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Western Music Association Festival
2006

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The 2006 18th Annual Western Music Association (WMA) Festival  took place in November in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Below is a report and photos, and information about the recipients of the annual awards.

See the Western Music Association web site for information about membership, the annual festival, and more. 

 

 

Below:

 

Report and photos from the 2006 Festival
report by Rick Huff
Photos by Lori Faith Merritt (Photography By Faith), Van Criddle, and Linda Kirkpatrick

 

2006  Winners and Top Five Nominations
with selected photos by Lori Faith Merritt (Photography By Faith)

 

More Photos on Page 2

 

 

The WMA welcomed poet members in 2006, and introduced awards that recognize cowboy poets: Female Poet of the Year, Male Poet of the Year, and Best Collaboration of Poet and Musician. In 2007, two new awards will be added: Best Cowboy Poetry Book and Best Cowboy Poetry CD.

 



 

WMA FESTIVAL HAILED A STRONG ONE!
report by Rick Huff

The cowboys rode into Albuquerque! The cowboy and cowgirl singers and poets, that is, as the Western Music Association’s 18th Annual International Western Music Festival galloped into the huge convention center of the Hotel Albuquerque November 16th through 19th!

This year’s event drew more than eighty Western acts from across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. And that’s not counting the Open Mic stage and sit-ins! 

On Wednesday, preceding the official start of the Festival, early participants ponied-up for the valuable opportunity to be in an intensive nine-hour “how to” songwriting workshop with four of Western Music’s best…Donnie Blanz, Juni Fisher, Curly Musgrave and Dave Stamey. 


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Dean Cook, George Dickey, and others take part in a workshop

Thursday the action kicked off at 9 AM with the free Vendor Show Stage and workshops (two other free daytime stages ran on Friday and Saturday).  All stages were hosted and run round-robin style, with at least two acts either rotating or sharing sets and occasionally playing together in spontaneous jams.  One in particular generated a lot of talk, when Bill Barwick, Donnie Blanz and Dave Stamey entertained together!  The plan now is to book them back for their own special show next year!!  Also appreciated were Thursday’s performances by Glen Moreland & Washtub Jerry, Earl Gleason, Yampa Valley Boys, Open Range, Peggy Malone (great to have her with us following her surgery), the Carr Family Band, George Dickey, Dave Boyd, Dean Cook, Francine Roark Robison, Sarah Gautschi, Will Dudley, Van Criddle, Jon Messenger, Call of the West, The Wagonmasters, Dennis Jay, Les Buffham (whose additional performance riding a stick horse to the accompaniment of his own “Nobody Kisses Their Horse Anymore” had to be seen to be believed!), Sons Of The Konza Prairie, Abe Reddekop, The Honey Dews and Cisco Jim.  As evidenced from the above list, cowboy poets had a much greater and very welcome presence at this year’s Festival as well! 


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Les Buffham

Thursday’s workshops included Don Cusic’s “Planning Your Career,” “A Non-Technical Look At Jazz Chords In Western Music” with Rodger Maxwell and “Western Music In The B-Westerns” chaired by writer/historian Boyd Magers with Sherry Bond (daughter of Johnny Bond), O.J. Sikes, Hal Spencer (son of Sons of the Pioneers’ co-founder Tim Spencer), Marilyn Tuttle (Mrs. Wesley Tuttle) and Sharon Lee Willing (Mrs. Foy Willing). Also during the day were the popular Yodeling and Harmony Contests, Joe Herrington’s Cowboy Poetry Workshop and The Radio Panel (chaired by Joe Baker) in which DJs Rick Huff, Andy Nelson , Hugh McLennan, Marvin O'Dell and Barb Richhart discussed airplay opportunities, packaging of CDs, no-no’s in recording and more tips.

Thursday evening’s big show was The Sons of the Pioneers’ Toast & Jam, so-named for its tribute nature to the music of the classic group and the jam session following it that lasted into the wee hours!  Hosts for The Toast were Hal Spencer and Don Cusic. Performers before the overflow audience included Tim Spencer’s great niece Suze Spencer Marshall, Sons of the Rio Grande, The Pards, Dave Stamey, The New Pioneers, Jon Messenger with Call of the West, Judy Coder & Pride of the Prairie, Donnie Blanz, Stan Gee & Evelyn May (wonderful balladeers from the U.K.), Janet McBride & John Ingram, STAMPEDE!, Troy Bateson, Glen Moreland & Washtub Jerry, Yampa Valley Boys, and Open Range.



photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Jon Messenger at an informative and inclusive members' meeting

 


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com

Members Linda Kirkpatrick and Michael Martin Murphey at the meeting

Friday the other two stages opened up adding fine performances from Keith Riemer, Mike Moutoux, Jay Snider, Bill Chiles (who kept wondering where the “Windy Bill” printed with his name came from!), Yvonne Hollenbeck, Bill Barwick, Andy Nelson, Geff Dawson, Linda Kirkpatrick, The Pards, Troy Bateson, The Booher Brothers, Rodger Maxwell, Al Mehl, Jim Jones, Trails & Rails, Barbara Hall, Judy Coder & Pride of the Prairie, Sunrise, Jim Garling, Jamie Parker-Franke, Ryan Fritz, Sam DeLeeuw, and David Anderson.  


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com

Jay Snider

 


photo by Linda Kirkpatrick
Sam DeLeeuw

 

The WMA’s Youth Chapter workshop hosted by Tom & Donna Hatton also got under way with valuable mentoring by the Hattons, Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave , Joe Baker and Marvin O'Dell on performance, writing, self-awareness and management.


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
WMA member Cora Wood, a bundle of energy, talent, and charm

Friday’s Award Show & Luncheon was hosted by the riotous Clear Out West (C. O. W.) Radio brothers Andy and Jim Nelson.  


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
WMA Awards Show and Luncheon

In fact Andy was named Male Poet of the Year (and with Jim “Radio DJ”) in those awards, with Yvonne Hollenbeck receiving the Female Poet honors.  


photo by Van Criddle
 Andy Nelson and Yvonne Hollenbeck

Other recipients included Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave (Traditional Duo/Group); Juni Fisher (Female Vocalist); Dave Stamey (Male Vocalist & Entertainer of the Year!); Sons of the San Joaquin (Traditional Album “Way Out Yonder”); Joey Miskulin (Instumentalist); The Texas Trailhands (Western Swing Duo/Group); Wylie and the Wild West (Western Swing Album “Live At The Tractor”); Eli Barsi and STAMPEDE! (tie, Crescendo Award); Jack Hannah (Songwriter); R. W. Hampton (Song “For The Freedom”); KNMB Ruidoso, NM (Station); Jean Prescott and Yvonne Hollenbeck (Best Collaboration [songwriter/poet] “How Far Is Lonesome”); Stan & Alma Tussing (Bill Wiley Award [service]); Earl Gleason, Ryan Hildebrand and Bobby Kingston (tie, Male Yodeler); Teresa Stone (Female Yodeler); Chelsea Beck (Youth Yodeler) and Sons of the Konza Prairie (Harmony) with the Marilyn Tuttle Harmony Award going to The Hanson Family, who performed for the luncheon along with Trails & Rails.  More performances were to come, though!


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
"The Grand Lady of the WMA" Marilyn Tuttle congratulates Dave Stamey

The Western Music Association’s Hall Of Fame Inductions were also done during the ceremony.  Named posthumously was legendary singer/cowboy Carl T. Sprague and the very-much-alive Sons of the San Joaquin were also accorded the high honor. As the Sons performed, they helped prove once again the reason for it! 

The WMA Hall Of Fame’s Pioneer Trail Award was established in 2005 to pay permanent tribute to special lifetime achievements and innovation in “performance, education and promotion of Western Music and the Cowboy Ideal.”  Last year’s recipient was longtime youth mentor, teacher and performer Janet McBride.  This year legendary songwriter Liz Anderson was present with husband Casey and several family members to receive her award and hear her famous daughter Lynn Anderson render a medley of Liz’s great songs, including hits for Merle Haggard, Brenda Lee, and Lynn and Liz themselves along with others.  A very special moment for all!


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Kristi and Darrell Arnold, editor and publisher of Cowboy Magazine, enjoy the Awards show

Friday night it was standing room only once again as the 8th Annual WMA Barn Dance Broadcast raucously got under way.  Done in tribute to the great radio shows like the WLS Barn Dance and Louisiana Hayride, this show was once again hosted by yours truly Rick Huff and co-hosted this time by Hugh McLennan, the award-winning voice of Canada’s great syndicated Spirit of the West radio show.  


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Billie and Hugh McLennan

Amid the ringing cowbells, train whistles and traditional hoopla, the musicians and poets ruled the stage!  The Booher Brothers kicked it off with “Ride Cowboy Ride.” And the fine performances continued from Will Dudley, Donnie Blanz, Bill Chiles, STAMPEDE!, Palo Duro, Sons of the Rio Grande; poets Les Buffham, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Linda Kirkpatrick and Andy Nelson ; and Nancy Thorwardson, Carin Mari & Pony Express, Bill Barwick and Ramblin’ Ralph Estes…but one of those moments to be cherished occurred with Juni Fisher’s performance, as Sons of the San Joaquin’s Joe Hannah joined her for their tender, highly moving duet of a mail order bride and hopeful rancher “I Hope That She’ll Love Me!”  This one left the audience breathless.


photo by Van Criddle
Juni Fisher and Joe Hannah

As if that show weren’t enough, there was more to come Friday evening as over in the convention area Michael Martin Murphey presented his increasingly popular acoustic Lone Cowboy Campfire Concert as a WMA fundraiser.  Fred Hargrove opened it for Michael and at the end of the evening, the show earned a standing ovation.

Saturday performers on the three day stages plus an open mic stage again entertained the crowd, but all were anticipating the evening’s doings. The Best Of The Best banquet and concert featured past and current WMA award winners entertaining.  As a pre-show feature, Donna Hatton presented the Youth Chapter Choir, who gave every bit as professional a performance as you’d expect from the Vienna Boys’ Choir!  They are truly impressive!  


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Donna Hatton with Chelsea Beck

Then hosts Andy and Jim Nelson spearheaded the action as one superior act after another alternately dazzled, amused and moved the capacity audience to roaring approval.  Onstage musicians and poets for this terrific show included The Texas Trailhands, Kip Calahan with Jim Jones, Yvonne Hollenbeck (doing…you guessed it…”What Would Martha Do?”), Juni Fisher, Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave , Andy Nelson (performing a wonderful poetic tribute to his dad), R. W. Hampton with Washtub Jerry (himself a former WMA Instrumentalist of the Year!) and the ever-amazing Dave Stamey closing things out…at least in THAT hall!  Over in the convention center area, the Vintage Western Swing Dance with The Curio Cowboys swung into gear, and fired the dancers up enough that, at its conclusion around 11 PM, a second spontaneous swing dance broke out in the hotel lobby with The Texas Trailhands (and sit-in guests, of course) that went to about 3 AM!  Always each evening’s jam sessions are as much fun to watch as they are to perform in.  Frequently there were seven or eight going at once in different parts of the hotel!


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
RW Hampton and Dave Stamey wait to take the stage, with Jim Nelson (seated)

Those who struggled up for Sunday morning’s Cowboy Church and Gospel Concert (host/pastor Troy Bateson) heard inspirational performances in the hotel’s on-site adobe chapel from David Hunterhawk Pierce, Nancy Thorwardson, Joe Herrington, Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave , Call of the West, Sons of the Konza Prairie, Earl Gleason, The Hanson Family Singers, Francine Roark Robison, Van Criddle, Jamie Parker-Franke, Tom & Donna Hatton and Marilyn Tuttle.  

It was hugs and tears as the time to depart drew nigh.  All who attended seemed to agree that the Western Music Association has indeed rebounded and now is only getting stronger and better.  Dates announced for the 2007 Festival (again in Albuquerque, location to be announced) are November 15th through 18th.  Put it on your calendar, as the WMA’s International Western Music Festival has once again become a definite don’t-miss!


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Shannon Wrango of Kansas Saddlery and Rick Huff

 

A version of Rick Huff's report appeared in the January/February 2007 edition of Rope Burns

See many, many more photos at Lori Faith Merritt's web site:  www.PhotographyByFaith.com

 

More Photos on Page 2


The Winners

  The winners of the Western Music Association (WMA) awards were announced at the first-class 18th Annual Western Music Association Festival, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 16-19, 2006). 

The WMA put out a warm welcome to poet members, and also introduced awards that recognize cowboy poets: Female Poet of the Year, Male Poet of the Year, and Best Collaboration of Poet and Musician.

The winners in all categories for 2006:

Female Poet of the Year:  Yvonne Hollenbeck


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Yvonne Hollenbeck

Male Poet of the Year: Andy Nelson


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Andy Nelson

Best Collaboration of Poet and Musician:  
            "How Far is Lonesome," Jean Prescott/Yvonne Hollenbeck

Traditional Duo/Group:  Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave

Female Vocalist of the Year: Juni Fisher


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Juni Fisher

Male Vocalist of the Year:   Dave Stamey

Traditional Album of the Year:  Sons of the San Joaquin: Way Out Yonder

Instrumentalist of the Year:  Joey Miskulin

Radio DJs of the Year:  Andy and Jim Nelson, Clear Out West (C. O. W.) Radio


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Andy and Jim Nelson

Western Swing Duo/Group:  The Texas Trailhands

Western Swing Album of the Year:  Wylie and the Wild West: Live at the Tractor

Crescendo Award:  Eli Barsi  and STAMPEDE!  (tie)


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Kip Calahan with STAMPEDE! (Terri Taylor, Steve Taylor, and David Anderson)

Songwriter of the Year:  Jack Hannah


photo by Lori Faith Merritt, www.PhotographyByFaith.com
Lindalee Green and Jack Hannah

Song of the Year:  "For the Freedom"R. W. Hampton

Entertainer of the Year:  Dave Stamey

Radio Station of the Year:  KNMBRuidoso, New Mexico

The WMA awards, given to their members, are voted on by members.  Additional awards of tribute were presented:  

The Bill Wiley Award:  Stan and Alma Tussing  
Pioneer Trail Award:  Liz Anderson
Hall of Fame:  Sons of the San Joaquin, Carl T. Sprague

Willie Schooler was given a tribute by Jon Messenger


The Top-Five Nominees

 

The top-five nominees in all categories for 2006:

Female Poet of the Year:  

Buckshot Dot (Dee Strickland Johnson)
Doris Daley
Linda Kirkpatrick
Sam DeLeeuw
Yvonne Hollenbeck

Male Poet of the Year:

Andy Nelson
Don Kennington
Gary Robertson
Les Buffham
Jay Snider

Best Collaboration of Poet and Musician:

"Men Who Ride No More," Joel Nelson/Curly Musgrave
"Nobody Kisses Their Horse Any More," Les Buffham/Mike Ley
"Spin that Pony," Les Buffham/Dave Stamey
"Spirits of Truth," Jon Messenger/Debra Hill/D. Enise
"How Far is Lonesome," Jean Prescott/Yvonne Hollenbeck

Traditional Duo/Group

Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave
Judy Coder and the Pride of the Prairie
Riders in the Sky
Sons of the San Joaquin
STAMPEDE!

Female Vocalist of the Year

Belinda Gail  
Jean Prescott
Juni Fisher
Kip Calahan
Terri Taylor

Male Vocalist of the Year

Curly Musgrave
David Anderson
Dave Stamey
Don Edwards

R. W. Hampton

Traditional Album of the Year

Eli Barsi: Shades of the West
Jon Messenger: Spirit
Les Buffham: Les Buffham and Friends
R. W. Hampton: I Believe
Sons of the San Joaquin: Way Out Yonder

Instrumentalist of the Year

Curly Musgrave
David Anderson
Jeanne Cahill
Joey Miskulin
Rich O'Brien

Radio DJ of the Year

Andy and Jim Nelson
Joe Baker
Johnny Western
Marvin O'Dell
OJ Sikes

Western Swing Duo/Group

Asleep at the Wheel
Open Range
STAMPEDE!
The Texas Trailhands
Wylie and the Wild West

Western Swing Album of the Year

Bobbie Flores Band: Too Many Ribers
Lon Hannah: Cause I Always Wanted to
Nancy Thorwardson: Colorado Swing
Scotty Fitch: A Hundred Years Too Late
Wylie and the Wild West: Live at the Tractor

Crescendo Award

Eli Barsi
Lost Canyon Rangers
O'Brien Family Band
STAMPEDE!
The Quebe Sisters

Songwriter of the Year

Curly Musgrave
Dave Stamey
Donnie Blanz
Jack Hannah
Les Buffham

Song of the Year

"A Cowgirl's Dream"Janet McBride
"For the Freedom"
R. W. Hampton
"Lord of the Rollin' Hills"
Sons of the San Joaquin
"Nighttime Out on the Range"
Jerry Campbell/Robert Wagner
"Where the Very Same Cottonwoods Grow"
Jack Hannah

Entertainer of the Year

Curly Musgrave and Belinda Gail
Dave Stamey
Riders in the Sky
R. W. Hampton
Sons of the San Joaquin

Radio Station of the Year

KBECWaxahatchie, Texas
KFDO
Wichita, Kansas
KIIM
Tucson, Arizona
KNMB
Ruidoso, New Mexico
KRLC
Lewiston, Idaho

See the Western Music Association web site for information about membership, the annual festival, and more. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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