Smoke Wade is a regular contributor of gathering reports to Rope Burns, Cowboy Troubadour, CowboyEntertainer.com, and CowboyPoetry.com and he writes cowboy poetry CD and book reviews for those publications and web sites and others.
We're pleased to post his regular column of cowboy poetry CD reviews below.
Smoke also reviews CDs and features poets on the weekly Western Heritage Show with Toe Tappin' Tommy Tucker on KRLC 1350 AM in Lewiston, Idaho, broadcast each Friday at noon, Pacific. (The show won the Radio Station of the Year award in 2005 from the Western Music Association and in 2003 from the Academy of Western Artists, and Tommy Tucker was named 2004 Academy of Western Artists DJ of the Year.)
You can send new cowboy poetry books and CDs for consideration for reviews (and the CDs for KRLC airplay) to:
716 Pear Tree Lane
Mesquite, NV 89027
Smoke Wade is a cowboy poet, reciter, storyteller, emcee, and frequent guest on KRLC 1350AM Western Heritage Show. Smoke was born and raised on a Snake River cattle ranch in Hells Canyon, Oregon, where he rode horseback 6 miles to a one-room school house through the 6th grade. He is a fourth generation Wallowa County, Oregon, cowboy and range land manager.
Smoke has written cowboy poetry and western nostalgia for over 15 years and has been performing since 2001. His poetry and stories reflect the memories of a lifestyle that once flourished in the Snake River canyon country along the Idaho-Oregon border.
Smoke was a top ten nominee for the 2004 Academy of Western Artists Will Rogers Award for Cowboy Poet/Storyteller-Humorous division, received 2005 AWA nominations for Storyteller, Male Poet, Rising Star, and Poetry CD, for his CD Smoke Wade, A Legend In His Own Mind. He was awarded the 2003 Poet of the Year Award and 2004 Hall of Fame Award for the Christian Cowboy Balladeers. Always truthful, Smoke was the champion teller of tall tales at the 2004 and 2005 Lewis-Clark Cowboy Poetry gathering in Lewiston, Idaho. He also competed and placed in the 2004 Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in Kanab, Utah.
Smoke is a member of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho, the Cowboy Poets of Utah, the Christian Cowboy Balladeers, the Palouse Country Cowboy Poets Association, the Academy of Western Artists, the Wesern Music Association, and he has published in Rope Burns, The North West Agri-times, The Angus Journal, Happy Trails, CowboyTroubadour, CowboyPoetry.com, and CowboyEntertainer.com.
Read some of his poetry and about his CD, here.
The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three (2008) is a third annual compilation of cowboy poetry from CowboyPoetry.com, a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc. And for the third year in a row, CowboyPoetry.com has released what will most likely be the Best Produced CD of the Year!
On a recent trip across the Mojave Desert from Las Vegas to Los Angles, I popped this album into the CD deck and did not remove it for the entire five and one-half hour drive! It is that good! From content to production, this CD contains all the right stuff. The stuff that dreams are made of, for I found myself dreaming of the old cowboy days that are vanishing from the American West. Wow! CowboyPoetry.com has done it again!
The CD was produced by the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc. along with co-producers, Margo Metegrano and Andy Nelson. The cover image, a photo of cowboy and Texas Ranger special agent, Perry Preston Dickinson, circa 1912, foreshadows the content of the album. While this collection of poems by various artists from CowboyPoetry.com is well produced—27 tracks in all, it is the cowboy’s story through his poetry that makes this CD worth adding to one’s collection.
The album tells a story of the American Cowboy and the importance of his horse, his own brand of humor, and his relationship to the land he lives on. The underlying theme of the album might well be the story of the disappearing cowboy and how he recalls his cowboy days and lifestyle through his poetry. From the beginning track, "Shadow on the Cutbank," by Joel Nelson, to the final poem, "The Cremation of Sam McGee," a vintage recording by Robert Service, the listener finds himself or herself on an awe inspiring journey across the cowboy’s memory. Memories that produce goose bumps with poems such as "The Free Wind," a Badger Clark poem recited by Jerry A. Brooks, or "Chapter Two," by Buck Ramsey. And when the final track, a PSA announcement by Francie Ganje is complete, the listener feels compelled to play it all over again.
This collection of poems tells a story that must be heard by all serious fans of cowboy poetry. If a person can only afford to purchase one cowboy poetry CD this year, I would suggest that The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three (2008) is that CD. Available for $20 postpaid (check or money order in U.S funds) per copy from CowboyPoetry.com, PO Box 330444, San Francisco, CA 94133.
Wow! 2008 is charging hard upon us and once again we look forward to the new crop of cowboy poetry CDs that are coming our way. But before we bury ourselves head first into 2008, let’s take a look back at some of the best produced cowboy poetry CDs that came out in the latter part of 2007. The year produced several memorable quality productions These are a selection of some of the better produced poetry CDs that were played on the Western Heritage Show KRLC 1350 AM, Lewiston, Idaho.
Susan Parker, She Rode a Wild Horse is an amazing production for a first release for a cowboy poet. The quality is excellent and the theme of women and their relationship to the horse is well thought out and put together. From the eye catching jacket design by Jeri Dobrowski, to the quality of the sound production, Susan Parker has put together a dynamite package of six original poems including the title track – “She Rode a Wild Horse.”
In addition, the CD contains a collection of poems by the Masters including: “Tapestry of Knots” by Virginia Bennett; “Ranch Mother” by S. Omar Barker; “Where the Ponies Come to Drink” by Henry Herbert Knibbs and others.
Parker proves with this release that she will become a force to be reckoned with in the cowboy poetry world. By late fall, 2007, “She Rode a Wild Horse” had risen to #5 on the Power Source Top 35 Western/Swing charts.
This CD produced by Open Path Music is one to add to your collection, and book Susan Parker while you can!
She Rode a Wild Horse is available for $18.00 postpaid from Susan Parker, P.O. Box 865, Benicia, CA 94510, www.susanparkerpoet.com.
Diane Tribitt, Ranching Rhymes is a well produced CD that will warrant air play at many radio stations. The album of 14 original poems and 2 recited poems bring the cowboy way of life to front center stage with Diane’s smooth voice and well mastered sound tracks. The listener can laugh with “You Can Squat With Your Spurs On,” or somberly reflect with “Tribute To A Cowboy.”
This album brings forth Tribitt’s sparkling stage presence from the front cover art titled “Devotion” by Lorrie Beck, to the musical sound track that enhances Diane’s excellent presentation of her art. When a cowboy poetry CD’s production can bring the poet to life, you know the production is top notch. Diane sent me her promo copy of this CD to listen to, and before I had it in the CD deck, she said “Throw it away. It is not good enough. I am going to do it over.” It is this dedication to quality of production that sells the artist. Hats off to Diane Tribitt for her excellent work on this CD!
Ranching Rhymes is available for $18.00 postpaid from Diane Tribitt, 38034 193rd Street, Hillman, Minnesota 56338, www.dianetribitt.com
Sam DeLeeuw, Spreadin’ Sunshine is a wonderful example of quality production by being patient. Sam DeLeeuw waited a long time to produce her first poetry CD, and the wait was worth it. Sam DeLeeuw is a witty, funny, brilliant cowgirl poet that brings her alter ego, Hilda, together with Sam DeLeeuw – exceptional cowboy poet. From the first track “Harley’s Helper,” to the last track, “Spreadin’ Sunshine,” DeLeeuw takes the listener on a hilarious romp across the west with 16 original poems.
Sam DeLeeuw has excellent stage presence and she brings it forth in this CD. Five big bright stars go to Buckaroo Ballads Publishing/BMI and Sam DeLeeuw for producing this quality treasure for us all to enjoy.
And while you are enjoying this funny collection of cowboy poetry, take time to open up the jacket and enjoy the hilarious photos by Lori Faith Merritt as she captures Sam DeLeeuw doing what she does best – entertaining the audience.
Spreadin’ Sunshine is available for $18.00 postpaid from Sam DeLeeuw, 510 West 500 South, Manti, Utah 84642
Sandy Seaton, Montana Legacy is another first time cowboy poetry CD that is well produced. The CD contains 9 original poems and 4 original poems adapted to songs. Seaton took the time to put together a quality production from the cover photos by Sandy and Scott Salle, to the sound tracks mastered by Gil Stober, Peak Recording & Sound.
Montana Legacy is one of those poetry CDs that a person keeps in the CD deck for the entire drive home from the gathering. When I listened to track one, “Wind – They Called the Wind Maria,” I became spellbound and played the track over and over feeling the chill of the Montana wind in my bones.
Sandy Seaton is an accomplished poet. Now she has an accomplished CD under her belt. Montana Legacy is a poetry CD that will endure. When Sandy Seaton recites, she is Montana! She is a real Montana cowgirl and her poetry is just as real. In my book, her poetry of Montana is a legacy that will survive the test of time.
Montana Legacy is available for $17.00 postpaid from Black Mountain Outfitters, P.O. Box 117, Emigrant, MT 59027 www.blackmountainoutfitters.com.
The first half of 2007 is over and it is a good time to take a look at the cowboy poetry CDs that have surfaced so far this year. It is also a good time to start early planning for those Christmas gifts for your cowboy friends. Here is a selection of some of the best cowboy poetry CDs that have been played this year on the Western Heritage Show, KRLC 1350 AM, Lewiston, Idaho.
The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two (2007) is not only one of the best produced cowboy poetry CDs during the first half of 2007, it may be the best produced cowboy poetry album of the year! The CD, a compilation of classic and contemporary poetry, was produced by the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry along with co-producers, Margo Metegrano and Andy Nelson.
The cover image, a photo of Orville Bennett, circa 1920, lends immediate authenticity to the album. While this collection of poems by various artists from CowboyPoetry.com is impressive - 27 tracks in all, it is the flow of the production itself that makes this CD worth adding to one’s collection.
The album tells a story of the American Cowboy through his poetry, beginning with a vintage track of Badger Clark’s “Ridin’” and Bruce Kiskaddon’s “When They Finished Shipping Cattle in the Fall” recited by Randy Riemann. From the classics, this second edition of The Bar-D Roundup explores the relationship between the cowboy and his horse with such modern day classics as “Breaker in the Pen” by Joel Nelson, and “The Horse Sale” by Sunny Hancock. Several tracks take one on a journey through the seasons of the cowboy’s experience, and the changes in the ranching way of life with moving poems such as Elizabeth Ebert’s, “He Talked About Montana.” The story also unfolds cowboy humor through his poetry and then moves the listener into the foreshadowing of the cowboy’s decline on the American landscape. To bring conclusion to the cowboy saga, this poetic documentary shares the relationship between the cowboy, his land, and his Creator. This collection of poems contributed by 27 various artists tells a story that must be heard by all serious fans of cowboy poetry. If a person can only afford to purchase one cowboy poetry CD this year, I would suggest that The Bar-D Roundup – Volume Two: 2007 is that CD.
Full Nelson Shoeing by Andy Nelson, and design by Pseudo Publishers, is a fun collection of 25 tracks of original poetry, western humor and “Politically Incorrect Short Poems.” Daryl Reed’s cover art is eye catching and it alerts the listener they soon will be laughing along with Andy Nelson’s wit. While Nelson is perhaps best known as a popular emcee and western humorist, his serious side stands center stage with his poems “I Sold My Saddle” and “Just a Cowboy.” The album is well published and it includes background music on some tracks by Rich O’Brien and photo art by Stuart Johnson.
As a complete package, Full Nelson Shoeing is a 5 star production and it should appear in many Christmas stockings this year. Andy Nelson is the award-winning co-host of Clear Out West (C.O.W.) Radio and he was named “Male Poet of the Year – 2006” by the Western Music Association. Funny or serious, this first-class CD displays the award winning talents of Nelson.
Yvonne Hollenbeck’s, What Would Martha Do? is a welcome addition to the list of CDs and books by this award-winning artist. Hollenbeck is a working cowgirl with first hand knowledge of what she writes about. Her poetry reflects the prairie ranch wife experience with both serious and humorous poems. With 14 tracks of original poetry, this well produced album may possibly bring home another well deserved award for Yvonne Hollenbeck. Most recently, she was named “Female Poet of the Year – 2006” by the Western Music Association. And she certainly deserves a 5 star rating for the title track, “What Would Martha Do?” This album is a must for your Christmas shopping list.
Ken Cook has two CDs on the “must have” list. Dad, We’ll Rope Today, and I’m Gonna be a Cowboy. Both of these albums were well produced by FiddleString Productions, and both reflect the everyday cowboy experience. Cook, a South Dakota working cowboy, is quickly becoming a popular cowboy poet, and this work reflects the reason why. These two poetry CDs both show the serious and humorous sides of Cook’s poetry. Whether it is “Bring Her Back to the Home Ranch” from I’m Gonna be a Cowboy, or the title track from Dad, We’ll Rope Today, the listener will find authentic cowboy poetry recited by an authentic cowboy.
With 12 tracks on each of these 5 star CDs, it may become a tough decision as to which one you should give to your bunkhouse pals this Christmas. Why not buy them both just to be on the safe side.
Dad, We’ll Rope Today and I’m Gonna be a Cowboy are both available $12.00 post paid from Ken Cook, 23254 Teal Lane, Martin, SD 57551; (605)685-6749; www.kencookcowboypoet.com.
The first two months of 2007 are almost gone and the new crop of 2007-cowboy poetry CDs is being burned as we speak. But, before we charge headlong into the new season, there are a few 2006 cowboy poetry CDs that need to be mentioned. These are a selection of cowboy poetry CDs reviewed and played on the Western Heritage Show KRLC 1350 AM, Lewiston, Idaho.
Ed Nesselhuf, Reflections is an easy listening collection of thirteen original poems. One of the poems, "Home," was co-authored by Trey Allen. In addition, the album contains Nesselhuf's presentation of two classic poems, "John Sivertson, the Farrier's Horse" written by Jeff Streeby and "The Rains," written by Badger Clark.
Ed's presentation of "Morning Chores" is a poem that will ring true to anyone that has livestock to deal with in the early dawn hours. An easy favorite on album could be his humorous "How Dusty Learned to Pack Elk." His poem, "Autumn Harvest," gained him recognition as one of the 8 Seconds in the eleventh Lariat Laureate poetry competition on www.cowboypoetry.com.
Known as "Pastor Ed," Nesselhuf won the silver Buckle for top place as the 2004 serious poet at the cowboy Poetry Rodeo held in Kanab, Utah. Ed is the director of Prison Congregations of America and writes poetry as a way of keeping connected to his roots, as well as, raising funds for this ministry.
For more information about Reflections write Prison Congregations of America, Box 415, Vermillion, SD 57069, or visit www.prisoncongregations.org.
Trail Mix by Diane Tribitt is perhaps one of the better-produced cowboy poetry CDs of the 2006 season. The album contains 7 original poems, 3 tracks of commentary, and a song by Will Dudley.
Two poems stand out on the CD. "Tribute to a Cowboy," which earned her top honors in the Poet/Serious Silver Buckle division of the 2006 cowboy Poetry Rodeo in Kanab, Utah, is a very moving poem. On the other end of the spectrum is her humorous "That'll Leave a Mark."
Tribitt's smooth voice and well-written poetry will endure the test of time. Drawing from her experiences as a ranch manager and a rodeo secretary, Diane has the first hand knowledge to write what she knows about. She also has produced one darned good CD!
Trail Mix is available $15.00 postpaid by email email@example.com, phone (888)-410-7774, or by check or money order to Diane Tribitt, 38034 193rd Street, Hillman, MN.
Terry Henderson's Kids and Kritters is a collection of 21 original "ranch mom" poems divided into in 3 chapters: "Cow Critters," Country Critters," and "Kids."
Background music was provided by Joan Stetler except for the poem "Doofies," which has a background of "Ashohan Farewell" by Jay Ungan.
Henderson draws upon her Wyoming experience of being a ranch hand all of her adult life. Her poetry on the album reflects those experiences form dealing with cows, calves, and horses to country kids and ornery animals.
In addition to Kids and Kritters, Terry has produced 3 chapbooks, numerous cowboy anthologies, and a number of segments of her poetry are printed in a Harlequin super romance, Southern Reason, Western Rhyme, by Sharon Brondos.
For more information on Kids and Kritters, contact Terry Henderson, 501 Dickau Road, Shawnee, WY 82229, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Toni McGuire produced a 2006 CD, Tails from Battle Creek. The album contains 9 tracks of original cowboy poetry and 1 track, "Dirge of an Indian Mother," author unknown. Toni draws on the fact that she often performs in a "cowboy tuxedo" complete with "tails" in creating the title of her CD.
Toni is a working cowgirl from Idaho and her poetry reflects the day to day encounters she has with her environment and the people that she meets. The album contains cowboy poetry flavored with her Native American heritage.For more information regarding Tails From Battle Creek, contact Toni McGuire, 31733 Hot Springs Rd. Bruneau, ID 83604, email email@example.com
Butch Martin's new poetry CD, Of Pioneers and Cowboys—Poetry of the West, is certainly the best cowboy poetry CD of this review. Produced by Bob Pagano and Butch Martin, the CD has a very professional sound. So many cowboy poetry CDs have a "home produced" sound to them and it was a pleasure to listen to the quality that Martin put into this production.
In addition to 7 tracks of original poetry, Butch includes poems by Mike Cash, John Mitchum and Steven Vincent Benet. The CD is dedicated to the late John Mitchum. Perhaps the best track is Martin's "Tobikce," a poem that is very easy to listen to.
Butch has the natural voice of a cowboy poet and his way of reciting is easy to listen to. The background music does not distract from the words of the poems. Definitely an album to add to one's collection.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2007, Smoke Wade, All rights reserved
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