson. She was a standout from the gathering's 2006 open mike
performers. It's a gathering tradition to choose a poet or musician from the
event's popular open performances (delivered from the main stage to the full
event audience) to be featured the following year. She also looks forward
to taking part in the
Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in Hot Springs, South Dakota
The CD was produced by Open Path Music, and each track is accompanied by their inspired music. Performers include Renata Bratt, Jason Lewis, Charles Littleleaf, Tim Volpicella, Scott Sorkin, and Gordon Stevens.
The CD's photography and stunning design is by Jeri L. Dobrowski.
Read more about Susan Parker and some of her poetry here .
She Rode a Wild Horse is available for $18.00 postpaid from Susan Parker, P.O. Box 865, Benicia, CA 94510, www.susanparkerpoet.com.
In 1988, Audrey attended her first gathering, which was also the Arizona Cowboy Poets' first gathering. Ten years later, she received the gathering’s prestigious Gail I. Gardner Award. This year, she’s a featured performer on the twentieth anniversary stage. Audrey Hankins has also received the Will Rogers Top Female Poet Award from the Academy of Western Artists.
Read more about Audrey Hankins and some of her poetry here.First Light is available for $17 postpaid, from Audrey Hankins, P.O. Box 688, Congress, AZ 85332.
Monty Moncrief Teel has a new CD, A Country Kid Looks Back, on which he recites poetry co-written by James Terry. An additional CD by the same name includes the soundtrack from the poetry CD, which includes musicians Dave Alexander, Ginny Mac, Devon Dawson, and others.
Each CD is available for $20 postpaid from Monty Moncrief Teel, PO Box 992, Euless, TX 76039. Read more and find additional order information here at his web site.
California poet Vince Pedroia has released a companion CD for his recent book, A Mano. (Read more about the book above, including the high praise from Paul Zarzyski).
The CD includes Vince Pedroia's distinctive recitations of all of the poems in the book, and well-selected music by Mark McDonald. (The book includes 20 original poems, vintage photos, family photos, and contemporary photos by Vince Pedroia and his wife Trisha and others.)
The A Mano CD is available for $20 postpaid from Trisha Pedroia, 13799 Occidental Rd., Sebastopol, CA 95472, email@example.com. The book is also $20 postpaid; you can order the book and CD together for $25 postpaid.
Andy Nelson's newest CD, Full Nelson Shoeing, is a perfect showcase of his talents. The CD is filled with poetry, "politically incorrect short poems," and some of the humorous commentary that keeps him in demand as an emcee--some recorded with live with audiences. Some poems are backed up by the impressive musical talents of Rich O'Brien, and there's the occasional "just right" touch of sound effects. Material ranges from contemplative to knee-slapping. Best known for his wild humor, and the majority of pieces tilt in that direction, there are also poems that show Andy Nelson's more serious side, with an emphasis on the things that are most important to this well-liked performer: his family and his way of life. (His oldest son, Dylan Nelson, shares the stage on "That's Not What I Said.") The well-designed package includes comic cover art by acclaimed cartoonist Daryl Reed and excellent photography by Stuart Johnson.
Andy Nelson was recently named the Western Music Association (WMA) Male Poet of the Year. He is also the co-host of Clear Out West (C. O. W.) radio, with his brother Jim Nelson (who likes to describe himself as "the better looking half of the full Nelson").
You can listen to the title track, "Full Nelson Shoeing," at Andy Nelson's web site, where you can listen to other tracks from his previous CDs, find his schedule, and order Full Nelson Shoeing for $18 postpaid from www.CowpokePoet.com, PO Box 1547, Pinedale, WY 82941; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Utah poet Stan Tixier's new CD, An Average Lookin' Mule, contains 20 original poems. See the entire track list here and read some of Stan Tixier's poetry here.
An Average Lookin' Mule is available for $10 postpaid: Stan Tixier, 5538 E. 2300 N., Eden, Utah 84310 801/745-4121 email
Nevada poet Hal Swift's new CD, Holiday Poems by Hal Swift, contains 24 poems, celebrating 11 holidays: 4th of July, Christmas, Easter, Fathers' Day, Halloween, Memorial Day, New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, Saint Patrick's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Veterans' Day. See the entire track list and read some of the poems here.
Holiday Poems by Hal Swift is available for $10 postpaid:Hal Swift, 632 #1 Pine Meadows Drive, Sparks, NV 89431
The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two (2007) is CowboyPoetry.com's compilation of contemporary recordings of some of today's best classic and contemporary cowboy poetry.
This second annual CD includes Badger Clark's vintage recording of his first published poem, "Ridin'"; recent poems considered modern classics, recited by their authors, including "The Breaker in the Pen" by Joel Nelson and "The Horse Trade" by the late Sunny Hancock; noted reciters
The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two CD includes a radio Public Service (PSA) Announcement by poet, humorist, and radio host Andy Nelson (listen below). Andy Nelson engineered and co-produced both the 2006 and 2007 editions of The BAR-D Roundup.
See detailed track descriptions with references in the on-line liner notes here.
The stunning cover for 2007 is a photo of poet Virginia Bennett's father-in-law, Orville Bennett, Texas cowboy, 1920. Inside, there's a photo of South Dakota rancher and poet Ken Cook and his sons.
Read more and find order information here.
New in 2007: Mixed Cowboy Poetry and Music Recordings
The Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival has released their 2005 Best of Event CD, filled with top performances from the popular event. The CD includes 16 tracks featuring: Dave Stamey and Virginia Bennett performing together, his "McGee Creek" and her poem, "As You Ride"; Don Edwards doing "Ghost Train": Paul Zarzyski performing his poem, "Of Man and Mouse"; Chris Isaacs, reciting his poem, "Michael Bia"; Dee Strickland Johnson (Buckshot Dot) doing "A Family Story"; Waddie Mitchell reciting Robert Service's "The Cremation of Sam McGee"; R. W. Hampton singing "Sunset Trail" and "The Ballad of Hazel O'Neil"; and more from Valerie O'Brien; Riders in the Sky;the late Charley Hendren; Richard Chon & Rich O'Brien; Cowbop; Oscar Auker; Henry Real Bird; and Prickly Pair.
See the entire track list here. The CD is available for $20 plus postage from the Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival web site.
See our feature about the festival here.
Tom and Donna Hatton present songs and poems in their new Silver Shadows CD, where they beckon listeners to "Let us take you to another time, another place ...where ... 'all that's left are memories written on a page..." The Hattons wrote most of the songs and poems, and there are two songs written by Marvin O'Dell, and one with music co-written by Jon Messenger. Ernie Martinez and Jon Chandler provide backup in music and vocals. See the entire track list here.
The Hatton's previous CD, Whispers of Voices, received the Academy of Western Artists' Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year award in 2005.
Silver Shadows is available for $15 postpaid from White Owl Productions, 230 Ute Trail, Woodland Park, CO 80863.
The non-profit Giving Back Foundation, started by Montana horse trainer, poet, and musician T. J. Casey and his wife Marcie, was originally formed to help ranchers and farmers affected by the 2006 blizzards, drought, and fires, nationwide. The organization's work continues, helping farmers and ranchers from
Canadato Texasand California and east. Additional support for the Foundation comes from the Montana Stockgrowers Association, the Northern Ag Network, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Martin Guitar and others.
As a part of their fundraising, the Foundation has produced a 2-disc CD that includes the following tracks donated by Western poets and musicians:
"Just Call Him Cowboy" by Eli Barsi & Doris Daley
"It's Just the Way I Am" by T. J. Casey
"Paint Her Real" by Donnie Blanz
"This Risk That I Take" by Bill Clark & Salt Creek
"Heaven Knows I've Tried" by Jeff Gore
"One More Chance" by Geff Dawson
"Born to Be a Cowboy" by R. W. Hampton
"200 Years" by Rusty Feathers
"No Mares" by Kail Mantle
"Countin' Cows" by Terry Henderson
"The Mountains Keep Calling Me Home" by Dan Miller
"Blue & Lonesome" by Open Range
"Cold, Broke & Hungry" by Ken Overcast
"Gather Around the Campfire" by Sam Noble
"The Old Shallow Crossing" by Palo Duro
"Jose' Tresierra" by Mike Puhallo
"The Ranchin' Life's OK" by Jim Reader
"Old Cowboys" by Delbert Shields
"Fencin' Blues" by Ringling 5
"Of Horses and Men" by Jay Snider
"Cowboy" by Sisters of the Silver Sage
"The Rain" by Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns
"A Cowboy's Promise" by RJ Vandygriff
"Lotta" by Margaret Wilhelm
"Brave & The Free" by Barry Ward
The CD is available for $24.95 from www.ranchersandfarmers.org, 406/442-3420, or directly from the Giving Back Foundation, c/o Montana Stockgrowers Association, 420 North California St., Helena, MT 59601.
New in 2007: Western Music recordings
From the first strains of the overture in Oklahoma...Where the West Remains!, listeners are swept into the state's colorful, vast, and varied history. Created in part in celebration of Oklahoma's 100 years of statehood, the CD is a "journey in story and song," featuring R.W. Hampton, Rich O'Brien, and Oklahoma's Enid Symphony Orchestra.
The inspired production takes listeners along the Cherokee trail, introduces them to cowboys, Native Americans, and Buffalo Soldiers; looks into trail drive, ranching, and rodeo life; celebrates favorite sons including Will Rogers and Bob Wills; and the journey continues, up to the present day. This is no dry history.
R.W. Hampton sets the tone as heintroduces the people and the state, "...made up mostly of folks who were lookin' to be somewhere else... a refuge and melting pot Native Americans, immigrants of all kinds for outlaws, in-laws, former slaves and just about every other group that you can imagine. All with one thing in mind: new beginnings." The tales and songs are compelling, and the whole project is cinematic in mood and vision, treating listeners to a rich and entertaining real Western experience.
Oklahoma writer, musician, and attorney and Oklahoma native Edna Mae Holden—descended from four generations of Oklahoma ranchers— conceived the project. She worked for three years with Rich O'Brien, R.W. Hampton, and Douglas Newell, the Music Director of the Enid Symphony Orchestra, and others to, as she writes, "convert 'Where the West Remains' from a little melody that was just bouncing around in my head." Edna Mae Holden has recorded an album of original cowboy music (These Canyon Walls); published articles in Cowboy Magazine, Western Horseman, and Persimmon Hill; and served on the Working Ranch Cowboys Association board and currently serves on the board of the National Ranching Heritage Center.
The production, chosen as an official Oklahoma Centennial Commission event, includes songs and music written by Edna Mae Holden, Rich O'Brien, R.W. Hampton, Tim Spencer, Cindy Walker, and others (see the entire track list here in our feature about R.W. Hampton). R.W. Hampton delivers the moving narrative presentation and songs, and his entrancing voice is backed up by the music of Rich O'Brien and the Chisholm Trail String Band and the Enid Symphony Orchestra. A highlight of the recording is a new version of R. W. Hampton's award-winning "For the Freedom," performed with the Enid Symphony. (You can listen to the entire song at R.W. Hampton's MySpace site).
A performance of Oklahoma... Where The West Remains was presented November 18, 2007 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The "Where the West Remains" web site has more information about the production.
The Oklahoma...Where the West Remains! CD is available for $20 from R.W. Hampton's web site, where there's additional information.
Top singer and songwriter Dave Stamey has two CDs released in 2007:
It's Just a State of Mind; Live at Tales from the Tavern, is the next best thing to being at a Dave Stamey concert. Recorded live at California's Taproom at Firestone Walker with top-quality audio, the CD captures all of the energy of Dave Stamey's performances, and includes some of his best and best-known songs, such as "It's the West," "Buckaroo Man," "Montana," "If I Only Had a Horse," "The Bandit Joaquin," and eight other songs. The lively recording showcases the breadth of his diverse work, his skillful songwriting, his off-beat humor, his serious scholarship, his dazzling musicianship, and his love of the West. The recording leaves no question about why Dave Stamey has received so many top awards (including the 2007 Western Music Association (WMA) Top Songwriter and Top Male Vocalist, and the organization's 2006 Entertainer of the Year, and others).
Old Friends includes classics, traditional songs, and more: familiar favorites such as "Cattle Call," "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," "Ghost Riders in the Sky," and "The Colorado Trail"; lesser known songs such as "Dusty Winds," sung by Marty Robbins on an obscure recording; and Dave Stamey's own "Dan Was a Packer." The liner notes include informative descriptions for each of the 12 tracks, illustrative of the care and knowledge that goes into all of Dave Stamey's work.
Visit Dave Stamey's web site, www.DaveStamey.com for complete track lists, more information, and for ordering.
Herds, Horses & Song is the latest release by the popular duo, Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue. The CD is a varied collection of classics (such as "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky," "Cool Water," and "You are My Sunshine"); songs by today's top songwriters (Ian Tyson's "The Gift," and Jack Hannah's "Trail Drive"); their own compositions and those by others (including "Come Riding with Me" by poet Clark Crouch). You can listen to all of the CD's songs here at their web site (along with the songs from their previous CDs, Whoopie Ti Yi Trail and Ridin' & Wranglin').
Nevada Slim and Cimarron Sue appeared at 112 county fairs in 2007. Their liner notes tell:
... part of the work, and the dream, is to pass on western history and tradition through song. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of what we do is returning to a fair or festival and hearing children singing along on the classics, where only adults had sung the year before. Another great joy is meeting and working with western musicians and poets who inspire us with their efforts and ideas. Herds, Horses & Song is for all of you who build and celebrate the dream—and the reality—of the west.
Herds, Horses & Song is available from CD Baby or by mail directly from Nevada Slim and Cimarron Sue for $12.95: Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue, 8780 Hart Road, Prescott, WA 99348. Visit their web site, www.nevadaslim.com for their performance schedule and more.
Christmas for Cowboys by Wylie Gustafson (of Wylie & the Wild West) brims with singular spirit. The thoughtfully chosen traditional songs are delivered with inspired reverence, dazzling style, and, of course, a bit of yodeling. Wylie's masterful interpretations of familiar and lesser known songs shine with the true joy, grace, and meaning of the season. Selections include "Go Tell it on the Mountain," "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," "Silent Night," "In the Bleak Midwinter," and six others (see the entire track list here). At Wylie's web site, you can listen to track samples and find order information for Christmas for Cowboys.
Montana poet, songwriter, and photographer John Reedy has an impressive CD of fresh Americana music, Twisted Vignettes. The CD includes original songs and his renditions of songs by Merle Haggard, Tom Russell and Paul Zarzyski, and others. (See the entire track list here and lyrics for two of the original songs here).
John Reedy's poetry of Western life is collected, along with his photography, in an accompanying book, Twisted Vignettes: Poems and Photographs. (See the contents list here and one of the poems here).
Read more about John and his music and poetry in our feature here.
The Twisted Vignettes CD is available for $13.00 postpaid from www.TwistedCowboy.com; the Twisted Vignettes: Poems and Photographs book is available for $15.00 postpaid from www.TwistedCowboy.com. A Limited Edition Set of the CD and book is available for $25.00 postpaid from www.TwistedCowboy.com.
Western Jubilee Recording Company showcases the best of the best in its new compilation CD, Warehouse Tracks; Ten Years (1996-2006), which collects performances at "the Warehouse," home of the recording company. Proprietor Scott O'Malley describes the setting in the liner notes:
"A few blocks east of downtown Colorado Springs at the end of a dead end street, next to an old forgotten railroad yard, sits Western Jubilee Recording Company. Originally an 1887 Santa Fe Freight House, in recent years this railroad landmark has become a welcoming place for recording sessions and very special private music gatherings. Friends playing music for friends because they want to. Many of the artists who have performed their world class music in this old well-loved building are represented on Warehouse Tracks..."
Photos in the liner notes illustrate the producers' description of the venue, "Inside the warehouse is a small intimate theater with red velvet upholstered seats. The walls are decorated with guitars, paintings, and quilts from time gone by." (See some of those photos at CowboysintheSky.com, where other Warehouse tracks are available for download.)
Don Edwards comments, "I feel privileged and honored to have been the one who strummed the first note and sang the first song at the first ever Warehouse Concert. This is an important piece of history which I hope will continue for decades to come."
Warehouse Tracks has 15 choice selections by top talents, including Don Edwards ("Red River Valley"), Wylie & the Wild West ("Cattle Call"), Juni Fisher, (I Will Miss Ireland Forever), R. W. Hampton ("Don't Tell Me"), Waddie Mitchell ("The Whole Load"), Sons of the San Joaquin ("There's a Rainbow Over the Range"), Skip Gorman ("Jack of Diamonds/Black Mountain Blues"); Norman Blake and Rich O'Brien ("The Old Spinning Wheel"), Peter Rowan ("The Raven"), Cowboy Celtic ("Leaving Stoer"), and others.
(Read Rick Huff's recent review of the CD here at CowboyPoetry.com.)
You can sample tracks and find more information at the Western Jubilee web site, where Warehouse Tracks; Ten Years (1996-2006, is available for $15 plus postage.
Oklahoma singer and songwriter Kevin Davis has an impressive new release, Every Horse I Ever Rode, that's "pure cowboy." Produced by top songwriter Luke Reed, whose song is the title track, the CD also includes two other of his works, Kevin Davis' original songs, and songs by Red Steagall ("Underneath a Wide Texas Sky"), Roger Brown, and Clay Baker. Some outstanding musicians back up Kevin Davis , including Ginny Mac and Dave Alexander, and it all makes for one of those rare CDs you find yourself listening to again and again. Stay tuned for our feature on Kevin Davis.
Every Horse I Ever Rode is $16.50 postpaid, available from: Kevin Davis, P. O. Box 131, Walters, OK 73572.
The crowd-pleasing Horse Crazy (Lauralee Northcott, Emele Clothier, and Nadine Van Hees), the Northwest's cowgirl band, has a new CD, Western Moon. From their announcement:
We are excited to present our newest collection of music. We developed these arrangements over the last year by performing and modifying, in an effort to get them just right! One of our favorites is "Eastside Cascades," because it takes the listener on a tour of eastern Washington and features all our voices. "Western Moon," written by Nadine, not only takes you on a trip to her particular home, it also lets Emele and me share our love of rural life. "You Put the Gentle Back in Gentlemen," speaks for itself; this one is a treasure and has been the most requested song for quite a while. There are also some standards in the collection like "Shenandoah" and "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," which we have branded with our harmonies. "Black Despair" and "Mockingbird Yodel" were both gleaned from listening to the music of delightful Jill Jones, and other highlights include "Moon Over Montana," "Cowboy Blues," and the fun Sean Blackburn tune, "Jingle in My Jeans." We hope you enjoy this lively group of songs, please let us know what you think!
Award-winning DJ "Toe Tappin" Tommy Tucker of The Western Heritage Show comments, " When Horse Crazy performs 'live,' they absolutely light up the stage. One of the hardest things to do when recording an album, is to get that special spark in the recordings that one would see on stage. This new album, Western Moon, has captured just that! This is one GREAT album!"
See the entire track list here at the BAR-D, and read more about them at their web site.
Western Moon is available for $17 postpaid (Washington residents add $1.20 tax) from: Lauralee Northcott, P. O. Box 276, Winthrop, WA 509-996-2404.
Popular Utah singer and songwriter Brenn Hill's sixth CD, What A Man's Got To Do has just been released. From the official description:
Like Brenn’s previous albums, What A Man's Got To Do contains songs that speak boldly of life in the modern mountain west, songs punctuated by crisp cinematic imagery and underscored by confident melodies. But while the central themes present in Hill’s other CDs are once again apparent in his new material, What a Man's Got to Do reveals a new maturity in Brenn’s songwriting as he offers his deepest exploration yet of the core values of the cowboy.
See a July 7, 2006 Deseret News article, "For Hill, music centers on the West, horses" by Carma Wadley, which profiles Brenn Hill and includes some of his comments about songwriting and the new CD.
See the entire track list here in our feature about Brenn Hill; visit his web site and for lyrics and samples; and visit his MySpace site, where you can listen to complete tracks from the new CD, and more.
What A Man's Got To Do is available from Brenn Hill's web site.
Released at the Western Folklife Center's 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Songs from Why the Cowboy Sings includes the entire soundtrack from their Emmy Award-winning documentary, Why the Cowboy Sings. From the official description of the film:
Why the Cowboy Sings is a video journey to four remote ranches in the middle of winter, the season when cowboys have time to compose and sing music. We meet Larry and Toni Schutte who ranch on northern Nevada’s sagebrush ocean. Their songs reverberate with faith and spirituality. At 75, Glenn Ohrlin ranches in the hills of Arkansas and is considered by many to be the greatest traditional cowboy singer alive. Henry Real Bird is a Crow Indian who says that being a cowboy is as close to being an Indian as you can get. Stephanie Davis comes from a ranching family who lost their land in the 1940's; however, a hit song about a lost ranch allowed her to buy back the life she loved.
Produced by the Western Folklife Center in collaboration with KUED-Channel 7 in Salt Lake City, Why the Cowboy Sings was featured as part of the Olympic Arts Festival for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games.
You can view video clips and learn more about the documentary at the KUED web site.
See our feature on the video here.
The Songs from Why the Cowboy Sings CD includes 16 tracks:
1. "Prairie in the Sky," Tom Russell (Mary McCaslin)
2. "La Primera," Larry Schutte (Ian Tyson)
3. "Ten Pretty Girls," Western Folklife Center String Band (traditional)
4. "Git Along Little Dogies," Buck Ramsey (traditional)
5. "Whoopie Ti-Yi-Yo, Get Along Little Dogies," Woodie Guthrie and Cisco Huston (traditional)
6. "As I Went Walking One Morning for Pleasure," Harry Jackson (traditional)
7. "A Prisoner for Life," Skip Gorman (traditional)
8. "There's Music in the Air, Way Out West" Sourdough Slim (Richard Crowder)
9. "Elko Blues," Ian Tyson
10. "Nighttime in Nevada," Larry Schutte (Pascoe, Dulmage and Clint)
11. "Morning Grub Holler," Harry Jackson12. "I'm From the Wolf Teeth Mountains," Henry Real Bird13. "Wyoming Home" Deseret String Band (traditional)14. "Beautiful Utah," Myron Crandall15. "Nevada," Riata Brown16. "Prairie Lullaby," Stephanie Davis
The Songs from Why the Cowboy Sings CD is available for $15 plus postage from the Western Folklife Center Gift Shop.
The Buffalo Bill Historical Center (BBHC), sponsors of the venerable Cowboy Songs and Range Ballads event, have released a Cowboy Songs & Range Ballads 25th Anniversary Album.
From the official description: "Capturing the essence of cowboy music! This CD salutes the many voices of performers at Cowboy Songs & Range Ballads—the grand-daddy of cowboy music festivals. All selections are live performances from 25 years of this unforgettable gathering."
The CD includes the following songs and performers:
1. Gene Ball Intro/"Ragtime Cowboy Joe," Jim Bob Tinsley
2. "Little Wolf," David Redboy Schildt, Glenn "Ike" Hall
3. "Boys, It's Round Up Time," Curly Jim Musgrave, Belinda Gail, Kip Calahan
4. "Cattle Call," Bob Loper, Kelly Wells
5. "Fanny Sperry Steele,"
6. "Cool Water," Gene Davenport
7. "Legend Known as Casey," Kyle Evans
8. "Swingtime in the Rockies," Open Range
9. "Take me Back Along the Yellowstone," Stan Howe, Kelly Wells
10. "Big Red's Bar and Lounge and Hard Luck Cafe," Howard Parker
11. "Goodbye Old Paint," Buck Ramsey, Richard Dillof, Amanda Ramsey
12. "Paint the Town," Nancy Thorwardson and the Silver Stars
13. "Chuck Wagon's Stuck," Bob Lantis
14. "Bill Pickett," Sid Hausman
15. "The Strawberry Roan," Joe Bain
16. "Cow Creek," Ken Overcast
17. "The Drover Road to Amulree," Cowboy Celtic
18. "High Lonesome Serenade," Wyoming Red
19. "The Old Double Diamond," Gary McMahan
20. "Lavinia's Parlor," Otto Rosfeld
21. "I'd Like to be in Texas When They Round Up in the Spring," Duane Dickinson, Richard Dillof
22. "The Last Cattle Drive," Liz Masterson, Sean Blackburn
23. "Punchin' the Dough," Glenn Ohrlin
24. "Windy Bill," Lyle "Wild Horse" Cunningham
25. "Mountain Waltz," Bill Chiles
26. "El Rancho Grande," Johnny Whelan, Luther Whelan
You can listen to clips from the 26 tracks here at the BBHC site, where the CD is available for $19.99 plus postage.
Montana rancher and singer-songwriter Christine Schuman has a new CD, Montana Magic, which includes ten of her original songs. We asked Christine to tell us about herself and her music, and she wrote, "I am a ranch raised native Montanan from the cowboy country of Miles City. We continue to ranch on the same land my husband has been on for fifty years. When our oldest son was killed in a car accident in 2004, writing and singing became a catharsis for my broken heart. Montana Magic expresses my feelings on the things I value the most: my faith, my family, my home state. They are the things that kept my spirit alive." Montana Magic is available for $17 postpaid from: Christine Schuman, 876 Lower Sweet Grass Rd, Big Timber, MT 59011; 406.932.6501; email@example.com .
Singer-songwriter Barry Hertz from Calgary, Alberta, Canada has just released his second CD, A Cowboy's Prayer. All of the lyrics are from Badger Clark's Sun and Saddle Leather, and they include "Jeff Hart," "The Trails a Lane (The Passing of the Trail)," "My Own (Plains Born)," "The Song of the Leather," "A Cowboy's Prayer," "Red's Saloon (The Piano at Red's)," "The Bunkhouse Orchestra," "To Her," "The Wind is Blowin'," "Ridin'," and "A Roundup Lullaby."
The official description comments that "The music on this recording is rich in the acoustic sounds of guitar, upright bass and fiddle." You can listen to tracks here at CD Baby. (You can also listen to tracks from his previous CD, Sure Cure, here at CD Baby.) The CDs are available from CD Baby or by mail, $17.50 US/ $20 Canadian, postpaid, from Barry Hertz, 132 Bracebridge Cres. SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2W 0Y7.
is the editor of the new, monumental Open Range;
Collected Poems of Bruce Kiskaddon and of the impressive 2004 book, Bruce
Kiskaddon, Shorty's Yarns, the first collection of Kiskaddon's short
stories. He's also a performer of old-time music, including cowboy songs, and a
reciter of classic cowboy poetry and a CD, The
Educated Fellers, featuring Bill Siems and Ted Hensold
is now available.
The title comes from the traditional poem and song, "The Zebra Dun," which was first published as "Educated Feller" in Jack Thorp's 1908 Songs of the Cowboys. "The Zebra Dun" is among the CD's 16 generous tracks of poetry and song (see the entire track list here), along with Badger Clark's "The Glory Trail"; Gail Gardner's "The Sierra Petes"; Curley Fletcher's "The Strawberry Roan" (recited by Bill Siems); "The Man on the Fence," and others by Bruce Kiskaddon, some set to music; the traditional "Goodbye Old Paint," and other traditional gems, including several obscure, interesting pieces.
One of the top cuts, "Dry and Dusty/Railroad Corral," with its spirited harmonica and guitar music, exemplifies the quality of the entire project. The liner notes for each track are informative, and will send anyone seriously interested in Western history, poetry, and music, on happy tangents to follow up on all that is included. Bill Siems' notes for "Dry and Dusty/Railroad Corral" are no exception: "I found the words and music for this trail driving story in Songs of the Open Range, by Ina Sires (Boston, 1928). Later I learned from John White's book, Git Along Little Dogies (Chicago, 1975) that the verses were written by Joseph Mills Hanson of South Dakota in 1904. The dusty cattle drive described in the song suggested the fiddle tune we start off with."
Bill Siems quips that he wanted to add to the notes, "'For best results, play in a moving truck' but I thought of it too late." The CD is available for $14.99 plus postage from Old Nighthawk Press, 2521 S Hatch Street, Spokane, WA 99203, 509-868-8402, and through www.OldNighthawkPress.com, where you can also find information about Open Range and Shorty's Yarns.
The incomparable Cowboy Celtic (David Wilkie, Denise Withnell, Joe Hertz, and Keri Lynn Zwicker) have a new CD, Gunsmoke, Whisky & Heather. The dozen tracks showcase the group's impressive, eclectic songwriting, singing, and musical craftsmanship. The album includes a number songs written by David Wilkie, such as the first song, "Saltwater Buffalo," based on the little-known history of buffalo being introduced to Newfoundland; and "Earthquake in my Bones," from his own grandfather's story, a survivor of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Other examples of the group's wide range include "I Want to be a Real Cowboy Girl," by The Girls of the Golden West, a 1930s cowgirl band; "Black Diamond," by Dan Crook and J. Trathen, the story of an American Civil War rebel and his horse; "The Miles and the Road to Dundee," a Scottish folk song; and a dazzling hidden treasure: Denise Withnell singing "La Vie en Rose" on an unlisted bonus track.
Gunsmoke, Whisky & Heather is available for $15.00 ($17.50 Canadian) plus shipping from the Cowboy Celtic web site; Centerfire Music, Box 868, Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada T0L 2A0; 403-933-2210, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Cowboy Celtic web site for more about each member of the group, their many recordings, reviews, concert schedules, and more.
Popular singer, songwriter, and musician Patty Clayton (pattyclayton.com)—Western Music Association (WMA) 2005 Top Female Vocalist—has a new CD, Astraddle a Saddle. From the official description:
This is Patty's third solo CD and contains 7 originals and a collection of obscure Western and Western Swing songs by other artists well known in the genre of Western Music. This newest release takes you on a journey through the West from the mountains of Colorado to the windswept range of Wyoming, up to the northern reaches of the continent, and down to the far southwest surrounded by the warm tropical Pacific...and encompasses the rich history of her ancestors to horse thieves, wild women, barn dwellers and hard-lived but romantic days and nights on the plains. This recording includes a duet with the multi-award winning vocalist and songwriter Juni Fisher, and also features stellar instrumentation by Rich O'Brien.
Read more about the CD at Patty Clayton's web site and at CD BABY, where Astraddle a Saddle is available for $15 plus postage.
New in 2007: Books and Recordings of Western Interest and Beyond
Minnesota rancher Diane Tribitt describes her children's coloring book, Colors of Christmas, as a "Christmas poem I wrote about a little girl named Johanna, as she discovers the meaning behind the colors used at Christmas time, along with biblical references to these colors. Every coloring book page also has a corresponding page with lines for the child to write their thoughts and a place to draw their own pictures."
The book is illustrated by Corbett Vanoni.
Colors of Christmasis available for $10 postpaid from Diane Tribitt, 38034 193rd Street, Hillman, MN 56338, www.dianetribitt.com;
Ken Overcast, popular singer, songwriter, host of radio's The Cowboy Show, and tall tale spinner has a new book of stories, Tradin' Tales, Stories From a Montana Back Porch. The book gains praise from many, including Cowboy Magazine editor and publisher Darrell Arnold, who comments, "All cowboys like to entertain folks by telling stories, and some cowboys are just naturally better at it than others. Montana Cowboy Ken Overcast is one of the exceptional ones. These humorous, readable and addicting stories are Ken Overcast at the top of his yarn spinnin' game."
Read more about the
"240 pages of pure fun" inTradin' Tales, Stories From a Montana Back Porch and listen to an audio sample of one of the stories here at Ken's site, where you can also order the book, for $16.95 plus postage. Visit his General Store for more about his three previous collections of stories and his many CDs.
Washington state horse trainer Lori Babler's book, Horses and Me: 60 Years Gathering of Best Remembered Stories tells the stories of 22 horses she's known. Her relationships with horses started in 1935, and she has been involved with horses ever since.
Her long-time friend, top poet and humorist Pat Richardson wrote the foreword to the book. Years ago, Pat boarded with Lori and her husband Benny Meyers, who makes an appearance in a number of Pat's poems. In the foreword, Pat comments, "...she had a way of making suggestions (sometimes followed by mild threats) about my obvious lack of social graces, though she had a way of doing it that made you want her to be proud of you. I notice she has this same way with horses...After Lori has handled a young horse for a while it seems to be trying to please her..."
In a recent interview by Kevin Westrick in the Chronicle, Lori Babler is quoted, "This is not a story like Black Beauty; it's just personal experiences with horses I've met. You don't have to own a horse to appreciate or like them. Even if you just like horses, this might appeal to you."
The attractive 116-page paperback includes a glossary of horse terms found in the stories. Horses and Me: 60 Years Gathering of Best Remembered Stories is available for $12 postpaid from Lori Babler, 149 Mosley Rd., Chehalis, WA 98532.
A lively aspect of Texas is captured in Gail Folkins' new book, Texas Dance Halls: A Two-Step Circuit, from Texas Tech University Press. With photos by Marcus Weekly and an introduction by writer, musician, songwriter, and historian Andy Wilkinson, the book "celebrates how these halls still bring people together and foster joy."
The publisher comments, "Folkins etches portraits of proprietors who give space for music and dancing, of musicians who furnish the soundtrack for dramas and comedies that play out across hardwood or concrete floors, and of people who come to dance, listen, or simply share the experience with friends and neighbors. Paired with Marcus Weekley's photographs, some whirling and some dreamy, they capture beat and motion, even the scent of sawdust on the floor. Drawn in, we witness daytime preparations for evenings to come, and the quiet that returns after the dancers go home and the musicians have packed up for the night."
Read more about the book here at the Texas Tech University site, where it is available for $34.95.
Amazon.com describes Amazon Shorts as "never-before-seen short works from a wide variety of well-known authors, available only on Amazon.com."
Rod Miller comments on the story: "The popular classic cowboy poem, Boomer Johnson, by Henry Herbert Knibbs always left me wondering what happened next. 'After the Burnt Biscuits' answers that question. Losing a cook under the sudden and unexpected circumstances described in the poem leaves a lot of gates open, and, as everyone knows, open gates mean trouble..."
A previous Amazon Short by Rod, "Just Like Tully Said", is also available.
Rod, a member of Western Writers of America, has published essays, articles, short stories (many included in top Western anthologies), and a successful Western novel, Galllows for a Gunman. He has been selected as the 2008 Guest Poetry Editor for American Cowboy magazine.
Rod teaches poetry workshops, and more than seventy of his poems have appeared in print since he penned his first in 1997. He is one of Western Horseman's most frequently-published poets. Editor A. J. Mangum comments, "Miller is a cowboy poet with a real handle on his craft...His sense of humor, knack for crafting great sentences and flair for description have made his work some of the best cowboy poetry we've published." Rod is also one of American Cowboy magazine's most-published poets. Editor Jesse Mullins first published Rod's poetry in the mid-90s, and more than a dozen of his poems have been published in the magazine to date.
A number of Rod Miller's essays are featured at CowboyPoetry.com.
See our separate feature about Rod Miller here, which includes some of his poetry and more about his publications.
Rancher: Photographs of the American West is a collection of striking photographs by Carl Corey, accompanied by the poetry of South Dakota rancher Robert Dennis, with an introduction by respected writer, editor, poet, and ranchwoman Linda Hasselstrom.
Corey "set out to find a place that maintained an identity that could be uniquely defined as the American West." He writes, "I developed an interest in the notion of the West. What is it? Where is it? Is it even still there?" He tells that he found his unique American West on the ranches of the western Dakotas. He comments, "There are pictures of land. There are pictures of people: proud, honorable, very American people—individuals whose land, lives, and lifestyle exemplify and define what was and continues to be the American West."
Throughout the book, the reader comes face-to-face with the real West, in photos rich with context. In her introduction, Linda Hasselstrom comments, "Ranchers are not all alike, but they share certain traits....Their experiences in learning how to live responsibly on this land are braided into chronicles that make their children and grandchildren who we are." The reader comes to know those people, as she writes, "in a way of living that often eludes description in words." They are images to be savored, each for its own story.
Robert Dennis' poetry complements the 100 remarkable color and black-and-white photographs of people and place.
[Thanks to Jeri L. Dobrowski for sharing information about this book.]
Poems Across the Big Sky: An Anthology of Montana Poets, edited by Lowell Jaeger, has been published by Many Voices Press from Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell. Cowboy poets are represented by poems by Paul Zarzyski, Wallace McRae, Gwen Petersen, and Henry Real Bird. There are poems from a wide spectrum of Montanans, including the well-known writers of the past, such as Charles M. Russell and Richard Hugo, and of the present, such as Jim Harrison. There are 250 pages of poetry in the diverse collection, which is available for $16 from Flathead Community College Bookstore, 777 Grandview Drive Kalispell, Montana 59901 and other booksellers, including Barnes & Noble.
[thanks to DW Groethe for information about this book]
Texas Tech University Press offers a feast of beauty, craft, heritage, and history in an impressive new book, Texas Quilts and Quilters: A Lone Star Legacy, by Marcia Kaylakie (with Janice Whittington, photography by Jim Lincoln, and foreword by Marian Ann J. Montgomery).
From the publisher's description:
For more than a decade, Marcia Kaylakie traveled Texas from the Panhandle to Big Bend country, from the Piney Woods to the Gulf, discovering thousands of quilts in towns from Alpine to Austin, Dimmitt to Dallas, and myriad other Texas communities large and small. Hidden away in closets, trunks, and attics, the quilts Kaylakie found are not only heirlooms but also, owing to their histories, irreplaceable emblems of Texas heritage.
This book showcases thirty-four quilts. Through them and their stories, the cultural development of the state unfolds. Most will never be exhibited or appear in any other permanent record. All Texas-made, they span the state geographically and range from the 1870s to the turn of the twenty-first century. As examples of what Texas quilting was and is as craft-and as cultural narrative-these quilts preserve a unique and compelling aspect of Texas history.
Read more about Texas Quilts and Quilters: A Lone Star Legacy at the Texas Tech University web site, where you can order the hardcover book for $39.95; 800-832-4042. The book is also available from Amazon and other booksellers.
Colorado author and cattle rancher Eugene C. Vories' latest novel, Monte and the Newcomers, is now available. From the publisher's description:
Monte Freeman is the old, very independent cowboy we first learned about in Monte and Monte's Revenge. In this book, Monte and the Newcomers, we continue to see the man with all of his dreams, desires and prejudices, and faults. Now eighty years old, he is still riding horses, doing cow work on his ranch, and still very independent and standing for his beliefs.
His world is changing because of the influx of newcomers arriving in the area. Monte is still trying to keep his ranch somewhat like it has been, in the tradition of the old range cowman. He is being bombarded on all sides by developers and just plain newcomers. Developers want to sell his land and change his ways and lifestyle even more.
His wife, Lee, some twenty years younger, is still a beautiful woman and Monte still loves to watch her ride her horse and work cattle. While she is very different from him in personality, they still complement each other by their love and support. And, she is as opposed as he is to taking their land out of the cattle business they both love and putting houses on it.
Although all around him the battle is raging, he manages to win one round, even though he knows he cannot win the war. At least, he beats the biggest developer in the area on one deal the man wants badly. You'll enjoy the way he and his buddy do it.
Monte and the Newcomers is available for $20 postpaid from Eugene C. Vories, PO Box 214, La Veta, CO 81055.
[Thanks to Joyce Bestol of Cowboy Magazine for the cover image]
Master painter, designer, and musician William Matthews' (www.williammatthewsgallery.com) sumptuous new book, Working the West, includes 180 color plates of his Western subjects. The publisher describes the book, "Watercolorist William Matthews has long been hailed as the preeminent painter of the American West. In this new collection of 180 staggering paintings, he captures the full range of western experience: endless skies, high plains, the last working cowboys, the Navajo the mystique of the Living Desert. Steeped in introspection and connected to land, tradition, and identity, Matthews' work evokes a place that is authentic, anachronistic, and dynamic."
Matthews has been called today's Frederic Remington. He earns praise from Western Folklife Center Founding Director Hal Cannon, "William Matthews fashions water and color to evoke the billow of a cowboy's shirt at full gallop, the patina of a well-used saddle, the blistering mirage of Nevada. Simply put, he sees the West with new eyes." Cowboy poet and buckaroo Waddie Mitchell comments, "Willy's work is so dead right and real, a buckaroo can see what is beyond either side of the painting."
William Matthews' work has been featured in gathering posters for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, the Southeastern Cowboy Festival and Symposium, and others. He has painted Don Edwards, Randy Rieman, Waddie Mitchell, R. W. Hampton, Wallace McRae, and many other cowboys and ranchers. Some of those images are included in his landmark 1993 book, Cowboys and Images.
California writer and poet Frank Thornburgh's story, "Andy," is included. The story is a tribute to his long-time police partner and friend who was killed on duty. (Frank is working on an expanded version of "Andy" for the book True Blue II, to be published Spring, 2008.)
Nevada writer Mary Jean Kelso has a new young adult mystery novel, Kat's Cradle. The publisher notes that the book "is set in Bodie, California, during the 'Bad Man of Bodie' days. Published in e-book and paperback, the 150-page novel tells the story of a young girl whose father is killed. She sets out to find his murderer. Soon the pursuer becomes the pursued."
Mary Jean Kelso has set several of her novels in northern Nevada and surrounding areas. Some of her other books include: Blue Coat (released by Whiskey Creek Press); The Homesteader and its sequel, The Homesteader’s Legacy.
Kat’s Cradle is available through www.Whiskeycreekpress.com, Amazon.com and other bookstores. For further information, contact Mary Jean Kelso at email@example.com or visit her web site.
South Dakota writer David Jones' book, The Wall: Christopher in the Badlands, as described by the publisher, "is the story of one man's journey through The Badlands of South Dakota just before the turn of the 20th century. It is a land of stark beauty, a harsh landscape that makes it clear that the path between life and death is narrow and well defined."
In his introduction, Jones comments, "This book is a work of love—love for the land it describes, love for the way of live found here, love for the creator of all this. It is an allegory....the framework of the story is The Seven Deadly Sins....There are good people, too, the saving grace for all of us ...The cowboys in the Prologue and Epilogue are just good folks that that can be found throughout the West these days."
The Wall: Christopher in the Badlands is available for $18.95 postpaid from David Jones, 416 6th Ave., Apt.20, Wall, SD 57790; firstname.lastname@example.org
[Thanks to the Live! with Jim Thompson show for the first information about this book]
Our thanks to Steve Fjeldsted, South Pasadena City Librarian for the following information:
The Nevada County Library Foundation proudly announces the publication of a new fundraising book, Open to All: What the Library Means to Me, an anthology of essays, poems, and stories by an impressive lineup of writers, ranging from skilled amateurs all the way to world renowned Ray Bradbury.
Since the earliest days of California, the area now called Nevada County has been at the leading edge of the Golden State's shining literary heritage. The area gave us John Rollin Ridge (1827-1867), widely considered the first Native American novelist and California's first novelist; Alonzo Delano (1806-1874) perhaps the greatest first-hand chronicler of the Gold Rush;Mary Hallock Foote (1874-1938), one of the most popular authors and illustrators of the American West, who penned 16 books and numerous short stories; and Josiah Royce, who wrote the first history of California by a native and achieved lasting fame as an author, educator, and philosopher. None other than William James once declared, "250 years from now, Harvard will be known as the place where Josiah Royce once taught." Patricia Limerick, author of the Legacy of Conquest called Royce "The Father of Western History."
Today the Nevada City/Grass Valley area of Nevada County is home to many stellar literary stylists, including Pulitzer Prize winners Gary Snyder and Peter Collier. Snyder is internationally recognized for his contributions as a poet, essayist, environmentalist, and agent of social change. Peter Collier is probably most well-known as the New York Times bestselling biographer of many of the great American families, including The Kennedys, The Fords, The Rockefellers, and The Fondas. Both authors are represented in Open to All, a project co-edited by nationally-known poet Molly Fisk (Listening to Winter); Steve Sanfield, a famed storyteller, author, and poet who has been called "the master of the American haiku"; and former Nevada County Librarian and current South Pasadena City Librarian Steve Fjeldsted. All three co-editors also contributed essays and brief introductions.
The trade paperback contains artwork from luminaries Tyler Micoleau and George Mathis and literary works from such illustrious Nevada County residents as Harold Berliner, the former District Attorney turned fine press printer, who once authored the now-universal Miranda Statement; Sands Hall, the actress, playwright, and author of Catching Heaven; Madelyn Helling, another former Nevada County Librarian (for whom the Main Library is named), Louis B. Jones, acclaimed author of California's Over and others; nationally-recogniz
ed standup comic and author of Fondle the Fear, Richard Stockton; Mary Ann Trygg, current Nevada County Librarian; and Grammy-nominated folksinger and all-around provocateur, Utah Phillips.
In addition, it showcases works from top-notch writers from other regions of the state, including David Fenimore, (Bicycling Across
America); Cheryl Klein, Program Manager of the California Chapter of Poets & Writers, Inc.; Anne Lamott, whose latest is Grace (Eventually)
: Thoughts on Faith; Malcolm Margolin, publisher of Heyday Books; David Mas Masumoto, multi-award- winning author of Epitaph for a Peach and many more; and Arianne Wing (Rays of Hope.)
Other standout pieces are by Gerald Haslam, who's written more than two dozen acclaimed fiction and nonfiction titles and has been called "The Prince of California," and the inimitable poet Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel, proclaimed "The Walt Whitman of California" after she passed away in 2007. The book concludes fittingly with an absolutely not-to-be-topped piece by the one-and-only Ray Bradbury, who was recently accorded Lifetime Achievement recognition by the National Book Award.
All writers donated their works to the handsome tome published by Comstock Bonanza Press and all proceeds will be used to buy more books for Nevada County Library. The limited edition book will please bibliophiles and library lovers alike. Obviously, it belongs on all
California public library shelves. It also makes a unique gift for those on your hard-to-buy-
for holiday list.
The attractively priced future collector's item is currently only available from the Nevada County Library Foundation to whom checks
should be made out. Copies are only $16 each (tax included) and can be obtained by sending a check to OPEN TO ALL, c/o the Nevada County Library, 980 Helling Way, Nevada City, CA 95959. Include $3 postage and handling for the first book and 75 cents each for subsequent copies. And please consider yourself forewarned, those who wait too long may find this particular offer is, unfortunately, closed to all.
900 Miles from Nowhere by Steven R. Kinsella, recently published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, offers a close look at life on the Great Plains in the 1800s.
A review in the May/June, 2007 issue of South Dakota Magazine quotes the book's prologue, which tells that the author walked into an old sod house while working with an archeological survey team, and "...before us lay the partially preserved life of a Great Plains pioneer. We stood silent; we felt we were among spirits."
The Amazon review describes the book, "900 Miles from Nowhere is the heartfelt chronicle of the daily lives and personal struggles of Great Plains homesteaders, told in their own voices through many never-before-published letters, diaries, and photographs. Believing absolutely that they could control their own destiny, they bet everything they owned, even in the face of insurmountable obstacles. This is the remarkable and ever-inspiring story of life on the grasslands that stretch from Canada to Mexico."
The great-grandson of Great Plains homesteaders, Kinsella was raised on the northern prairie. His previous book is titled Trout Fishing in the Black Hills: A Guide to the Lakes and Streams of the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming.
Montana rancher Bob Petermann's new "Cowboy Gospel" CD, Thanks for the Rain, includes his original gospel music and traditional selections. Read more about the CD and see the complete track list here.
Amazon.com describes Amazon Shorts as "never-before-seen short works from a wide variety of well-known authors, available only on Amazon.com."
Rod Miller comments on the story, "Tall tales are a lost tradition in Western storytelling. In 'Just Like Tully Said,' I attempt to recapture the spirit of old-time campfire stories with wit, humor, and suspense. In the story, a likeable, aw-shucks cowboy named Tully fends off skepticism and downright disbelief as he recounts his Wild West adventures to entertain and enthrall his trail drive saddle pals."
Rod teaches poetry workshops, and more than seventy of his poems have appeared in print since he penned his first in 1997. He is one of Western Horseman's most frequently-published poets, and editor A. J. Mangum wrote a full-page profile of Rod Miller in the March, 2004 issue, saying in part, "Miller is a cowboy poet with a real handle on his craft...His sense of humor, knack for crafting great sentences and flair for description have made his work some of the best cowboy poetry we've published." Rod Miller is also one of American Cowboy magazine's most-published poets. Editor Jesse Mullins first published Rod's poetry in the mid-90s, and more than a dozen of his poems have been published in the magazine to date.
A number of Rod Miller's essays are featured at CowboyPoetry.com.
See our separate feature about Rod Miller here, which includes some of his poetry and more about his publications.
Wylie Gustafson of Wylie & the Wild West's new, flat-out fun book and CD, How to Yodel; Lessons to Tickle Your Tonsils, may start an international yodel revolution. Described by the publisher, "World-famous Yahooer and yodeling guru Wylie Gustafson teaches fun and easy lessons in the high art of yodeling, with a big dose of hilarity along the way...," it delivers on all fronts.
The fun starts right away, with the book's "Disclaimer," which reads, "I, nor the publishers of this book, will be responsible for the consequences resulting from techniques used in this book..." with a list including stampeding buffalo, avalanches, marital discourse, tectonic shifts, and "the swallows not returning to San Juan Capistrano." The practical lessons are peppered with amusing and entertaining trivia, fascinating history, wry asides (such as "Where Not to Yodel") and Wylie's answer to "Can Anyone Yodel?" A glossary and list of references are included. The accompanying CD offers step-by-step lessons with 21 tracks that lead from warm up and breathing exercises to music for advanced yodels.
Read an official media release here in our feature about Wylie & the Wild West, and read more about the book and CD at Wylie's web site.
How to Yodel; Lessons to Tickle Your Tonsils, with Robert Paul Payne's comical illustrations, retails for $9.95 and is available from Wylie's web site; the publisher, Gibbs-Smith, Amazon, and other outlets.
Journalist and writer Mary Jean Kelso's new children's book, The Christmas Angel, illustrated by K. C. Snider, is described by the publisher:
Melissa is a young girl who moves with her family to Oregon via The Oregon Trail. She has been allowed to bring one prized possession and shestruggles to see that the porcelain angel that has topped the family
Christmas tree makes the journey safely. 32 pages, 16 illustrations.
This adventure on the Oregon Trail has added educational tools including a map, lists of supplies, info on the trail, links to sites and games aboutthe Oregon trail. Five extra pages of activities.
The book is available from the publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing in electronic and print formats.
Montana rancher, writer, humorist, and poet Gwen Petersen's new book, How to Shovel Manure and Other Life Lessons for the Country Woman offers a handbook for country living. The table of contents (called "Parts and Innards") ranges from "Calving the Heifers" through "Ordering a Custom-Built Country Man" to "Mildred Norton's Rich, Dark, Chocolaty, Chocolate Cake." From the publisher's description:
It's not a job you want to take on without a sense of humor. Oops—it's not a job at all. It's an all-encompassing life, being a country woman on the ranch or farm, and with wit and equanimity like Gwen Petersen's, it can be survived. In fact, with Petersen's help, it can be drop-dead hilarious. A much-loved cowgirl scribe in rare form, Petersen eases us through the rigors
of country living, from raising chickens to shoveling manure to cooking Rocky Mountain oysters. You'd think midwifing a calf was no laughing matter—until Gwen steps in with her expert advice. She has wise counsel for sharing the yard with a gaggle of ill-tempered geese; step-by-step instructions for harvesting pig manure; and sound advice for staying cool through haying season and coping with the chaos of Christmas on the ranch or farm.
For good measure, the book includes poems and recipes that will transport you to a country state of mind--whether you hail from the city's busiest streets or the ranch's quietest gravel roads. Equal parts handy how-to advice, rural humor, philosophy, and fond farm nostalgia, How to Shovel Manure and Other Life Lessons for the Country Woman is all good.
How to Shovel Manure and Other Life Lessons for the Country Woman is available from Amazon and other booksellers.
The Deadwood Songbook and Deadwood Songbook II CDs—joint efforts of Deadwood’s Adams Museum; popular singer, songwriter, and musician Hank Harris (www.hankharris.com); and the South Dakota Arts Council—bring alive the sounds of the past.
From the official descriptions:
When news of gold in the Black Hills made its way to America’s coasts in the mid-1870s, thousands of individuals hitched up their teams or jumped on the rails and headed for Deadwood. People from all walks of life: miners, entrepreneurs, bankers and showmen— and virtually every ethnic group under the stars: Chinese, Irish, former slaves and free Blacks set out to make their fortune. With them they brought the music of the nation and the world....
Before the fire of 1879, Deadwood boasted more entertainment venues than any town of its size in the nation. Institutions ranging from the honorable Deadwood Opera House to those of a more lascivious nature including the Gem and Bella Union theatres featured music day and night. Spirituals, patriotic and political music, minstrel songs, ethnic samplings, opera and dance hall music converged on Deadwood streets during an era unlike any other...
....The first CD project gathered and reproduced the music of Deadwood’s first concert and dance halls in songs often associated with boomtowns, cowboys and the open expanses of the American West. The second project builds on the first, encompassing and investigating the full-range of early music in the Gulch...
With "instruments ranging from banjos, tambourines and spoons to hambone, wooden flute and Chinese pipa," the CDs include tunes from "Dixie" to "Goober Peas."
The CDs are available for $16 each, plus postage from the Adams Museum web site, which includes additional information.
The impressive Wild Provence, by Lorraine d'Entremont Rawls with J. Anne Lazarus, invites readers to "savor the lives and flavors of France's cowboys of the Camarque." The result of years of research, the book was released at the 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering to complement the Gathering's celebration of guest cowboys, poets, and musicians from the Camarque. Wild Provence gives a deep look into the lives and traditions of the region's "gardian" cowboys as well as the life and food of the Camarque.
Charlie Seemann, Director of the Western Folklife Center, comments that the book "...brings to the attention of the American public a ranching culture little known in this country, and illustrating yet again the parallels between people who make their living raising horses and cattle around the world."
The attractive book includes many of Lorraine d'Entremont Rawls' stunning black and white photos. View more of her photography and learn more about the Camargue at her web site.
(Read a review of Wild Provence by Rick Huff here at the BAR-D. See a selection of other books and recordings from the 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering here.)
Wild Provence is available for $20 postage paid from Lorraine Rawls, P.O. Box 989, Talent, Oregon 97540, from her web site, and from Amazon and other booksellers.
Chicago's Delmark Records, producers of jazz and blues have released Cowboy Roy Brown, Street Singer on CD. Cowboy Roy Brown, born in 1875, performed cowboy tunes along with blues, folk, and popular songs. The songs were recorded in the late 1950's or 1960, and represent a vast repertoire, including Gene Autry's "Empty Cot in the Bunkhouse Tonight," "St. Louis Blues," "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder," "Come Sit By My Side," and 19 other tracks. A six-minute interview with Cowboy Roy Brown is included, "in which he talks about hobnobbing with President Roosevelt at the St. Louis World's Fair..." From the official description:
Cowboy Roy Brown was born in Arkansas on April 20, 1875, the son of a preacher. He and his sister learned to play guitar from their father who they accompanied when he played violin in church. Butler County, incorporated in 1870, is a 36 by 26 mile plot on a bluff of the Black River in the Missouri Bootheel just across the border from Arkansas. One community in the county, Morocco, was formed of predominately African Americans. In his twenties, Roy visited St Louis during the 1904 World's Fair and later moved to Kansas City, then Marion, Illinois and then drifted to Milwaukee and to Deadwood, South Dakota. Roy eventually returned to St Louis where he was a street singer performing with his guitar and catalog of blues, folk and cowboy tunes. Roy and his band—a guitar named "Baby" and a kazoo named "Leon"—performed cowboy standards & popular tunes.Cowboy Roy Brown, Street Singer is available from Delmark.com for $14.99 plus postage.
Acclaimed Montana artist Theodore Waddell's children's book, Tucker Gets Tuckered, written with Ted Beckstead, is the tale of a spirited Bernese Mountain Dog (Waddell currently has four).
As the official web site describes, "Theodore Waddell is an artist whose love of nature and animals (especially Bernese Mountain Dogs) can be seen in his masterly landscapes of Idaho and his native Montana. His work hangs in galleries across the country and is on display at the Denver Art Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Boise Art Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. He and his wife, photographer and writer Lynn Campion, divide their time between studios in Idaho and Montana."
Theodore Waddell's work is included in the current traveling Yosemite: Art of an American Icon exhibit, organized by the Museum of the American West, Autry National Center in Los Angeles, and at the Oakland Museum of California, May 19-August 26, 2007.
Theodore Waddell's art graces the cover of poet Paul Zarzyksi's award-winning book, Wolf Tracks on the Welcome Mat. Visit Theodore Waddell's web site for more about him and his art: www.TheodoreWaddell.com.
Visit the Tucker Gets Tuckered web site for more about the book, which is available from the site for $16.95 plus postage.
Songs for Coyotes, Chronicles of a wanderer, poet and lover of wilderness contains the writings of Ross Christian Arvidson. From the publisher:Ross spent most of his adult life working for the U.S. Forest Service in various capacities. These ranged from Trail Crewmember, Firefighter, Fire Lookout, and Backcountry Ranger. He developed a special affinity for horses, and also worked as a Farrier. He died in an auto accident, 2002, while working in Big Bend National Park in Texas. He was 33 years old. This slim book is a chronicle of his journalings in 1994 when he traveled across the American West, and includes a sprinkling of his poetry. It was published after his death.
Read Ross Arvidson's poem, "Poem for Coyotes" here at CowboyPoetry.com.
Songs for Coyotes is available for $8.00 postpaid from: Chrysalis Publications, P.O. Box 230896, Portland, OR 97281-0896.
Fiddle phenomenon, singer, and songwriter Elana James (www.ElanaJames.com)—known to many Western music fans as a part of the acclaimed Hot Club of Cowtown, now disbanded—has a new CD, Elana James. Elana James is currently touring with her long-time musical partner and guitarist Whit Smith (also formerly of Hot Club of Cowtown), and an outstanding bass player, Beau Sample, of San Antonio, Texas. (The trio toured recently with Bob Dylan.)
Elana James has toured with Willie Nelson, who has commented about her, "How rare it is to find such a talented and blessed person. A beautiful voice , a fantastic musician, with the heart and soul of an angel."
The new CD includes a vast range of styles, showcasing Elana James' extraordinary talents. She's joined by a number of instrumentalists, including the legendary Johnny Gimble, and Beau Sample joins in on vocals. Songs include the traditional "Silver Bells," classics such as "I've Got it Bad (and That Ain't Good) by Duke Ellington and "Memories of You" by Eubie Blake, Bob Dylan's "One More Night, and a number of Elana James' original songs, including a dazzling "Eva's Waltz" (dedicated to her dog).
Read more about Elana James and the band, find lyrics, a discography, news and much more at Elana James' web site.
The Elana James CD is available for $16 plus postage from CD Baby: http://cdbaby.com/cd/elanajames.
At the 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, a provocative panel discussion about ranchland sustainability and the "radical center" of people and organizations—many traditionally at odds—working together, included some of the contributors to a new collection of essays, Home Land; Ranching a West That Works. At the start of the session, Teresa Jordan set the tone by reading her words from the book's Introduction, titled "Self-Reliance: Cooperation and the Reawakening of the American Spirit." In that introduction, she writes, "...across the West, pockets of optimism are developing where people with a broad spectrum of interests and beliefs have found ways to work together ..." Other contributors include Paul Zarzyski, James Galvin, Kim Stafford, Drum Hadley, Wallace McRae, Rick Bass, Linda Hussa, Mark Spragg, Diane Josephy Peavey, and others. Royalties from the book, a part of the Rocky Mountain Land Library, are being donated to the Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust. The book is available from Amazon and other booksellers.
Two sessions at the 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering screened short films made by ranching families, created for the Western Folklife Center's Deep West Video project. The films, most made by those with no prior filmmaking experience, offer up-close glimpses into the rural and ranch life of the West. The project is in its seventh year, and two DVDs are now available, each including a number of the short films.
Deep West Videos DVDs (2006 and 2007) are produced by the Western Folklife Center's Taki Telonidis and Founding Director Hal Cannon. The official description tells that they feature "... first hand stories rooted in the values of life on the land, in first-hand stories of the people of the rural West, living their daily lives on the land. With the tools of digital communication in hand, our filmmakers make simple productions that are relevant, everyday stories of rural life and its values." The collections of short video pieces on the DVDs are accompanied by descriptive notes.
The subjects of the films cover a wide spectrum, all inspired by ranching life. The honest views are often remarkable in both their messages and their presentation. Every film—each in its unique way—speaks to the fragile existence of ranching in the West and each is an important piece of cultural preservation.
On the 2006 video, for example, there are lyrical pieces, such as "Mothering the West," written and narrated by poet and rancher Linda Hussa; "Winter Feeding Workout," a look at a day's work with a light twist by rancher Susan Church; a moving piece of reporting, "The Annual Christmas Program," which takes a look at a small rural community's annual event, and includes a recitation of Yvonne Hollenbeck's poem, "The Annual Christmas Program"; a meaningful piece, "Boot Camp," a portrait of bootmaker Jack Rowin by his apprentice; and others.
The 2007 video includes "Turning to Face the Wind," Jane Morton's film about her family's ranch and the effects of "progress." A photo from Jane's ranch adorns the cover of the video (see that photo and read more about it here). Other pieces on the 2007 collection include Robin Boies' "Highway Mythology," a thoughtful examination of the intersection of the "outside world" with her family's Nevada ranch; "Fifty Years of Brand Inspecting: A Peek at Harry Peter's Job"; "The Burn," a look at the forces of Nature; an unvarnished look at the "Facts of Wife"; and others.
Read more about Deep West Video project and view some of the short films on line at the Western Folklife Center web site.
The DVDs are available for $20 each from the Western Folklife Center bookstore.
A session at the 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering introduced a new Western Folklife Center Deep West Records CD, Songs and Stories from Sheepherding, the impressive result of a project over five years in the making. The show began with a rollicking, crowd-pleasing performance by Montana's Stan Howe singing his "Norwegian Sheepherder's Ball," which is also included on the CD.
The CD is described by the Western Folklife Center, "Hear the songs, verse and stories of shepherds who came to America to pursue the American Dream, including Scots, Scandinavians, Basques, Greeks, Iris, Mexicans and Peruvians. This historic collection is based on the expressive arts of sheep ranching—the "other" ranching tradition—and is bound to be a collector's item. This CD includes extensive notes, photos and translations to the songs and poems."
The 29 tracks include Sam A. Jackson's "Toast to the Sheepherder." Sam Jackson, who started herding sheep at age 11, comments that "The Songs and Stories from Sheepherding CD documents the history of a nearly forgotten industry that had much more to do with the successful settling of the west than most folks realize." Also included are selections by J. B. Allen (reciting Curley Fletcher's "Sheepherders Lament"), Rosalie Sorrels, Martin Goicoechea, Della Turner & the Deseret String Band, John "Jake" Fleming, Linda Hussa, Dee Blackburn, Diane Josephy Peavy, Ringling Five, and many others. The CD includes an informative booklet that contains a wealth of background information on each piece.
The Songs and Stories from Sheepherding CD is available from the Western Folklife Center bookstore.
Some Memories, Growing up with Marty Robbins, by Andrew Means, chronicles the early life of country music legend Marty Robbins. In the new memoir, "Robbins' twin sister Mamie reminisces about the childhood they shared in and around Phoenix, Arizona, in the 1920s and 1930s."
The 136-page book is available for $12.95 from Booklocker.com
(where it can also be downloaded as an e-book for
$8.95). Read more about the book at the Booklocker web site.
Rex Rideout, a long-time student of the music and songs of the 19th-century American West, has collaborated with others on a new CD, A Voyage of Such Nature: Acoustic Music in Celebration of the Pike Expedition. Rex often performs with historian, author, and musician Mark Gardner, and the two recently collaborating on the recording that accompanies the award-winning book edited by Mark L. Gardner, Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys.
For A Voyage of Such Nature: Acoustic Music in Celebration of the Pike Expedition, Rex worked with Tom Munch of Pueblo and Don Richmond of Alamosa, Colorado, to create a CD of the music popular at the time of Zebulon Pike's famed 1806-1807 expedition to the West.
The tunes relate to points of interest on Pike's journey in what would later become Kansas and Colorado. "It is something a bit different for me," says Rex, "With more extensive arrangements than the sparse settings Mark and I try to create. We employed an array of instruments to create some beautiful arrangements of melodies that would have been familiar to Pike and his men." The CD includes a map of Pike's route and several quotes from his journal.
You can find out more about the CD and other recordings at Rex's web site. There, in the Recordings section, you'll find links to Tom Munch and Don Richmond's web sites, as well as links to sound clips at CDFreedom. The CD is available for $17 postpaid. Contact: email@example.com or call (303)273-3839 to order.
Jim Hoy—writer, poet, professor of of English and director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University in Kansas—has a new book, Flint Hills Cowboys: Tales of the Tallgrass Prairie. In the introduction, he writes, "The Flint Hills are my home country, the land that nurtured my life and nourished my soul. My roots here are as deep as those of bluestem grass in black-soil bottomland.... I was reared among cattle and horses, ranchers and cowboys, pasture work and rodeos, and that is the Hills that I know and these are the stories I've heard."
The book is reviewed in the January, 2007 issue of Western Horseman by managing editor Fran D. Smith, who lauds the content of the book as well as its style, which she describes as, "...akin to sitting at a nearby restaurant and listening to the locals introduce an out-of-town guest to their community in the most amusing, appealing way possible." You can read more about the book at the The University of Kansas Press web site.
Jim Hoy's previous books include The Cattle Guard: Its History and Lore and Vaqueros, Cowboys, and Buckaroos, coauthored with Lawrence Clayton and Jerald Underwood. His immediate project is "a book on frontier photographer F. M. Steele, whose photos of cowboys at work in the central plains are widely known, although he isn't. He often isn't even credited when the photos are published, as they often are. His work ranks with that of Erwin E. Smith in the southwestern plains and L.A. Huffman in the northern plains." He is also at work on a book about F. H. Maynard (see our feature on Maynard and "The Cowboy's Lament" with commentary by Jim Hoy). The book, The Winning of the Wild: the Adventures, in Prose and Poetry, of F. H. Maynard, An Old-time Cowboy, is based on the memoirs of Maynard's ten years on the open range during the 1870s.
Flint Hills Cowboys: Tales of the Tallgrass Prairie is available directly from Jim Hoy ($32.50 postpaid, autograph and inscription requests are welcome, firstname.lastname@example.org, 620 343 3192, 938 Road 130, Emporia, KS 66801"); from The University of Kansas Press; Amazon; and other booksellers.
Read more about Jim Hoy in our feature here.
Elsewhere at the BAR-D:
A selection of some standards in Cowboy Poetry and Western Music
New in 2009
New in 2008
New in 2006
New in 2005
New in 2004
Christmas books and music
Rick Huff's Best of the West Reviews
Jeri Dobrowski's Cowboy Jam Session
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