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Uncle Billie       photo courtesy Nell Daley, local gal

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The Big Roundup

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Throughout the year, we're pleased to spread the news of new books and recordings. Following is a roundup of books and music taken from  our news announcements during 2009.

Listings are posted in general chronological order, most recent first.

Below you'll find:

Cowboy Poets and Cowboy Poetry
Cowboy Poetry Recordings
Mixed Cowboy Poetry and Music Recordings

Western Music 
Western Music recordings

Books and Recordings of Western interest and beyond

Elsewhere at the BAR-D:

A selection of some standards in Cowboy Poetry and Western Music

New in 2008

New in 2007

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


Your news and additions are always welcome.  Email us.





New in 2009: Books:  Cowboy Poetry and Stories

  Nevada children's book author and poet Linda Kandelin Chambers' The Littlest Bull is a book-length poem with 45 illustrations by notable cowboy artists, the late Justin Wells and Jack Wells. 

From the publisher's description:

An authentic ballad in the tradition of the Old West, The Littlest Bull by Linda Kandelin Chambers tells the story of a young cowgirl named Tibbs and her struggle to raise a motherless calf. From ranch life to rodeo arena, with faith and family, Tibbs proves that determination and grit make the champion. The Littlest Bull is a saga for the true rodeo enthusiast and greenhorn alike.

The book has had an enthusiastic response:

Gary Leffew, World Champion Bull Rider and Hall of Fame Inductee: "A wonderful book and without a doubt the best illustrated book I have had the pleasure of reading."

World Champion Barrel Racer, Sammy Thurman: "
The Littlest Bull is authentic and enjoyable, remaining true to the cowboy spirit."

Cowboy artist, stuntman, author, singer, all-around cowboy Walt LaRue: "Linda, this is a great book. The story's just great. Everybody's going to like this one. The illustrations are wonderful. It's a real winner."

Find sample pages from the book here at Linda Kandelin Chambers' web site.

Read more about Linda Kandelin Chambers here at CowboyPoetry.com and at her web site: www.lindachambersbooks.com.

The Littlest Bull is available in hardcover ( $24.99 postpaid) and softcover ($18.99 postpaid) from www.lindachambersbooks.com.

Posted 12/9

  Colorado poet, writer, and artist Nona Kelley Carver has a new book, Carter Country Christmas. From her description:

Nona Kelley Carver has completed a booklet of thirty of her Christmas poems and stories. It is in magazine format with one of her paintings in color on the front and a few black and white photos inside. Each poem and story tells of the true meaning of Christmas. Some of the titles are "When the Cowboys Came for Christmas," "Christmas on the Oregon Trail," "Christmas Memories," and "The Christmas Angel."

Carter Country Christmas is available for $12 postpaid from Nona Kelley Carver, P.O. Box 115, Mesa, CO 81643

Posted 11/19

  Top cowboy poet Baxter Black's new book, The Back Page, is a collection of his columns from the back page of Western Horseman. The publisher describes the book:

For more than 15 years, many Western Horseman readers have begun their journeys through each issue by, strangely enough, starting at the back. That's because, during those years, the back page has been occupied by the humorous ramblings of America's best-selling comedic veterinarian, Baxter Black. This book is a collection of these observations, accompanied by the original illustrations that appeared in the magazine. This look back at 15 years of the best of Baxter is sure to bring smiles to the faces of cowboy philosophers everywhere.

See our feature about Baxter Black here.

The Back Page is available at the publisher and at Baxter Black's web site at www.BaxterBlack.com, where there are special holiday offers.

Posted 11/16

  Missouri poet Glen Enloe has a new book of poetry, No One Knows Where the Longhorn Goes. He describes the book:

No One Knows Where the Longhorn Goes is an often wistful yet sometimes ornery compilation of cowboy poetry that juxtaposes the Old West with the modern world. It harkens back to a simpler era that helped to forge our country into a great nation. Yet like the legendary Texas longhorn of the title poem, this collection foreshadows the longhorn's and America's innate dread of the end of a long trail, the loss of its own legacy, its sovereignty and even its way of life. And like the lonely longhorn, what is left of America and the West senses the end of something that will never come again as it lumbers off toward the darkening horizon, not knowing but understanding its true fate.

Glen says that the book's dedication and foreword about the late Rod Nichols. He adds, "I'd had it in my mind to dedicate my next book to Rod ever since his untimely passing. I feel that it was Rod who stoked the fire at the beginning of my discovery of cowboy poetry. His friendly internet campfire encouraged both greenhorns and hardened hands in one of our most vibrant poetic forms. Perhaps the old cowboy saying and my poem of the same title say it best: 'He'd do to ride the river with.'"

No One Knows Where the Longhorn Goes is available for $19.95 plus postage from Publish America.

Posted 11/12

  Idaho poet Sam Mattise has a new book, Dancing Shadows, Mustangs and DreamsPoems of the Western Range. From the publisher:

Dancing Shadows, Mustangs and DreamsPoems of the Western Range includes seventeen poems written about the real-life experiences of Sam Mattise, living and working in the West. From barn building, to riding bulls, to managing wild horses, Sam tells stories that will make you laugh and cry.

Sam's poems are coupled with Michael Luque's crisp images of Western life. Michael was born and raised in Idaho and has a real feel for the Western way of life and what Sam has experienced. This book is for folks who enjoy good cowboy poetry and images that help tell Sam's stories.

This book can be ordered from Bear IT Design & Photography, 208 Winged Foot Pl., Eagle, ID 83616 for $14.95 plus $3.00 shipping and handling. Please include 6% sales tax if ordering within Idaho. It also can be purchased at A Novel Adventure, 906 Main St., Boise, Idaho.

Posted 10/15, updated 2/2

  Tales from Chute #1 is the title of a new chapbook of "mostly humorous" cowboy and countryE poetry from Missouri humorist and poet Jerry Schleicher. The 46-page chapbook contains 39 original yarns, tales and poems, divided into ranch, farm and Christmas sections, and includes illustrations by Kansas City cowboy cartoonist Ted Foulkes. See the table of contents here. 

A humor columnist for GRIT magazine, Jerry also writes for Dairy Farmers of America, Farm Collector magazine, Rope Burns, and other publications. A member of the Academy of Western Artists, he also serves as newsletter editor for the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association, and performs at farm shows, festivals and cowboy music and poetry gatherings across Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado.

Read some of Jerry Schleicher's poetry here at CowboyPoetry.com.

Tales from Chute #1 is available for $10 postpaid by contacting Jerry Schleicher at 8515 Lakeview Drive, Parkville, MO 64152, or by email at gschleicher1@kc.rr.com.

Posted 8/11

The inimitable California poet and humorist Pat Richardson has a new DVD, Live, which showcases a spot-on performance from Mariposa, California's 17th Annual Cannonball Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Half the fun is his signature deadpan delivery of tall tales, jokes, one-liners and poetry, which he maintains steadily, even in reaction to the unbridled laughter of the audience. Many of his most popular poems are included, such as "The Donner Party," "The Queen of North Dakota," and "My Brother," along with several unmatchable favorites about Benny Meyers. His comment about one poem sums up his approach, "They said it was crude and obnoxious. And it is. But that's the beauty of it."

Pat Richardson is one-of-a-kind. He's incorrigible, politically incorrect, and nearly painfully funny, all with impeccable timing. He's a perennial favorite at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and many events. Even if you've seen many of those performances and know the material well, each time you hear it again you find yourself as amused as you were the first time. His delivery is a study in perfect performance.

It's always tempting to quote Baxter Black, who has said, "If you boiled cowboy poetry down to what's worth savin', this is what the stew would smell like." This live performance is anything but leftovers; it's a feast of fun.

Pat Richardson's Live DVD is available for $20 postpaid from Pat Richardson; 562 Breeze Avenue; Merced, California 95348; 209/722-4612; PoetPatRichardson.com.

Posted 7/21

Colorado poet Jeff Hildebrandt, who is also the Director of On Air Promotion for Encore Westerns, has a new book of Christian cowboy poetry, Ridin' for the Boss and the Brand. He comments it "focuses on the Gospel with an entertaining blend of cowboy poetry and preaching designed to get to the Truth of faith and faithfulness" and that, "It is also a great resource for Cowboy Church preachers who might like to spice up their sermons."

Find some endorsements for the book here along with some of Jeff Hildebrandt's poetry.

Ridin’ for the Boss and the Brand is available by mail for $12 postpaid to Jeff Hildebrandt, 3132 W. Monmouth Ave. Englewood, CO 80110. Discounts are available for orders of five or more copies. For more information contact Jeff Hildebrandt at rangerhymer@hotmail.com.

Posted 7/15

  Eight Viewpoints: western poetry is a chapbook from Western Poetry Publications. From the publisher:

Western Poetry Publications has just released a new 20 page chapbook, Eight Viewpoints: western poetry, featuring eight contemporary poets who share their varied views about the Great American West. The poems reflect the realism of the Siege of Vicksburg, which prompted some to join the great westward movement, to cowboys and their horses, the raw Southwest, tall tales of magic boots, and a cowboy’s view of history. It’s all captured in western poetic style. Edited by Clark Crouch, the book features poems by Kenneth Garcia, Debra Meyer, Del Gustafson, Steve Dickson, Virginia Cook, Stephen Foster, J. Wesley Taylor, Sr., and the editor.

The chapbook, as well as other books published by WPP, is available internationally on order through local and internet booksellers including amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com, and thirdplacebooks.com.

Western Poetry Publications, an imprint of The Resource Network (a nonprofit educational corporation established in 1981), is dedicated to remembering, preserving, sharing, and celebrating our western and cowboy heritage and the traditions which that heritage embodies....

Read more about Eight Viewpoints: western poetry at the publisher's web site: westernpoetry.org. The book is available for $8.95 plus postage from Amazon and other booksellers.


Posted 6/23

  Views from the Saddle, the fourth collection by Washington poet Clark Crouch, contains 65 original poems. He describes the book, "It captures moments from both the past and present from the perspective of one whose viewpoints, biases, and philosophies were shaped by the Great Depression and years of drought in the Sandhills of Nebraska plus his experience as youthful cowboy in the 1930s and 1940s." The books foreword is by noted historian Richard Slatta, a professor of history at North Carolina State University.

Read more about the book here, along with some of Clark Crouch's poetry.

Views from the Saddle is available for $11.95 from Amazon and other booksellers.

Posted 4/29

  California rancher and poet Lisa King has two new chapbooks, Lisa King's Cowboy Poetry and The Changing of the Guard. Each book has sixteen pages of poetry and photos or sketch art drawings. See the table of contents for each book and read one of Lisa King's poems here at CowboyPoetry.com.

Lisa King's Cowboy Poetry and The Changing of the Guard are $7.00 each postpaid in the continental USA. Order from Lisa King by email at: anoldcowhand@gmail.com.

Posted 1/13


New in 2009: Cowboy Poetry recordings, CDs and DVDs


Poems of the Trail are gathered from the experiences of Steve Deming on the trails of California.

Steve is the harmonica player and poet with the California Cowboy Band and has compiled this original work over twenty years of entertaining.

See Rick Huff's review here.

The CD is available for $10. by calling Steve at 310 516 2363 or emailing him at steve.deming@cbre.com.  He will send the CD with no shipping or handling. Visit his web site at www.stevedemingpoet.com or www.californiacowboyband.com. Read about the band's new release below.

Posted 12/2

Poet Dale Page has a new CD, The Trail to Miranda Park, with ten original poems. Dale comments:

Included is "Once We Were Kings," one of Eight Seconds in the 2008 Lariat Laureate contest. I've offset the poignant "Jenny's Colt" with "Bronc to Breakfast," which I wrote years ago to illustrate a Charles M. Russell painting of the same title. The cover is a painting by my wife, Paula R. Page. Inside the cover and on the CD label is a photo of Paula's great-great-grandfather, John Blunk, a Kansas rancher in the early 1900s.

(The photo of John Blunk is featured in Picture the West.)

See the entire track list here and find some of Dale Page's poems here at CowboyPoetry.com.

The Trail to Miranda Park is available for $18 postpaid from Dale Page, P.O. Box 268, Monrovia, IN 46157;

Posted 9/23

  Professional video of the finals and a "Shootout" competition at the 2009 National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo are available on three DVDs.

The unique event was conceived by and is produced by poet Sam Jackson, who believes in "excellence through competition." The participants for the 2009 rodeo were: J.B. Barber (Idaho), Marci Broyhill (Nebraska), Jerry Brooks (Utah), Jim Cardwell (California), Jim Cathey (Texas), Keith Chadwell (Oregon), Jan M. Corey (Arizona), Geff Dawson (Kansas), Betty Wolf Duncan (Iowa), Slim Farnsworth (Colorado), Janice Gilbertson (California), Del Gustafson (Washington), Lee Kimberlain (Colorado), Al "Doc" Mehl (Colorado), Dick Morton (Colorado), Jane Morton (Colorado), Duane Nelson (Oregon), Orvil Sears (Washington), Cade Schalla (Texas), Don Sims (Wyoming), Bryan Smith (Alberta), Kip Sorlie (South Dakota), Almeda Terry (Montana), Keith Ward (North Carolina), and C.R. Wood (Utah).

In 2009, the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo—the 12th annualwas held in conjunction with the San Juan Western Heritage Festival. Find a report and photos from the event here. Read more about the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo here.

The 2009 National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo DVDs—all proceeds go toward the rodeoare available for $34 postpaid from: Sam Jackson, Producer; National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo; 4675 E. Vermillion Ave.; Kanab Utah, 84741; last2camp@kanab.net

Posted 9/23

  Texas poet Cade Schalla describes his What's a Steer? CD as including "12 hand-picked poems" from his book by the same name, "as well as an intro to the popular poem 'What's a Steer?'"

His What's a Steer? book contains 40 original cowboy poems, with illustrations by A-10 Etcheverry. Cade writes, "It was a finalist for the 2002 Academy of Western Artists' Buck Ramsey Best Cowboy Poetry Book Award."

The What's a Steer CD is available for $10.00; the book is $20; and the book and CD combo are $25; plus $1.75 postage. Order from Cade Schalla, 2493 Settlers Way, Sealy, TX 77474; cschalla@yahoo.com.

Posted 5/7

  We're proud to announce the release of The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 4, the Center's fourth annual cowboy poetry compilation CD.

The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Four includes a vintage recording of Gail Gardner (1892-1988) reciting his famous work, "The Sierry Petes (Tying Knots in the Devil's Tail)." Also included are the epic "The Red Cow" by the late Larry McWhorter, and "Tracks that Won't Blow Out" by the late Ray Owens. Among other classic selections are poems by Bruce Kiskaddon and Henry Herbert Knibbs recited by the respected Randy Rieman and Jerry Brooks and the traditional "Roundup in the Spring" recited by the late JB Allen, and "The Cattleman's Prayer" recited by Dick Morton.

Gail Steiger recites "The Dude Wrangler" written by his grandfather, Gail Gardner, and Jesse Smith recites "The Black Beauty" by the late rodeo legend Johnie Schneider. The CD has a fourth annual selection from Grass, the master work by the late Buck Ramsey, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, recognized as the modern spiritual leader of cowboy poetry.

There are many additional tracks of classic and contemporary poems, most from poets who frequently please audiences from contemporary gathering stages, including: Allen Clark (reciting a poem by Arthur Guiterman), Ken Cook, Doris Daley, Elizabeth Ebert, DW Groethe, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Linda Kirkpatrick, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Slim McNaught, Rod Miller, Jane Morton, Andy Nelson,
Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Pat Richardson, Georgie Sicking, Jay Snider, and Diane Tribitt.

The CD includes a radio public service announcement written and delivered by top cowboy poet and philosopher Baxter Black.

This year's cover features an irresistible image of Gail Gardner as a boy, from an 1890s tintype, provided by the Gardner and Steiger families. Inside, there's a contemporary photo of three generations of the cowboys in Jay Snider's family, taken on the Snider ranch in Cyril, Oklahoma.

Poems and permissions were generously donated by poets, musicians, families, and publishers.

Past editions of The BAR-D Roundup have enjoyed wide radio airplay, and the new edition will also be distributed to hundreds of Western radio stations, thanks to Joe Baker of New Mexico's Backforty Bunkhouse. Wyoming's Andy Nelson, poet, humorist, popular emcee and co-host of the award-winning Clear Out West (C. O. W.) Radio show is the CD's co-producer.

The CD is offered to libraries in our community outreach Rural Library Project, available to our supporters, and available for purchase ($20 postpaid from CowboyPoetry.com, PO Box 330444, San Francisco, CA 94133 and by credit card). See order information here, including special offers.

Posted 4/19

  South Dakota rancher and poet Ken Cook's third CD, Cowboys Are Like That, includes his original poetry and recitations of the works of classic cowboy poets.

Ken comments, "The original poems included on this album have stayed hidden where only cow punchers ride until now. They are some of my best work. Poetry by Buck Ramsey, Ralph Garnier Coole, and Badger Clark is included because I admire their work. May their gift of poetry never be hidden, but always shared for generations to come. The album is a journey beginning with an invitation to 'Come With Me' and ending with a cowboy's legacy entitled 'The Conversation.' I invite you to cinch up and ride along."

"The Conversation," was selected for the forthcoming edition of The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Four (2009).

See the track list here. Visit Ken Cook's web site, www.kencookcowboypoet.com, where you can hear tracks from the new CD and from earlier recordings.

Cowboys Are Like That is available for $15 postpaid from: Ken Cook, 23154 Teal Lane, Martin, SD 57551-6601; (605) 685-6749; www.kencookcowboypoet.com.

Posted 4/13


New in 2009:  Mixed Cowboy Poetry and Music Recordings


  Riding Catalina Again from the California Cowboy Band is their third release, with 10 original songs written by guitar/vocalist Mel Harker, and three poems by harmonica player Steve Deming. The band, together since 1994, mixes, rock, and country with traditional western sounds.

See Rick Huff's recent review

Riding Catalina Again is available for $20 from CD Baby or the band's web site www.californiacowboyband.com

Posted 12/2

  Rodeo cowgirl, songwriter, singer, and poet Aspen Black has a new CD, Horsegirl Poet. She describes the CD:

Horsegirl Poet from western singer/songwriter and cowgirl poet Aspen Black features 18 original songs
and poems, with Aspen playing all of the instrumental back-up on 15 of the 18 tracks. Poems are delivered in Aspen's trademark style (that she has been honing the past few years in her live shows) of blending 90% spoken word with a few impact lines that are sung. The verses are laid over a bed of simple acoustic melodies and haunting original sound effects. Her songs have an equally unique styling
from traditional western to folk to a cappella, and cover many themes including horses, aging cowboys, historical western fiction, friendship, love, disappointment, change, and the modern western lifestyle.

Read more about Aspen Black here at CowboyPoetry.com and at her web site, www.horsegirlpoet.com.

Horsegirl Poet is available from CDBaby.

Posted 11/10

Tom Russell (www.tomrussell.com), recently called "the U.S. Folk Laureate" by Uncut, has a new CD, Blood and Candle Smoke.

From the Amazon description, where there are track samples:

With a career stretching back nearly four decades, and a catalog of more than 20 albums, Tom Russell is already considered one of the great singer/songwriters of our time. But his newest album, Blood and Candle Smoke, recorded in Tucson with members of the indie-rock band Calexico, takes his work to another level entirely with tremendous songwriting and a new, contemporary spark. The consummate storyteller, Russell has amassed a devoted following that cherishes his vivid, novelistic tales evoking the spirit of the American experience in tightly constructed, panoramic vignettes. Among his most ardent fans are fellow artists Johnny Cash, Doug Sahm, k.d. lang, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Iris Dement, Dave Alvin, Joe Ely, Ian Tyson, Nanci Griffith, and Guy Clark have all recorded Tom's songs. Produced by Tom Russell and Craig Schumacher (Neko Case, Iron & Wine, Calexico).

A frequent performer at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Tom Russell is scheduled to appear on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Sunday on September 20, and on the Late Show with David Letterman on October 1. The full audio of "East of Woodstock, West of Vietnam," from Blood and Candle Smoke is featured here on the Entertainment Weekly web site.

Read Tom Russell's commentary on each of the songs at his blog: www.russelltom.blogspot.com.

Blood and Candle Smoke is available at Amazon, Village Records and other outlets.

Posted 9/17

  Texas-born poet and storyteller Joe Herrington's Shalako CD, with a focus on the "Old West," includes his recitations of 11 original poems and Bruce Kiskaddon's "The Broncho Twister's Prayer" and "Drinkin' from My Saucer." The poems are accompanied by music, and several include vocals.

See the entire track list here along with some endorsements for the CD.

Read some of Joe Herrington's poetry here at CowboyPoetry.com.

Shalako is available for $18 postpaid from Joe Herrington tophand@smallpond.net; www.joeherrington.com.

Posted 8/10

  Arkansas cowboy, bootmaker, singer, songwriter, and poet Paul Harris has a new, second CD, Cross Halo, which includes original poetry and music. Most of the songs are his original work; there are a few collaborations with popular songwriter, singer, and rancher Randy Huston, and others (see a complete track list here).

Find some of Paul Harris's work in our feature here; at his web site, www.paulharriscowboymusic.com; and his MySpace page: www.myspace.com/tmf3ph where there are full songs from Cross Halo and his earlier CD.

See Rick Huff's review of Cross Halo here.

Paul Harris will be performing at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering in August, the National Cowboy Symposium in September, and the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering in October. See his MySpace page for the latest information.

Cross Halo is available for $18 postpaid from www.myspace.com/tmf3ph.

Posted 7/22

    Western Jubilee Recording Company's "Moving Pictures Collection" is a new DVD series that showcases the music and poetry of its artists. The most recent release features top cowboy balladeer Don Edwards. It follows the debut DVD with the Sons of the San Joaquin; a future release with Waddie Mitchell is promised.

The Don Edwards DVD includes an hour concert, recorded in 2007 at the atmospheric Western Jubilee Warehouse Theatre (originally a Santa Fe Freight House, built in 1887). The carefully produced concert gives an up-close experience with a satisfying collection of masterful performances of songs including "I'd Like to Be in Texas, "Cattle Call," "Master's Call," "The Old Cowman," "Coyotes," and seven others. A compelling bonus feature, "Don Edwards: Ramblin's of the Road," is a wide-ranging conversation with Don Edwards that includes vintage stills and video, Dons' comments on his musical beginnings, his instruments (including a 1905 and a 1921 Martin guitar), interesting recording history information, Nashville, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, being a "close observer of cowboys," and more from his 50-year career. The piece includes clips from The Horse Whisperer (with a comment by Robert Redford), stills with Rex Allen (with whom Don Edwards recorded an album) and Gene Autry, and a short piece from a documentary narrated by James Earl Jones.

The Sons of the San Joaquin DVD also includes a concert from the Western Jubilee Warehouse Theatre, billed as their first live recording in their history of over two decades. The Sons of the San Joaquin (Joe, Jack, and Lon Hannah) are joined by the unequaled guitarist Rich O'Brien and Texas fiddle king Steve Story. There are also 40 minutes of bonus features, including "Meet the Sons," an engaging piece about the Hannah family's music roots,   Joe and Jack's early baseball careers, and more; "The Sons Visit with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans," never-before-seen home-movie footage with conversation and songs; and a video production of Jack Hannah's "From Whence Came the Cowboy," filmed on location in the ranchlands of San Joaquin Valley.

Both DVDs include a short video of Waddie Mitchell introducing the many top talents who are a part of the Western Jubilee Recording Company catalog, including Don Edwards, Sons of the San Joaquin, Waddie Mitchell, Cowboy Celtic, Red Steagall, Rich O'Brien, Wylie & the Wild West, Sons & Brothers, Katy Moffat, and others.

Find information about the "Moving Pictures Collection," including video samples and more at the Western Jubilee Recording Company web site, where each DVD is $20 plus postage.

The Don Edwards DVD is also available from Amazon and at his web site, www.donedwardsmusic.com.

The Sons of the San Joaquin DVD is also available from Amazon and at their web site, www.thesons.com.

Posted 7/8

  Wyoming's seven-year-old Cora Wood has a new CD of poetry and music, Cora's Cowgirl Yodel. The CD includes seven songs (including the title cut, which Cora co-wrote with Paul Harris) and three poems. See the entire track list here.

The CD's photography and design are by Lori Faith Merritt, www.photographybyfaith.com; read her blog entry about Cora here.

Read some of Cora's poems and more about her here at the BAR-D and visit her web site, www.woodwesternmusic.com, which includes audio and video clips.

Cora's Cowgirl Yodel is available for $13 postpaid from: Wood Western Music, c/o Laurie Wood, HC 63 Box 18C,
Saratoga, WY 82331;

Posted 5/18

  Old Ranch House, from Texas poet and horseman Bill Giles and Texas singer and songwriter Jimmy Pate, includes Giles' recitation of original poems and those by others, including Bruce Kiskaddon, Leon Autrey, Dan Newman, and Michael Dowd; and Jimmy Pate's performances of traditional songs (and one co-write by Jimmy Pate and Texas writer and poet Linda Kirkpatrick, "Dead Man's Cave").

Old Ranch House is available for $15 postpaid from Jimmy Pate Ministries, 728 Sam Calloway Rd., Ft Worth, TX 76114;  mountainroadmusic@yahoo.com for special pricing on orders of multiple CDs.

Posted 5/6

  The non-profit Giving Back Foundation, which "assists hard-hit ranchers and farmers," has released a second compilation CD, Giving Back #2—Building Memories by Preserving our Heritage.

The 2-CD set includes music and poetry selections from artists including Barry Ward, RJ Vandygriff, Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, Sisters of the Silver Sage, Ringling 5, Jay Snider, Jim Reader, Jean Prescott, Sandy Seaton, Palo Duro, Joseph Firecrow, Waddie Mitchell, Don Edwards, Open Range, Doris Daley, Dan Miller, Juni Fisher, Dennis Gaines, Joni Harms, Slim McNaught, Jack Gladstone, Michael Hurwitz, RW Hampton, and TJ Casey.

Read a recent press release here about the foundation's work.

Giving Back #2—Building Memories by Preserving our Heritage is available for $25 from the Giving Back Foundation, c/o Montana Stockgrowers Association; 420 North California St; Helena, Montana 59601 www.ranchersandfarmers.org.

Posted 3/11

Ranch Life 101 brims with entertaining pieces. Yvonne Hollenbeck's refreshingly honest and and often-humorous poetry opens a window on the joys and trials of her life as a South Dakota ranchwife. Strong performances ring true, especially in "While You're At It," and "The Ranch Rig." 

Top Western songwriter and singer Jean Prescott stands out with Randy Huston's powerful "One Cowboy Left"; her own music and arrangement of S. Omar Barker's "Ranch Mother"; and "Dining Out," co-written with Yvonne Hollenbeck. The two were the first-ever recipients of the Western Music Association’s Best Collaboration of Poet and Musician Award in 2006, and in 2008, they again received the award for “Dining Out.”

The unique voice of "Songbird of the Sage" singer and songwriter Liz Masterson (www.lizmasterson.com)—a founding member of the Western Music Associationshines on tracks including Cindy Walker's "Wide Rollin' Plains," Michael Fleming's "Last Cattle Drive" and Tex Owens' "Cattle Call."

Ranch Life 101 brings forth rich and engaging stories in a collection of polished performances. See the complete track list here. The CD is available for $22 postpaid from Yvonne Hollenbeck, 30549 291st Street, Clearfield, South Dakota 57580, 605/557-3559, www.YvonneHollenbeck.com.

Posted 3/10

The Sweethearts in Carhartts (Yvonne Hollenbeck, Jean Prescott, and Liz Masterson) offer up a wide view of the West on their new CD, Ranch Life 101. The three popular performers—their group name inspired by Montana ranch hand DW Groethe's "The Carhartt Song"take their show of poetry and music to gatherings and events across the West.

  The Western Folklife Center has released the 2-CD set, Celebrating 25 Years: National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, in honor of 2009's 25th anniversary of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. And a celebration it is, an impressive survey of the modern cowboy and Western poetry and music movement they ignited with their first gathering in 1985.

The CDs feature one song and one poem from each of the past 25 years. These live recordings are, as Western Folklife Center Executive Director Charlie Seemann writes in the liner notes, "some of the most memorable performances from each year" that "capture the moment."  See the complete track lists in our feature about the 2009 gathering here, with links to some of the poets, musicians, poems, and songs.

The poetry CD preserves some of the important voices of the past, including Slim Kite, Ken Trowbridge, Sunny Hancock, JB Allen, and Colen Sweeten. Those voices from the earliest years may have been lost forever, if not for the important treasury of recordings from the Western Folklife Center archives. The finest contemporary reciters and poets are represented, including Joel Nelson, Randy Rieman, Vess Quinlan, Linda Hussa, Paul Zarzyski, Jerry Brooks, Ross Knox and others, reciting their own work and classics by authors including Bruce Kiskaddon, Charles Badger Clark, Henry Herbert Knibbs, Curley Fletcher, and others. It's hard to single out the top tracks, as hard as it must have been to select from the thousands of hours of recordings by hundreds of poets to create the CD. Two standouts, for example, exemplify the depth and quality of the recording: Wallace McRae's "Things of Intrinsic Worth" speaks passionately to the challenges faced by the rural West, and Virginia Bennett's "We Are the Poets" touches at the heart of the spirit and soul of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

The music selections shine with excellence. Gary McMahan's 1985 performance of his modern classic, "The Ol' Double Diamond" sets the bar high at the start, and it is maintained throughout. Many of the other songs are considered modern classics as well, most from now-legendary cowboy and Western singers including Glenn Ohrlin, Buck Ramsey, Stephanie Davis, Don Edwards, Tom Russell, Red Steagall, Wylie & the Wild West, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Sourdough Slim, Lorraine Rawls, Ian Tyson, and others. The selections are a perfect palette of the broad range of themes and styles offered by today's best, from Michael Martin Murphey's outstanding rendition of Charles Badger Clark's "Spanish is the Loving Tongue (A Border Affair)" to Gail Steiger's realistic portrait of the real working West, "Romance of Western Life," to the dazzling fiddles of the young Quebe Sisters Band on their "Speed the Plow Medley." Every single track is a keeper.

The CDs were produced by Charlie Seemann with Steve Green, Taki Telonidis, and Hal Cannon, with contributing producers E.W. Littlefield, Jr. and John M. Koelsch. Top Western artist Buckeye Blake's work graces the cover.  

When it comes time to pack for that proverbial desert island, you'll want to take this one with you.

Celebrating 25 Years: National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is available here from the Western Folklife Center gift shop.

Posted 2/5




New in 2009:  Western Music recordings

Lone Cowboy by popular, much-honored cowboy singer and songwriter Michael Martin Murphey (www.michaelmartinmurphey.com) has been released by Western Jubilee Recording Company. The CD is his first solo album, ever. As the liner notes state, it is just "Michael Martin Murphey with guitar accompaniment."

The playlist includes some of his best-known tunes, including "Carolina in the Pines," "Wildfire," and the title tune, along with standards such as "Little Joe the Wrangler," "Cool Water," and "When the Works All Done This Fall," most with his arrangements.

Western Folklife Center Founding Director Hal Cannon is quoted, "...There is nothing like hearing Michael sing and play his guitar—an unadorned sound that makes us realize what an incredible songwriter and musician he is. Michael is a rare artist who sees his music in a larger cultural context. When he sings about cowboy life, he supports ranchers with all his heart. His generosity to the revival of cowboy poetry and music is unparalleled."

Michael Martin Murphey has been nominated for a GRAMMY award for his recent CD, Buckaroo Blue Grass. Read more about that here.

Find more  at www.michaelmartinmurphey.com.

Posted 12/22

  Unwired, by top band Wylie & the Wild West, is the latest release from Western Jubilee Recording Company. The album was recorded live and in concert in July, 2009 at the Western Jubilee Warehouse in Colorado Springs.

Western Jubilee describes the CD, "Wylie Gustafson along with Ray Doyle, Scot Wilburn and Rick Bryceson presented a stirring 60 minute concert in our old Warehouse. Wylie sings old classics and new originals—both solo and with full band. Soft and slow to rattle and roll..."

In his newsletter, Wylie Gustafson comments that the album is, "A little jump and kick with a touch of mellow down easy. We made a point of including a good jag of our acoustic material so I thought Unwired would be an appropriate title. We always have these magical nights at the Warehouse so we thought we'd try to capture one on tape." 

Wylie & the Wild West's previous release, Hang-n-Rattle, just received a top album award from the Western Music Association (see a list of all of the WMA awards here).

See an Unwired track list here and find more about Wylie & the Wild West in our feature here.

Find more information and track samples for Unwired here at the Wylie & the Wild West web site and at Western Jubilee.

Unwired is available for $15 plus postage at the Wylie & the Wild West web site.

Posted 11/24

Popular Colorado cowboy, cowboy poet, songwriter, entertainer, storyteller and humorist
Gary McMahan announces the availability of his new CD,
Goin' My Way?:

This is my first studio album since 1992, and I’m about half proud of it. It’s packin’ seven new songs, a yodeling meltdown, and three poems. This is original, true storytelling about the new and the old West. It’ll take you from 500 years of cowhuntin’ in the Florida swamps to a cowboy’s take on Ralph Lauren. It’s a little unpredictable, and it might surprise you now and again. You may laugh out loud and shed some tears before it’s over. I hand-picked some great friends/musicians to play with me on it, and they all added their own bit of magic. It’s got all the fun, feelings, real stories, music, lyrics, licks, yodelin’, and harmonizin’ we could tamp into it. Plus, just for fun, I included a Bob Frank song I cut 35 years ago in Nashville to give you a musical snapshot of me way back when.

You can check the website out real quick by going to www.singingcowboy.com. And to hear the album on the website go to Music -
Goin' My Way? and click on the music or to read about the song click on the song title.

Read Rick Huff's review here.

Posted 11/12

  Jerry Schleicher sent information about Steven Spalding's A Cowboy Christmas Ball:

Country gospel and cowboy recording artist Steven Spalding has released A Cowboy Christmas Ball, his long-awaited Christmas CD celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

The title track evokes images of Christmas in the bunkhouse, much as the line riders and ranch hands gathered to feast, sing and celebrate the birth of Christ more than a century ago. Other original compositions include "A Day For Our Lord Jesus," and spoken performances of "A Goat Christmas" and "What Christmas Means To Me." This skillfully-produced CD also includes Steven's renditions of such Christmas classics as "Silent Night," "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," "O Come All Ye Faithful," "An Ozark Country Christmas," and a delightful performance of "Ring Those Bells."

Each track on
A Cowboy Christmas Ball is accompanied by Steven's hauntingly beautiful fiddle and guitar playing. A versatile musician on the stage or in the studio, this nationally-renowned performer is adept at playing the 6- and 12-string guitar, as well as the fiddle, piano, banjo, bass and harmonica.

A former Nashville recording star who made headlines in the 1970's with CMA award-winning hits including "Lighter Shade of Blue" and "Country Entertainer," Spalding turned away from secular music 30 years ago to perform and record country gospel music and serve as a cowboy pastor. Today, he preaches and performs at cowboy churches and festivals across the country, and raises crossbred Mustang/Spotted Saddle Horses on his ranch near Lebanon, Missouri.

A Cowboy Christmas Ball is the latest of seven country gospel and cowboy music CDs now available from Spalding. Each is available for $15, plus shipping and handling. To order, contact Steven Spalding at Circle S Ministry, 25569 Highway 32, Lebanon, MO 65536. Or view eight of Steven's music videos on YouTube by visiting his website at www.circlesministry.org.

Posted 11/12

  Jerry Schleicher sent information about Steven Spalding's Sittin' Round the Campfire:

If you yearn for the days of Gene, Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers, you'll practically smell the woodsmoke and taste the sourdough biscuits when you give a listen to Missouri musician Steven Spalding's newest CD, Sittin' Round the Campfire.

Featuring Steven's solid guitar work and his smooth-as-honey baritone voice,
Sittin' Round The Campfire is a heartfelt tribute to the American cowboy. Tracks include Steven's renditions of "Ridin' Down the Canyon," "Blue Shadows On The Trail," "Cool Water," "Red River Valley," "Wagon Wheels," "Get Along Little Doggies," and "Home On The Range." This 14-track CD also includes eight original songs and spoken poems. You'll be reminded of Walter Brennan's classic, "Old Rivers," when you hear Steven's tales of horses he's loved, and his wistful ode to a favorite old Stetson that Steven simply calls "My Hat."

With a recording career that spans four decades of pop, country/western, cowboy and country gospel music, Steven received three Nashville MCA Award nominations in 1977 for Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist, and Single Record of the Year. Today, he is a cowboy preacher who raises crossbred Mustang/Spotted Saddle Horses on his ranch outside Lebanon, Missouri, and performs from Nashville and Branson to venues throughout Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas and California.

Sittin' Round The Campfire is Steven's seventh CD of country gospel and cowboy songs. He's also produced three DVDs and has 16 music videos posted on YouTube, including "Back When The Cowboy Was King." You can view them by visiting Steven's website at www.circlesministries.org. Each of his CDs is available for $15 postpaid by contacting Steven at Circle S Ministry, 25569 Highway 32, Lebanon, MO 65536, or by telephone at 417-532-6470.

Posted 10/29

  In January, Wylie & the Wild West released their 14th album, Hang-n-Rattle! celebration of the Western Folklife Center's 25th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. The widely-acclaimed pre-release sold out, and a new full-blown release—with a 20-page lyrics bookletis now available.

Band leader Wylie Gustafson collaborated with "rodeo poet" Paul Zarzyski on a number of songs for this CD, and a hidden, bonus track features Paul Zarzyski's "Bob Dylan Bronc Song."  The CD was produced by John Carter Cash and includes outstanding backup musicians (Dennis Crouch, Mike Fried, Hoot Hester, John McTigue III, Jeff Taylor, and Mark Thornton) and Gretchen Peters' vocals.

See our earlier news item below for more about the CD.

Hang-n-Rattle! is available for $15 plus postage. Find audio samples for the full track list, order information, and more for Hang-n-Rattle! at the Wylie & the Wild West web site.

Posted 10/26

  Fourth-generation farmer and stockman Barry "Bear" Ward's fifth album, Whispers of the West, showcases his original songs and his captivating voice. He's joined by the impressive talents of musicians Ernie Martinez, Jon Chandler, Butch Hause, and others, and accompanied in song by Eli Barsi on one track.

In his review of Whispers of the West, Rick Huff calls the CD "exceptional" and comments:

Ward's songwriting reflects a comfortable maturity that lets him stretch in subject matter to create a wide- ranging collection. There's the Spanish-tinted title track (a well thought-out paean to land and life), the cavalry is represented in "Sweet Wyoming Kiss," there's wild ridin' because "The Devil's Runnin' Again," the "Hills Of Ireland" shimmer green and we feel the heritage of "That Old Barn," and we can't overlook an absolute killer cover of "You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma" with The Bear and Branson's superb Canadian Eli Barsi...

Find audio samples http://www.barrywardmusic.com/recordings.html here at Barry "Bear" Ward's web site.

Whispers of the West is available for $18 postpaid from Flying W Productions, 2782 CR 98, Elbert, CO 80106; www.FlyingWProductions.com; (303) 648-3605.

Posted 7/28

  California's popular Saddle Cats (www.saddlecats.com)—Bobby Black, Richard Chon, Gordon Clegg, and Bing Nathan) is described as "a Western Swing pocket orchestra that is enlivening Cowboy and Western Music with a singular energy and drive. Their avowed goal: to celebrate the swing tradition of Bob Wills, Milton Brown and Spade Cooley and bring it to the new millennium with a blazing mix of abandon, finesse and exuberant spirits."

Their new CD, Herdin' Cats, "...celebrates California's momentous contributions to Western Swing, from the genius of Joaquin Murphey and Spade Cooley to the hot, high-flying improv of Bob Wills' Tiffany Transcriptions ...The Saddle Cats, featuring the nonpareil steel guitar of Master Bobby Black, are joined by the Texas Drummer Boy himself, Fresno's very own Johnny Cuviello, the original drummer on Wills' Tiffany sessions and long-time Buck Owens associate."

Tracks include "Oklahoma Stomp," "Roly Poly," "What's the Matter with the Mill?," "Mission to Moscow," "Along the Navajo Trail," "Whoa Babe," "Travellin' Blues," "Wrong Keyhole," "Stardust," "Twinkle Star," "Who Walks In (When I Walk Out)," "She's Funny That Way," and "You Just Take Her." Listen to audio samples at the Saddle Cats' web site.

Herdin' Cats is available for $17.00 postpaid at www.saddlecats.com and by mail, from Saddle Cats, 4131 Oakmore Road, Oakland, CA 94602.

Posted 7/9

  California singer and songwriter John Bergstrom's new CD, Throw Down the Box, includes nine original songs and two traditional songs. From John Bergstrom's description:

It includes nine original songs including the title cut, “Throw Down the Box,” the ballad of northern California bandit, Black Bart. Along with the nine originals songs are two traditional songs that made the CD because John likes ‘em; “Frankie and Johnny,” and “the Philosophical Cowboy.”

The other eight original cuts range from a haunting tale about the bandit, “Salomon Pico,” to a tribute to movie “Sidekicks.”

Find audio samples and order information at CDBaby: cdbaby.com/cd/bergstromjohn2 and more information at John Bergstrom's web site: www.johnbergstrom.net. Throw Down the Box is also available by mail for $15 postpaid to John Bergstrom, 27676 Caraway Lane, Saugus, CA 91350. Please specify the CD title when ordering.

Posted 6/24


This featured review of Stephanie Davis' two new releases, Western Bling and Western Bliss also appears in our feature here, which also includes expanded track comments by Stephanie Davis and commentary by Rich O'Brien and Hal Cannon:

Proving (twice) that good things are worth waiting for, Stephanie Davis follows her acclaimed 2003 Crocus in the Snow with two terrific releases that have long been in the works: Western Bling and Western Bliss.

Well known as an impressive performer as well as a gifted songwriter—Garth Brooks, Don Edwards, Trisha Yearwood, Maria Muldaur, Joey and Rory, Roger Whittaker, Martina McBride, Sam Moore and others have recorded her work—this time out she gives her inspired take on some well-chosen standards, and includes just one piece of her own. Both CDs are filled with a fresh and genuine originality in every aspect of production.

The songs will follow you around; they're contagious. You'll find yourself listening over and over to her unique, dazzling voice—always in perfect command—and its enormous range of emotions, which can be saucy and sweet, playful and serious, flirtatious and  innocent, and more. It all comes together with the rare quality of the inventive arrangements and the virtuoso musicians accompanying her: Cindy Cashdollar, Rich O'Brien, Reggie Reuffer, Clint Strong, and others. The projects exemplify Stephanie Davis's trademark for perfection.

The stand-out package design for each CD, with art by notable Montana artist Monte Dolack (www.dolack.com), is a great match for the spirited music inside.

Western Bliss will make you want to put on your dancing boots and head on out. It's a guaranteed good time. Ride along and find yourself "Hittin' the Trail Tonight" (Bruce Kiskaddon's poem put to music by Western Folklife Center Founding Director Hal Cannon), and that includes the wistful "Santa Fe Trail" and the enchanting "Navajo Trail." When you get to the wild and flat-out fun "Bronco Buster's Ball" you'll be close to "Trail's End."

The "Trail's End Theme Song" is Stephanie Davis's song for her forthcoming radio show, which will include "sketches, sound effects, monologues, and the Trail's End Ranch Hand Band." A frequent guest on Public Radio's A Prairie Home Companion, its host Garrison Keillor urged her to create a Trail's End Ranch Radio show. A show in 2007 at the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering tried out the concept with great success (watch and listen to it here on the Western Folklife Center's site).

Other highlights on Western Bliss include "Montana Cowgirl," "Old Faithful," and "Leanin' on the Old Top Rail."

Western Bling takes the romantic fork in the trail. Western Swing gets reinvented with this sparkling array of tunes, where Bob Wills meets Gershwin and they share the stage with the songs of Cindy Walker, the Mills Brothers, and Bobby Darin. Each track has its own special "bling." There's the hot opening track, "Talkin' 'Bout You," the steamy "Baby, That Sure Would Go Good," a most convincing "The Best Things in Life are Free," and a sweetly pouty "Slow Poke." You'll want to turn the lights down for "If I Had You."

Even heartbreak doesn't topple Stephanie Davis's signature humor and positive spirit. She describes "Nevertheless" in expanded liner notes, "...Ah, the terrible/wonderful angst of standing, trembling, hands clasped, legs poised, atop the High Dive Of Love...here's to all of you brave hearts and remember to check to see that there's water in the pool." Of Cindy Walker's "Hubbin' It," she writes, "If the only bailout you've been the recent recipient of involved the 'gentle as a kitten' stud horse your cousin Lester brought back from the  sale barn and an amorous cow moose, here's your song, Western Bling-style." In fact, those liner notes (read them here and at Stephanie Davis' web site) are a special added attraction to these projects, full of snappy writing that reflects her generous view of the world.

The quality of each selection, the unerring sense of timing throughout, along with the top notch vocal and musical performances makes this dual release a guaranteed cure for...you name it. You won't be anything but happy while you're treating yourself to Western Bling and Western Bliss.

Western Bling and Western Bliss are available for $17 postpaid from www.StephanieDavis.net, where there are audio samples and links for iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. And wait! There's more! You'll get "a genuine Montana CD opener (quill from an organic, free-range, died-a-natural-death porcupine) with each order." Stephanie Davis says, "...he was dying for a career in show business."

See the track lists, track notes, and more in our feature here, and read more about Stephanie Davis in our feature here. Listen to a full-length interview about the new releases here at her site.

Posted 5/18

  The Faraway Look by Wyoming cowboy Daron Little, which he describes as "contemporary acoustic Western Americana,"  includes eleven original songs.

Daron Little's bio tells:

Daron Little is NOT a "cowboy singer" but rather, a working ranch cowboy/buckaroo that happens to be a singer-songwriter. He has cowboyed through Colorado, Nebraska, Montana, and currently resides out of Encampment, Wyoming on the A Cross ranch near French Creek. He loves family life and enjoys the time spent in the summer ridin , checking on and gathering cattle with his wife and three daughters.

His music is a reflection of country and ranch life. He writes about what he knows and that is cowboy life. His music is a cross between Dave Stamey, Ian Tyson, Mike Beck, and Jack Johnson. He feels that to write cowboy music you need to live it, otherwise it is just "romance" ... and not a true representation to those who make their living horseback producing beef for our nation and the world.

Read reviews from Rick Huff and others at Daron Little's web site,  www.ranchcowboymusic.com, and find full-track audio samples and more.

Find the lyrics to the title track here at the BAR-D.

The Faraway Look is available for $18 postpaid from: Daron Little, HC63 Box19B, Saratoga, WY 82331; www.ranchcowboymusic.com for credit card orders and downloads.

Posted 4/29

The Tiffany Transcriptions, by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys (Collectors Choice Music), is described at BobWills.com as "A must-have for serious Bob Wills fans and collectors! We have compiled possibly the most diverse and comprehensive set of Bob Wills recordings ever produced, with stunning digital clarity and incomparable historic importance in Western Swing."

At BobWills.com, they describe the set, "These 150 remastered tracks include the debut of the Wills classic "Faded Love," torrid versions of jazz classics like "St. Louis Blues"; "C-Jam Blues," and "Jumpin' at the Woodside"; early, pre-rock and roll knee-knockers like "Okie Boogie" and "A Little Bit of Boogie"; and Western Swing favorites like "Shame on You" and "Oklahoma Hills" among their highlights. The accompanying booklet not only includes Kienzle's essay, which boasts quotes from many of the Playboys, but rare pix and artist testimonials from Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, Ranger Doug from Riders in the Sky and Ashley Kingman from Big Sandy & the Fly-Rite Boys." Read more about the recordings and how the project came about here at BobWills.com.

A recent New York Times article reviews The Tiffany Transcriptions.

The Tiffany Transcriptions are available for $129 here at BobWills.com and from other outlets.

Posted 3/24

Read more and see the entire track list in our feature here.

Daughters of the West is available for $15 plus postage from CDBaby, where there are track samples. Visit the Horse Crazy web site for more information.

Posted 3/3

  Welcome to the Tribe, real cowboy folk music by Andy Hedges and Andy Wilkinson (www.andywilkinson.net) marries tradition and the present in an important, masterful album that celebrates the "keepers of the code" and the "members of the tribe." With a mix of classic cowboy songs and fresh originals—some written by Andy Wilkinson and some collaborations by the two—it's not about exclusion, but it's about principle. The songs on Welcome to the Tribe are sometimes frank, sometimes funny, and always entertaining.

Both Hedges and Wilkinson are songwriters, poets, and performers—and folk historians. In the liner notes for the opening track, "Welcome to the Tribe (for Buck, Buster, and Bob)," Andy Wilkinson writes about his inspiration for the song and sets up all that is to come, "While making an introduction of Bob Moorhouse, Buster Welch listed the three things that it takes to make a cowboy....the very best, most succinct description of the cowboy code I've heard since Buck Ramsey defined it as 'being in the right place at the right time....'"

Welcome to the Tribe offers one sterling performance after another.

Traditional selections shine with carefully crafted arrangements. They include "The Cowboy's Soliloquy," "Diamond Joe," the lesser known "Wild West Rambler," and a resonant a cappella performance of "The Dreary Dreary Life" by Andy Wilkinson. Their "Old Paint Medley" is an entrancing study of the familiar cowboy standard, with an infrequently-sung verse by Woody Guthrie and the inspired incorporation of "The Horse With a Union Label."

The original songs are filled with novel, smart lyrics. "The Palm Leaf Lid" pokes fun at the "all hat" types ("Now if you never break a sweat nor pitch into a wreck, it's logical to wear a Silver Belly 100X...but if you mix it up outside an air-conditioned rig..."). Their amusing, catchy, and absolutely sparkling "The Glitterbus" says all there is to say about "fame" (the liner notes simply caution, "It's best to stay off this bus."). Andy Wilkinson's "The Lost Lonesome High" is a plain-truth story of today's cowboy "All day in the pickup runnin' errands to town, when I shoulda been horseback, prowlin' some ground, what once was the orders for a half-dozen hands is now the to-do list for a single camp man."

Another standout is Wilkinson's "The Keepers of the Code" (for Jack and Peter)." Again, the liner notes make an important statement, "Some of us think that Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood oaters would have completely gutted cowboy music if it hadn't been for the folk revival of the 1950s, in particular the work of Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Peter LaFarge. This song is for them." The lyrics make their case and offer lines for an enduring cowboy music philosophy and anthem: "It don't matter where you're from, it's just where you're goin', it don't matter what you've done, it's just what you do, sing where you live, live where you're singin', it don't matter who's listenin' to you."

Amanda Shires, Lloyd Maines, Bob Livingston, and other top musicians join Hedges and Wilkinson with a level of excellence that holds throughout the entire project, from the songwriting, singing, and continuity to the package design.

If they are spinning CDs in the Great Beyond, the likes of
Buck Ramsey, Jack Thorp, Alan Lomax, and other members of the tribe and keepers of the code will have Welcome to the Tribe on their top shelves.

Welcome to the Tribe (see the entire track list here in our feature about Andy Hedges) is available for $15.98 plus postage from Yellowhouse Music and available from iTunes.

Posted 3/2

  Top songwriter and singer Dave Stamey (www.davestamey.com) has been called "The Charlie Russell of Western Music," and his long-anticipated CD, Come Ride With Me, just released, will add to that already-sterling reputation.

Dave Stamey describes the release, "The result of over a year’s work, it contains 11 original songs, including the studio version of 'Ruby Could Sing,' (with the inimitable Professor Dave Bourne on the piano), 'Dusty Road,' and 'Someone Go Back Home.' Annie Lydon’s harmonies produced some of the most magical moments on the recording. It is without a doubt the best thing we’ve done to date."

With a great stable of backup musicians and his own guitar wizardry, the CD includes many songs that have already become audience favorites, including the title track, "In Old McGee Canyon," "Used Rough," "Geronimo's Children," "Sharon Littlehawk," and the outstanding "Ruby Could Sing." The collection showcases Dave Stamey's remarkable range in his sensitive and intelligent songwriting, words that come from years spent in the real working West, often with passionate themes of piercing honesty about that endangered world. Those words are expressed with both seriousness and ironic humor, and, always, with his brand: integrity.

Just as in his performances, where he gives it his all, and then somehow, more, Come Ride With Me offers a final gift to fans. The last (hidden) track, "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" is a masterful interpretation with a startling depth of feeling, a perfect example of Dave Stamey's complex and compelling attraction as an artist. He sings, "I'm a kinda poet and I got a lot of things I wanna say...." We're listening.

Come Ride With Me includes "Come Ride With Me," "In Old McGee Canyon," "Desert Winds," "Sharon Littlehawk," "Dusty Road," "The Mission Bell," "Used Rough," "Geronimo's Children," "Someone Go Back Home," "Crazy Mary," and "Ruby Could Sing."

Considered by many to be today's best songwriter and performer of original Western music, Dave received both the Male Performer of the Year award and Entertainer of the Year award from the Western Music Association in 2008. He's received both awards previously. 

Come Ride With Me is available for $15 plus postage at www.davestamey.com.

Posted 2/19

  Popular cowboy singer and songwriter Michael Martin Murphey's (www.michaelmartinmurphey.com) first new CD in several years, Buckaroo Blue Grass, is named by CMT (Country Music Television) as one of the "Ten Independent Albums Worth Checking Out in Early 2009."

From the official description:

The album features Michael's acoustic versions of his songs that have been recorded by Bluegrass bands over the years. Michael's son, Ryan Murphey, produced the album by assembling a team of master acoustic musicians: Sam Bush (mandolin), Ronnie McCoury( mandolin), Rob Ickes( dobro), Pat Flynn( guitar), Andy Leftwich (fiddle), Charlie Cushman( banjo), Craig Nelson (acoustic bass) and Ryan Murphey (guitar).

SONGS: Lone Cowboy / What Am I Doing Hanging Around / Lost River / Carolina In The Pines / Cherokee Fiddle / Dancing In The Meadow / Healing Spring / Fiddlin' Man / Boy From The Country / Wild Bird / Close To The Land (America's Heartland)

Read more at Michael Martin Murphey's web site, where Buckaroo Blue Grass is available for $15.98 plus shipping.

Posted 1/20

  Cowboy songwriting legend Ian Tyson introduces ten new songs on Yellowhead to Yellowstone and other Love Stories, his first CD of new songs since 2005. It is available from The Hitching Post, where they describe the CD:

A tough time for Ian Tyson yields an important new album of touching, heartfelt songs. Now, thanks to a stubborn virus, Tyson has what he calls “a new voice”— grainier, grittier, and different from his former sound. The last two years have been a time of dramatic change in the life of the iconic songwriter Ian Tyson. Going through a difficult divorce and another broken love affair, he faced his 75th birthday in September with a mixture of satisfaction and regret...

Yellowhead to Yellowstone and other Love Stories is available from Stony Plains Records (where one track from the CD, "My Cherry Coloured Rose" about Canadian icon Don Cherry, is available for listening); The Western Folklife Center; Amazon; and other outlets.

Posted 1/15

  Fans of Mike Beck (www.mikebeck.com) and his band The Bohemian Saints will want to have the band's new EP release, which includes four new songs, a preview of a forthcoming CD. Mike Beck introduced some of the new songs at the recent Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival.

The band will play at Elko, Nevada's Stray Dog during the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 30 and 31, 2009, one of the not-to-be-missed sidelights in Elko.

Listen to audio samples of the Mike Beck and The Bohemian Saints at CDBaby, where the EP is available for $7 plus postage. Find more music at Mike Beck's MySpace: www.myspace.com/reatarecords.

Posted 1/9



 Daughters of the West is the latest release from the popular trio Horse Crazy (Lauralee Northcott, Emele Clothier and Jennifer Epps). They describe the CD, "Daughters of the West, a book by Anne Seagraves, was the inspiration for this collection of songs and particularly the title track by the same name. As we traveled through the world of these brave and athletic women we were awed by their skill and daring. This song and many others in this collection strive to bring you, the listener, into the world of the authentic cowgirls of the past and present...We chose some great western songs. There are true stories of the west, exciting western swing tunes, heartfelt original compositions, and throughout we have used the magic of harmony to decorate our arrangements."


New in 2009: Books and Recordings of Western Interest and Beyond

  Oregon poet Verlena Orr's latest volume of poetry is Taking it to the Limit. The book is dedicated to one of her former teachers at the University of Montana, popular self-described "rodeo-hobo poet" Paul Zarzyski (who she calls, "Straight shooter poet, mentor, friend....").

Many of the poems were previously published in journals. (Three of Verlena Orr's poems are included in the respected anthology, Graining the Mare: The Poetry of Ranch Women, edited by Teresa Jordan.)

Verlena Orr was raised on Idaho's Camas Prairie and has worked as a ranch hand. She recently produced a film, Sky Settles Everything (read about it in an item below) about her cousin Wayne James, who has ranched all of his life on the family's land. She recites six poems throughout the film.

She also has a recent chapbook, One More Time from the Beginning, announced below.

Taking it to the Limit is available for $11.76 postpaid from Verlena Orr, 1907 NW Hoyt St., Portland, OR 97209-1224.

Posted 12/2

  Idaho poet and cattleman Jack Goodman's chapbook, Wind Songs from Turtle's Back, is published by Uintah Springs Press.

Writer Kim Stafford, author of The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and other pleasures of the Writer's Craft, praises the book: Any poet who can give you 'the flight of swallows / busy as typewriters' and 'the burning rust of a desert rose' has deepened your ability to see and to hear, to savor our miracle of perception."

Read more about Jack Goodman and one of his poems here at CowboyPoetry.com.

Find more about Wind Songs from Turtle's Back here at the publisher's site.

Wind Songs from Turtle's Back is available from the Uintah Springs Press and from Amazon.

Posted 11/24

  Jeanette Walls' "true-life novel," Half Broke Horses, has received wide attention following her best-selling book, Glass Castles.

Half Broke Horses is about her pioneering grandmother, Lily Casey Smith. From the publisher's description:

...By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town -- riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job... and fly a plane. And, with her husband Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona...

Find more here at the publisher's site, including a video message from the author and an excerpt from the audio book.

Half Broke Horses is available from Simon & Schuster, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 11/10

  The University of Oklahoma Press has published a 300-page volume of The Masterworks of Charles M. Russell, A Retrospective of Paintings and Sculpture. The publisher describes the book as  "a sumptuous collection of iconic works," and describes the contents:

Here are iconic images that have defined the West in the popular imagination for more than a century. The volume boasts reproductions, most in full color, of more than 150 of Russell’s finest works in oil, bronze, and mixed media. Select examples of his drawings, watercolors, and illustrated letters as well as archival photographs place Russell’s paintings and sculpture in historic and artistic context.

Introduced by the book's editor, scholar Joan Carpenter Troccoli, works are collected in chapters such as her "Poetry and Motion in the Art of Charles M. Russell"; "Memories of Charles M. Russell Among My Indian Relatives," by George P. Horse Capture, Sr.; "'What a Pair to Draw To': Charles M. Russell and the Art of Storytelling Art," by Brain W. Dippie; "Charlie Russell Discovers Lewis and Clark," by James P. Ronda; "Montana's Magnificent Russell," by Kirby Lambert; and others.

The book was made possible through the collaboration of several museums' Russell holdings, including the Gilcrease Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Amon Carter Museum, the Montana Historical Society, and others. The Denver Art Museum currently has an exhibit, "The Masterworks of Charles M. Russell." 

The University of Oklahoma Press's The Masterworks of Charles M. Russell is the sixth volume in the publisher's Charles M. Russell Series on Art and Photography of the American West. It is a companion to the 2007 Charles M. Russell: A Catalogue Raisonné, the first book in the series.

The Masterworks of Charles M. Russell: a Retrospective of Paintings and Sculpture is available in hardcover and paperback editions here from the University of Oklahoma Press web site and also from Amazon and other booksellers.   

Posted 10/26

Colorado author and cattle rancher Eugene C. Vories' latest novel, Return to the Arrowhead, is now available. The author describes the book:

Return to the Arrowhead continues the story of Dean Archer from my first novel, Arrowhead Ranch. He was foreman for his closest friend, Clay Hamilton. Dean though he was in love with a girl from Ohio, leaves the ranch to go back with her, but after several years, he found he could not adjust to that life. They never married.

He returns to Colorado in the novel Ride the Rough String, taking a job to find out what is happening to missing cattle members of the Resolis Pool. Jasper Kincaid runs the pool and tries to make Dean leave by forcing him to ride the rough string. Dean rides the meanest and worst horses in the remuda until he finds out what is going on and confronts Kincaid. He also meets and falls in love with Marian Shelly, a rancher's daughter, a woman almost as old as he.

Return to the Arrowhead is the story of his return to the ranch he really loves, with his new wife. He finds his friend, Clay, devastated by his son's hospitalization from a freak accident when a fall from a horse breaks the boy's neck. Clay asks Dean to return as a manager of the great Arrowhead Ranch. The rancher wants to fence the huge ranch as well as improve the quality of the livestock. Dean and his bride become heavily involved in running the ranch, fighting new challenges which are almost as hard to manage as the rough string was to ride. Dean is an American cowboy who believes deeply in the principles this country was founded upon and the American Dream. He never gives up. You will admire his grit, determination, and loyalty.

Among Eugene Vories' other books are Dark Trail; Return to Pińon Mesa, Monte and the Newcomers, Pińon Mesa, Deputy, Ride for the Brand, and Mr. Grant's Cowboy. Read more about his books at Writers West.

Return to the Arrowhead is available for $21 postpaid from Eugene C. Vories, PO Box 214, La Veta, CO 81055.

Posted 10/21

  Popular radio broadcaster Jim Thompson (Live! with Jim Thompson) is the voice of the Wild Places—Wide Apart audio book of short stories by South Dakota rancher and businessman Mel Anderson. Anderson is the author of the two-volume Pony Tracks: Renegades and Ranching on the Rez and other books.

Wild PlacesWide Apart contains "over 40 chapters of history and personalities of Western South Dakota." Chapters include, "Sale Barns," "The Log of an old Country Doctor," "Pedro," "The Meat Saw," "The County Sheriff," "Harry Beast," "Jesse James," "Pot Hook Bar," "Black Jack Bruce," and many more "good old western stories."

The Wild PlacesWide Apart 6-CD set is available for $30 postpaid from CBSi, Box 1101, Spearfish, SD 57783.

Posted 10/7

  Poems by Waddie Mitchell and J.D. Siebert are featured in the 2010 Western Horseman Cowboy Calendar. From the publisher's description:

The Western Horseman Cowboy Calendar has become a household fixture for horse enthusiasts. The 2010 calendar features incredible color photos by such noted photographers as John Brasseaux, Darrell Dodds, Robert Dawson, Londie Padelsky, Chris Marona and David Stoecklein. The illustrations are by Western Horseman's art director, Ron Bonge. Also included are poems by J.D. Seibert and Waddie Mitchell.

The 2010 calendar is available for $12.95 plus postage here from Western Horseman.

Posted 9/16

Author, editor, and writing instructor Heidi M. Thomas describes her novel, Cowgirl Dreams:

Defying family and social pressure, Nettie Brady bucks 1920s convention with her dream of becoming a rodeo star. That means competing with men, and cowgirls who ride the rodeo circuit are considered “loose women.” Addicted to the thrill of pitting her strength and wits against a half-ton steer in a rodeo, Nettie exchanges skirts for pants, rides with her brothers on their Montana ranch, and competes in neighborhood rodeos.

Broken bones, killer influenza, flash floods, and family hardship team up to keep Nettie from her dreams. Then she meets a young neighbor cowboy who rides broncs and raises rodeo stock. Will this be Nettie’s ticket to freedom and happiness? Will her rodeo dreams come true?

This novel is based on the life of my grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl who rode steers in rodeos during the 1920s. I knew she was an avid horsewoman and when I later learned she had been a rodeo rider, I just had to write about her.

Cowgirl Dreams is available through my website www.heidimthomas.com or my publisher, Treble Heart Books www.trebleheartbooks.com/SDHeidiThomas.html.

It is suitable for both adult and young adult readers.

Read the book's first chapter at Heidi M. Thomas' web site, www.heidimthomas.com, and find more about her grandmother here and elsewhere in her blog, heidiwriter.wordpress.com.

Posted 9/9

  Author Paul Pumpian describes his novel, Compadres: A Cowboy Story:

The year is 1915 when Jeff Price and Will Denton, two Texas cowboys who've been compadres since their pre-teens, find themselves dead broke and out of work in Juarez, Mexico. When they see a poster announcing that Pancho Villa's revolutionary army is paying in gold for experienced American machine gunners, they lie about their ability and are accepted.

The story takes them through several bloody battles of the revolutionary period; they do time in a hard labor Mexican prison; they're on hand to help the U.S. Army when Villa's men attack Columbus, New Mexico and they join up with Pershing's forces when they enter Mexico in order to punish Villa.

There are also gun fights; a battle to the death between a Wild West Show cowboy and a killer horse; a look at ranch life around the turn of the century; some steamy lovin' and a fortune in gold that must be smuggled across the border.

Compadres: A Cowboy Story is available in paperback and e-book format from www.compadresbook.com, where you can read more about the book and about the author. It's also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Posted 8/5

  Verlena Orr's One More Time from the Beginning is her third poetry chapbook. The Portland poet, who studied with Paul Zarzyski at the University of Montana, has also published a full-length collection of her poems. Three of her poems are included in the respected anthology, Graining the Mare: The Poetry of Ranch Women, edited by Teresa Jordan.

One More Time from the Beginning collects poems in three sections, Road to Plentywood: Montana Poems (which includes a poem written for Paul Zarzyski, "Soaring Into Something Clear in a Dark November"); Elegies; and One Way Back: Idaho Poems. A number of the included poems have been published in literary journals.

Verlena Orr was raised on Idaho's Camas Prairie and has worked as a ranch hand. She recently produced a film, Sky Settles Everything (read about it in an item below) about her cousin Wayne James, who has ranched all of his life on the family's land. She recites six poems throughout the film, and those poems are available for $2 each postpaid; $10 postpaid for the all of the included poems.

One More Time from the Beginning is available for $10 postpaid from Verlena Orr, 1907 NW Hoyt St., Portland, OR 97209-1224.

Posted 7/27

  Nevada writer Mary Jean Kelso has two new books:

  Andy and Spirit in the Big Rescue is the third in a children's book series about Andy, a special needs boy, and his horse, Spirit, illustrated by Western artist K.C. Snider. The publisher describes the book, "While participating in the state fair Andy and Spirit become involved in a surprising rescue."

Andy and Spirit in the Big Rescue and the previous books in the series are available at Guardianangelpublishing.com and other bookstores. The books are also available for download at www.Fictionwise.com and other sites.

  Life on the Homestead, the fourth historical romance book in the Homesteader series, "follows the lives of characters in previous books including Charlie Cooper and Effie Mae. who were introduced a year ago in Back to the Homestead."

Life on the Homestead and previous books in the series, in a variety of formats, are available from Wings-press.com.

Posted 7/23

  California rancher, writer, and poet Linda Hussa examines contemporary ranch life through the stories of six families in The Family Ranch Land, Children, and Tradition in the American West, with photographs by Madeleine Graham Blake, from the University of Nevada Press. From the publisher's description:

...As a stabilizing force in the American West, ranch families play a critical role in our country, perhaps more so today than ever before, yet their stories have rarely been told. They contribute to our nation with the food they raise, the environments they protect, and the resources they manage, and they preserve our western heritage while holding the West open for the rest of us.....

The Family Ranch is rich in remarkable stories of what happens when parents, children, work, and nature come together for a lifetime of commitment. It speaks to urban and rural people in important ways, illuminating the realities of the western ranch and the people who make their living, and their lives, on it. Essential reading for people who love the West and care about its future. The Family Ranch inspires thoughts about tradition, values, and responsibility that are applicable to all communities.

Read more here at the University of Nevada web site and at Amazon.

A member of the Board of Directors at the Western Folkllife Center and a frequent invited poet to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Linda Hussa has written other non-fiction books and poetry collections. Her poetry has received the Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the Spur Award from Western Writers of America, and the Willa Award from Women Writing the West. Read more about her and her work at the Hussa Ranch web site, ww.hussaranch.com.

The Family Ranch Land, Children, and Tradition in the American West is available from the publisher, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 6/9

  Sky Settles Everything; the Wayne James Story is a new documentary produced by Verlena Orr and directed by Debbra Palmer. From a media release:

Sky Settles Everything is a feature length documentary filmed in Grangeville, Idaho and the surrounding Camas Prairie. It features Wayne James, a life-long resident and old-time cattle rancher still in operation at more than 70 years of age...

As the subject and star of the film, Wayne James is living proof that the family-style ranching way of life is still alive and well—though possibly fading—in the wide-open ranges of North Central Idaho. A portrait of a landscape and the characters in it, Sky Settles Everything explores an often-romanticized way of life through the eyes of James and his first cousin, the well-known Portland poet Verlena Orr, who grew up on the Idaho prairie where James has worked and lived his entire life. Woven into the storyline, Orr reads her work, rooted in the physical and emotional landscape of growing up on a small farm where the town of Winona was at one time....

The film beautifully covers the workings of James' feeder calf operation—from birth, branding and grazing—to roundup for sale at auction in Lewiston. In addition to James' passion for ranch work and the ranch life, the film also reveals his deep love for his wife, Sandra, who passed away March 11, 2005. The movie was dedicated in her memory at James' request....

Read the entire release and see a video clip at www.waynejamesthemovie.com, where there is additional information. You can also view the trailer here at YouTube.

Sky Settles Everything is available for $11.75 postpaid from: The Sky Settles Everything Productions, LLC, c/o Verlena Rae Orr, 1907 NW Hoyt Street, Portland, OR 9209-1224

Posted 6/4

Western singer and songwriter Jim Jones' (www.jimjonesmusic.com) first novel, Rustler's Moon, is available from Publish America. The book is described:

Jared Delaney rides into Cimarron, New Mexico, in 1878 looking for a job, a cold beer and a warm bed but finds himself caught in the crossfire of a vicious range war that forces him to choose sides. Orphaned by outlaws who shot down his parents in cold blood, Jared’s childhood is shrouded in a mysterious fog leaving him with no memories and nightmares of a malevolent voice and the coldest blue eyes he’s ever seen. Jared doesn’t want to get involved in the local troubles, yet everyone he meets tugs at him to join their faction. On one side, there’s the tough old sheriff, the beautiful, outspoken schoolteacher and a struggling rancher and his wife. On the other is a slick bartender, a “soiled dove” and the powerful patron who seems disturbingly familiar. By the light of the rustler’s moon, Jared makes his stand and faces down his demons.

Rustler's Moon is available for $24.95 plus postage from Publish America.

Posted 5/28

Timothy Green, editor of the widely-read poetry journal, RATTLE, has a new collection of his poems, his first book-length collection, American Fractal. The absorbing poems offer a satisfying feast of images, ideas, and themes that linger long after the book is closed.

Author James Ragan comments on the book, "Timothy Green’s American Fractal is a remarkable study in the refraction of language. As with memory, language bends and shapes itself, defining and redefining images like opposing mirrors, reflecting an infinite succession of epiphanies. The effect is evocative, energized and sure-footed, full of nuance and thematic dexterity, as in his exquisite poem ‘Hiking Alone’ where insights like glimmerings in a ‘box of moonlight,’ are made translucent by the kind god of this fine poet’s imagination. This book has the gift of passion. It has fire at its core.”

Timothy Green's poems have appeared in many journals, including The Connecticut Review, The Florida Review, Fugue, Mid-American Review, and Nimrod International Journal. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and is the recipient of the 2006 Phi Kappa Phi Award from the University of Southern California.

The winter, 2008 issue of RATTLE, "celebrates the poetry of the Western range" with work by 24 cowboy and Western poets. Among those included are J.V. Brummels, Thea Gavin, D.W. Groethe, Al "Doc" Mehl, Rod Miller, Red Shuttleworth, Jeff Streeby, Larry D. Thomas, and Paul Zarzyski. The feature includes illustrations by Ciara Shuttleworth; the cover illustration, "Long Day," is by Mike Callahan. Read more about it here and at the RATTLE web site.

Read more about Timothy Green at his web site. American Fractal is $18.95, available at the RATTLE web site, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Posted 5/18

  Red Rock Rondo tells the stories of the people and the place of Utah's Zion Canyon through a cycle of songs composed by Phillip Bimstein and a film produced by Hal Cannon and Taki Telonidis for the Western Folklife Center. Red Rock Rondo—the public television special, the DVD, and the music CD—are all signature projects of the Zion National Park's 2009 Centennial, "A Century of Sanctuary."

Our feature here includes a description of the projects, a report from Jerry Brooks about the May 2009 world premiere, and includes Jeri Dobrowski's review of the music CD.

The music CD's web site, www.redrockrondo.com, includes the lyrics and the stories behind the songs, and additional information about the composer, Phillip Bimstein, and the other musicians. The site also includes order information, audio links and other resources.

The Western Folklife Center web site, www.westernfolklife.org includes a short video preview, more information about the  the Red Rock Rondo film and DVD, and DVD order information.

Posted 5/18

  Ken Overcast—popular singer, songwriter, poet, radio host, writer, and storytellerhas a new collection of stories, his fourth, Sittin' 'Round the Stove, Stories From the Real West. The book is described:

Here's the latest creation from Ken Overcast's pen. Another collection of his unforgettable stories from out where the horses are fast, the cattle are fat, and the women are all good lookin'. It's a ton of fun ... you're going to love it. Once again, Canada's favorite demented son, Ben Crane, has blessed us with his illustrations. They alone are worth the price of the book. It's 240 pages of as good o' readin' as you'll find anywhere.

Listen to the audio postcard here for a chapter ("Three Hundred Bucks Worth of Gangrene") from Sittin' 'Round the Stove, Stories From the Real West.

See our feature about Ken Overcast, with stories and information about his books and recordings here.

Ken is the host of the popular syndicated radio show, The Cowboy Show. Visit Ken's web site, where you can sign up for his monthly giveaway and add yourself to his mailing list. You can hear a sample of The Cowboy Show and find the latest playlist here.

Sittin' 'Round the Stove, Stories From the Real West is $16.95 plus postage; find order information here.

Posted 5/5

  Two sessions at the 2009 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering screened short films created for the Western Folklife Center's Deep West Video project. The filmsmost made by those with no prior filmmaking experienceoffer up-close glimpses into the rural and ranch life of the West. The 2009 films are available on DVD and for viewing on line here at the Western Folklife Center web site.

Deep West Videos are produced by the Western Folklife Center's Taki Telonidis and Founding Director Hal Cannon. The official description of the project's mission tells that they feature "... first hand stories from the rural West that are rooted in the values of life on the land." The first films were released in 2000.

As we've described in reviews of earlier DVDs of the videos (2006 and 2007 and 2008), the subjects of the films cover a wide spectrum. The honest views are often remarkable in both their messages and their presentation. Almost 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.

The 2009 films, an outstanding collection, include "At the Edge of the Aquifer," by poet and writer Jane Ambrose Morton and Bob Luttrell, about a cowboy living on the Ambrose ranch in Colorado and the water issues he faces; "My Journey on the Promise Road," Gwendolyn Trice's story of her African American roots in Maxville, Oregon; "Traffic Report," a look at Nevada's wide open spaces, from Linda and Carolyn Dufurenna; "The Best of Two Worlds" by Nevada rancher and teacher Cheryl Turner; and Whit Deschner's "Triggers and Tribles" about his wife's ever-growing herd of horses.

Read more and view these and past years' films at the Western Folklife Center web site area for the Deep West Video project.

The Deep West Videos / 2009 DVD is available for $20 from the Western Folklife Center Gift Shop.

Posted 3/6

  Cowboy Park; Steer-Roping Contests on the Border by John O. Baxter uncovers the history of early rodeo along the Mexican border and beyond. The primary focus is the Cowboy Park rodeo arena, established in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico in 1907, after steer roping was banned in bordering U.S. states, but the book also explores other early events, from Argentina to Calgary.

A wealth of vintage photographs and period advertisements add to the lively, absorbing, and meticulously researched early rodeo history. (detailed notes offer many additional sources to explore). Historian Richard W. Slatta contributes an informative foreword that places the the borderland events in context, along with a concise overview of the history of rodeo. Baxter tells a compelling story, filled with "rodeo fever" that gives the reader a real sense of the era of the short-lived and truly wild West.  

Cowboy Park; Steer-Roping Contests on the Border is available for $24.95 plus postage from the publisher, Texas Tech University Press and from Amazon and other booksellers.

Posted 3/3

    Los Primeros—The First Vaqueros, and Houlihan are the latest two releases from filmmakers Susan Jensen and Paul Singer (J&S Productions) who explore vaquero history and horsemanship and its influence through their outstanding DVD Vaquero Series.

Los Primeros—The First Vaqueros, filmed in Spain, Mexico, and the American West, crosses continents and oceans to uncover Vaquero origins. It is described, "The Vaquero roots go back fifteen centuries to Spain, the Moors and Mexico. He carried his bravery to the New World and had a profound influence on the Californio Vaquero and his horsemanship."

Houlihan traces the journey of the vaqueros and buckaroos to the Northern Range in Montana and Wyoming, with footage of contemporary ranch families, horsemen, and cowboys (including Randy Rieman and Jesse Ballantyne), along with historical context through stills and narration, and great Western music from Dave Stamey, Wylie & the Wild West, Ian Tyson, Cowboy Celtic, and others.

The Vaquero Series is introduced at the J&S web site:

The Vaqueros came with the Conquistadors to the New World and created a new style of handling cattle on the open ranges of Mexico. Their influence grew—to California, Nevada, Oregon, Hawaii, Montana, Wyoming, and other parts of the Western Hemisphere. In each area, a tradition developed to meet the unique demands of the environment and culture....Throughout each documentary, the filmmakers illustrate how the vaquero left his stamp on all these cultures and how it's evident through the people who are living the life today....

The exceptional series includes three other films to date: Tapadero, the first in the series, traces the story of the vaquero from Mexico to Alta California. The Remuda follows the vaquero influence to Nevada and Oregon. Holo Holo Paniolo takes viewers to Hawaii, where  Monterey vaqueros arrived in the early 1880s to teach Hawaiians to ride horses and catch wild cattle. The films feature music by those mentioned above, as well as  Mike Beck, Pedro Marquez, Christina Ortega, Jesse Ballantyne, Kevin McNiven, Dawn Davis and others. Read more about each film at the J&S Productions' web site.

Find much more information, including stills from each film, at the J&S Productions' web site, where there is order information.

Posted 1/26

  A DVD version of the acclaimed Ranch Album film by Lew and Gail Steiger is now available. The film, cited for its insightful portrayal of cowboy life, is described by the producers, "Nationally released as an hour-long PBS special, Ranch Album celebrates rough country ranching in Northern Arizona and shows real cowboy life. Season by season, the people of this film describe what they do and why they do it. In the process, they reveal a sense of something more important—a spirit and culture that have survived in the American west for a very long time." 

Praised by the Wall Street Journal, TV Guide, Booklist, and others, the film is included in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/UCLA Film and Television Archives' survey of outstanding recent work in the documentary field.

Read more about the film here in our feature about cowboy, songwriter, and filmmaker Gail Steiger, grandson of Gail I. Gardner.

Ranch Album is available for $20 plus postage from Amazon.

Updated 1/15

Larry Len Peterson's Charles M. Russell: Printed Rarities from Private Collections collects many never-before-seen commercial works of the famous cowboy, painter, sculptor and writer. The book, available in hardcover and paperback, includes memorabilia including "magazine covers, postcards, calendars, cigar boxes, ink blotters, letterheads, and artifacts."

Read more here at the Mountain Press Publishing Company's web site.

Posted 12/29



Elsewhere at the BAR-D:

A selection of some standards in Cowboy Poetry and Western Music

New in 2008

New in 2007

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

Your news and additions are always welcome.  Email us.



Always more news to come...





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