Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hope Y'all had a Merry Christmas

Howdy all:

Just a few ramblings to keep everybody interested.

First, a slightly belated Merry Christmas to all. I hope yours was as great as mine. My friend Joann and I went to one of the local churches and helped serve a dinner which was open to all. Lots of people came in and had a good traditional Christmas dinner, Carols were sung, old friends visited with and new friends made. Just like it should be! We had a blast and I went home just slightly overstuffed. Again, just like it should be! Even though we had a tan Christmas here in Townsend this year. It snowed hard and went sub-zero for Thanksgiving but was over 40 degrees all through the Christmas weekend. Oh well.

Sorry I haven't been posting here the last few days but you know how the Holidays are. also, I've been dealing with some issues with the new Google Blogger. It's become another example of "the bigger the company, the less service".
I'm doing something I'd hoped not to do any time soon but now I'm kind of looking forward to it...I'm taking some bar-gigs New Years Weekend. Colt Angel and I will be playing in Townsend, MT at the Legion Club on Friday and the Mint Saturday and Sunday. We had a great time when we played together at the Bale of Hay Saloon in Virginia City last summer and we've worked together really well in St. Anthony and some other shows over the last few months so this should go really well.
I've blown the dust off of my old bar list of songs and I've been practicing some that none of my Western Music friends have ever heard me do. I can only hope that Colt has been playing my CD once in a while and listening to some of the songs on there. It's kind of hard to practice together when you live 3 hours apart!
I guess I'll bulldoze my house a little so I can have company this weekend!
Have fun y'all and I'll be back with you again soon!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering is a "GO"

Ok. some of you "in the loop" were aware of the fact that we have been having a little problem with the local school administration. they were obivously not thrilled with our little Gathering and were trying to make us unhappy enough to just not do it. That was how things felt, anyway.

Well, tonight, I took it to the School Board and we were then able to work around the problems and get everything ironed out. The short story is that the 6th Annual Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering will be held at the Broadwater High School in Townsend, Montana, on June 1-3 of 2007.

Additionally, we have applied for a small grant and we stand a better chance of being accepted if they get positive comments in favor of us on the website. The link to that is: http://www.myhometownhelper.com/ViewProject.aspx?tell=2&id=7058 . Just click on that link and go be a positive influence!

We are again supposed to be listed in American Cowboy Magazine as one of their "Top 101 Things To Do In the West" this year and we already have our listings in Visitmt.com and Gold West Country. Of course, all of these went to print quite a while ago and the school not being willing to give us the dates we expected was a real problem.

So, the Gathering info will soon be posted on www.cowboyentertainer.com and we'll keep you updated as to who will be here and what's going on.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Roberta Green Passes on

On December 5th, 2006, Cowboy Poetry and Western Entertainment lost one of it's most loved members. Roberta Green, of Challis, Idaho, passed away.

Roberta was one of the founders of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho and has been involved in Cowboy Poetry for many years. Roberta has won the Cowboy Poets of Silver Quill Award and is in the CPI Hall of Fame. She's served on the CPI Board of Directors for many years.
Roberta had written many poems and books. I have "The World By the Tail On a Downhill Pull" and have read it more than once. Such a special lady with a special gift to entertain folks while informing us at the same time.
Roberta was a special friend to all of us and will be greatly missed. Her passing is a loss to all of us in Western Entertainment but such a gain to those she entertains today!
Her funeral will be Monday the 11th in Challis Idaho at the Congregation Churchat 11:o'clock.
I'll be updating this blog entry as I get more information about her many awards and accomplishments. Please feel free to leave comments here.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Another Message from Kathy Camden

To all who support the AWA... There are fair weather friends and those who run and critize when the chips are down.. My husband was on the board of directors at the time the WMA was in so much trouble..and people didn't run or stop the org.. they got to the heart of the problem and solved it.. That is the Cowboy Way.. Loyalty is at the top of my list, and at the top of most of the Cowboys I know..Donna Hatton is a long time friend and I value many of the friendships I have made over the years... This is not about me making money, or who I know!! But about supporting the Western Movement and moving it to a higher level..I will be working with Bobby . the award show will happen, and the AWA will continue..We will be incorporating Classic Country with the Western..Bobby has a new name for it and will soon get letters out to all who would like to continue with the AWA.. If you are interested please send me your name and address so i can send the and application form.
Take Care
and from the snow in Idaho
Happy Trails
Kathy Camden
609 oak
Nezperce, ID 83543

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lots of interest in the discussion of our various organizations.

Ok. As you can see, we have had a bunch of replies to the discussion of the Western Music Association/Academy of Western Artists/Cowboy Poets of Idaho post I put up last weekend.

On november 23, Donna Hatton posted a nice message on the AWA Yahoo group appealing for help for the AWA for an unspecified problem. Juni Fisher answered it and then I felt compelled to answer with My Post to the AWA Yahoo group on Nov 24 . That post prompted several replies, some of which I posted here. Most of the others were one-liners such as "Right on, Larry" and that sort of thing.

As many of you know, there have been even more posts to the various Yahoo groups involved.

All of you who know me know that I enjoy a good debate, whichever side I might be thrown to. Also, I'm never shy about voicing my opinion. It's obvious that my opinion isn't shared by all out there. Horrors! You mean, not everyone agrees with me? Is it possible that I might not be right?
Please take the time to read what I've got posted here and comment on those you find interesting. This has become a good discussion and I'm learning a lot...mostly positive stuff. One thing seems clear to me. Whether you feel that any or all of these organizations are helpful to you or not; worth your time, effort and money or not...obviously, they are very important not only to many individual performers but to our industry as a whole.

I think that one feeling I have gotten from this discussion is that Donna is probably right. We probably do need to help out with the AWA if they are having problems. Also, it might be a good idea to throw our support to the WMA and CPI as well. All three of these groups have a positive impact on our Western Entertainment world. If not, there would not be so much passionate interest in them from so many people.

Comments from Bill Chiles in re; our current ongoing discussion!

This popst is an e-mail from Bill Chiles in reference to the posts I've made and various e-mails and replies this week. Bill gave me permission to post it here.

I just got back from the WMA Albuquerque festival, I received treatment equal to the amount of work I have put in.

Was I the best singer their? Hell yea, I believe LynnAnderson...( yes the Lynn Anderson, performed and jammed and visited allweekend with her) I believe Belinda and Curly and Junie and this years winner Dave Stamey when they say I am, what I also believe is, it is more than talent, it is managing your talent correctly, hard work, yes giving it all up for one dream, their is no being discovered, just damn hard work AND the talent.

Some work smart and hard and have mediocre talent and they end up on top or near, but all the talent in the world cannot end up on top without managing it all, I have received respect for my talent, but none for my business sense, the proof is in the pudding, If I want to be on the A+ list then I have to manage myself to get there. So lets quit whining and looking for a organization to be a talent/booking agency for us. It's family for when we travel far away, it's unconditional caring while we learn and try and fail and win. In the end, no one does it for you, the entertainment business is not set up that way, only the cream goes to the top. You figure it out or the audience will figure it out for you. Am I the best I can be? No way am I a real entertainer, a long way to go.

Bill Chiles

Comments from Juni Fisher about the WMA/AWA Discussion

Howdy again folks. This was an e-mail I got from Juni Fisher last weekend at the beginning of this discussion. She agreed to let me post it here.

Hi Larry,

I am answering your email, off the forum, since I don't want to call you down on something, you are a nice fella. But to compate the WMA to the AWA is to compare A whole bag of beautiful apples to one rotten one.

The WMA has workshops for youth, for folks wanting to know how to pitch to radio, pitching to festivals, and they added a day-long songwriter workshop this year.

Now in years past, the WMA was taken down by unscrupulous folks, special grants were stolen...yes, stolen, and the possibility of getting those particular ones is lost. BUT, a dedicated and honest group of folks reformed the WMA, and worked hard to recoup, get a new format, and build great relationships. Now the WMA is strong again and growing. The awards are VOTED by the members...not the case with the AWA. Bobby Newton decides the AWA awards. Not informed decisions, as he does not attend shows or showcases....he picks who he wants to add to the membership roster.

Last year we who were still members of the AWA paid an extra fee to be included on the website listing, and those listings did not go up till 10 months after we had paid the fee, and two months before our membership would expire. We were charged for a convention that was not a convention at all. The "showcases" were a lame flop, sound men did not even show up.

Now back to the WMA. The showcases go on throughout the event, pairing folks who are the most experienced for some, pairing the up and comings together for others. There is a Best of the Best Show at the end, and those performers are the proven entertainers who have won awards that year or in years past. OF COURSE IT'S THE BEST...why would we want the public to come see our not so good, in hopes they will get hooked on western music?

The WMA is run by a governing board, with an advisory board. The board members are voted on by the genereal membership, in and OPEN meeting. We all feel a part of the running of the WMA because we ARE a part of it.

I hope you will come to the WMA convention next year and see for yourself that it is a fine organization, full of dedicated, hardworking and honest people who promote WESTERN music.

I have been to three WMA conventions in the past three years...they are on the rise for all the right reasons.

Juni Fisher
2006 WMA Female Vocalist of the Year
2005 AWA Western Female Performer of the Year
2005 WMA Crescendo Award
Red Geetar Records
Larrivee' Guitars

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An inspirational post from Kathy Camden

Dear all: I think a lot of people need to look at the broad picture. Everyone benefited from the org.'s. whether you were a member or not, because what you did was being promoted. We used to do this for a fun time like the one in Rupert... NOT FOR MONEY. If this business is to be a business, then we have to pull together as a team, not whine and cry. You can "should of" all day and night... but that doesn't fix the problem. I will say a line for a Wayne Damron song... "Don't should of on me and I won't should of on you".

While I am on a roll.... STRIVE, ACHIEVE, SUCCEED AND GO FORWARD....could have,,,, should have.... and would have.... if you are using these words, you need to go forward. You are in neutral.

Kathy Camden

ps... my husband and I started with this cowboy stuff around 1983... so been down the road.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Some general thoughts about last weekends e-mail storm

What a great day!! It hasn't managed to climb above 10degrees F yet today and it's been snowing a little bit all day long. I'm not sure if it's snowing here or if it's falling above Great Falls and landing here, the way the wind is blowing!

The e-mail storm over my AWA-WMA post seems to have subsided a bit, at least for me. All but one person who commented on it was positive. They all basically said that they had planned to answer the thread until they saw my post and since I had said everything they wanted to they just commented..."right on"!

It did make me take a closer look at what we want these different organizations to do for us. Yes, I'd like to have more recognition for what I do. But, I want to be recognized for my talent, not for who I've been freindly with. I know that's kind of an unrealistic view. In almost any endeavor it's not so much what you know as who you know and the Music business, in any genre, is very much that way. On the other hand, I'm old enough now that I can look out at the world and say "Don't care. I'm gonna do it my way" and be able to live with the consequences. In the past 8+ years that I've been following Western Entertainment I've made some of my greatest friends. I've had a wonderful time and built hundreds of special memories that I will be able to take with me when I'm gone. The awards I've won and the money I've managed to make are nice but when I'm gone, they will stay here. I can't take them with me. The money, of course, was gone Long before I made it!

One of the e-mails I saw mentioned bringing in "big names" so that we could charge $30-40 per ticket and thus make real money for everyone. Let's have a reality check here, folks. Aside from one or two (literally) performers, no one knows who any of our "big names" are except those already interested in Western Music or Cowboy Poetry. Maybe out in Arizona or California you are getting $30 a ticket for an AWA "star" but out here in Montana...well, good luck.

What Bobby Newton of the AWA is saying is true. We are NOT going to beat Nashville at a game they've been playing for a long time. We need to work with them in some way. If Bobby has some ideas about that, I'm ready to listen.

John Westbrook and I were out to dinner with an AWA award winner not long ago. This person spent most of the dinner talking about the "big names" they had played with and were friends with. Names we are all familiar with because we are AWA and WMA members and the success of our peers is important to us. The speaker was "name dropping" to the wrong folks since John has played with Merle Haggard, Johnny Lee and MMM but we didn't say anything...just let it all run past us. My point here is that if this person had been bragging to anyone else in the restaraunt, they wouldn't have known any of the "big stars" being spoken of. Unless John had spoken up! THOSE names, everyone in the building would have known. For Merle you might get $30 a ticket in Montana. Murphy was in Missoula about four years ago and I think the ticket price was $25 and I'll bet there were less than 500 in the audience.

Now I know, because I went to Elko last year and saw what SHOULD be going on at every Western show, that there are a lot of fans out there and a lot of people are learning who we are and what we do. But the few thousand that we see in Elko each year is only a small piece of the thousands who attended Garth Brooks concerts only a few years ago! I'm right back around to; if Bobby Newton and the AWA (or anyone else for that matter) has a plan for building our popularity beyond what we have now, then I'm all for it!

I've got lots of ideas too. Everyone who knows me knows that when it comes to ideas, my motto is: "Quantiy, not quality!" I figure, if only one in 100 ideas works out, that just means you need to crank more ideas out there, faster!

I'm looking forward to meeting more of you out there. One of the best things about this Western Music quest, we all get to run into each other once in a while. With the small size of our "family" it's inevitable. Leave a comment. Let's hear Your ideas! Maybe the solution is out there.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

If you missed out on Rupert, you really missed out!

Rupert, Idaho; November 9-12, 2006. One of the best Gatherings I have ever attended. Thursday jams on stage, Friday and Saturday day and night shows, Sunday Cowboy Church....the same kind of schedule as most Cowboy Poets of Idaho sanctioned Gatherings but all the stuff that went on! Wow!

The Jam sessions at Earl and Sandy White's house...all nighters, all weekend. I staggered off to bed about 3AM each night (morning?) and left some still playing and talking when I did. A weekend of the best poetry, music and above all, friendship you could ever find, any where.

I'll be posting a comprehensive report at cowboyentertainer.com but here are a few pictures to give you an idea. Wish you had been there. Hope to see you at the next one!

My Post to the AWA Yahoo group on Nov 24

I've done the Bar-band thing, as a single, duo and with a band. I've even played in the chicken wire cage for orchestrated fights. Top 40 country and some rock. Then, in 1998, someone invited me to a "Cowboy Poetry Gathering". There were about as many performers as audience at the first gathering I attended. Approx 30+ of each. The audience size wasn't what attracted my attention. First, it was the quality of the performers. These weren't the local jam-session cowboys I was used to seeing. These were exceptionally talented performers. Then, they were doing the kind of music that I played for myself in my living room. The old cowboy songs, Marty Robbins, Ian Tyson and even...ORIGINAL MUSIC! Add to that the fact that the audience was there to listen. Not to get drunk, get laid, shoot pool or whatever but to actually pay attention to the performers.

The Cowboy Poetry was also something I had never experienced before. Stories about MY life, told in verse...Funny, sad, frightening but true! I was enthralled and it all changed my life dramatically. I invited myself to another Gathering in Virginia City, Montana; joined the Cowboy Poets of Idaho and turned my back on the bars (hopefully) forever! I've spent 8 of the best years of my life growing from the country singer in a group of Western Performers to a Western Performer who still does the occasional country song. So much for my quick autobiography.

In the past few years, I've researched the more successful Western performers and the organizations that are supposed to help us in our craft. The three main organizations I would discuss are the Academy of Western Artists, the Western Music Association and the Cowboy Poets of Idaho. Each has about the same number of members although the CPI is still running third in numbers. Many of the best performers I know are members of all three. I was a member of all three at one time and even was President of the WMA's Northwest Chapter for a while. Although I never went to a WMA or AWA awards show, I believe that I did get a good insight into what was going on. I have several friends whom I respect who are or were very involved in the AWA and the WMA and we have discussed, at length, our impressions of all three organizations and the reasons for those impressions.

In my opinion, the reason for an organizations existence is to support all its members. In our case, I want to see training/workshops in the things which help me advance my craft. For instance; writing workshops, guitar maintenance, promotion instruction and so on. Organization sponsored or sanctioned Gatherings or shows should provide an opportunity for newer members to not only "showcase" but grow with on-stage experience and advice, instructions and support from the more experienced members.

My impression of the awards shows for the WMA and the AWA has been that they are "showcases" for the more well known performers to "strut their stuff" as well as a place for the unknowns of our world to meet "the right people". It all sounded like a place to compete with my peers, not advance with them. I can do enough of that with things like the Northwest Fair Association or groups like them. Thus, the extreme cost of traveling so far would not have, in my opinion, brought any returns for me. In addition, it seemed that the awards for both of these groups were given to the same people each year...Just different awards once in a while. And, there were rarely Northwestern names in the ballot and almost never a northwestern name in the list of winners, even though I had come to know many Northwestern area entertainers who are the best I've seen, bar none, of Western performers. I'll list a few here but look at the list of featured performers at http://www.cowboyentertainer.com for a good idea.

One of the best writers, of music or poetry, I have ever met or heard of is Wayne Nelson. Wayne is the only member of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho to have won not only the Golden note Award for music and the Silver Quill Award for writing but is also in the CPI hall of Fame.

Arguably one of the best guitar players in the country today is John Westbrook. John also is a great songwriter and has several songs which have become very popular wherever we have been seen. If you judge by CD sales, in the past five years I've rarely seen John outsold. In fact, at a show we did where we shared the stage with Brenn Hill, Eli Barsi and Joni Harms, the only one who outsold John was Joni.

Bill Chiles has one of the most beautiful singing voices in America and he does Western Music...The old trail songs that we are trying to carry on to the next generation. To show a little conceit, I'll say that I also have a remarkable singing voice and I have written several Western songs which are very popular. I'm one of the few who has ever outsold John Westbrook in CDs! (I put that in just to prod him a little!).

Wyoming Red was a sister duet who had the most wonderful repertoire of old Western songs as well as the addition of their genetic harmony that made them one of the biggest crowd pleasers I've worked with. Another Northern female vocalist that is top notch is Terri Taylor of "Stampede!". None of these great entertainers, with the recent well deserved exception of "Stampede"!, have been noticed by either the AWA or the WMA.

Those of us up here in the Great White North have found that the Cowboy Poets of Idaho meets all the expectations we have in an organization. They do provide workshops at several of their sanctioned shows, they make it a point to help new and younger performers get the stage experience they need and awards from the CPI are granted to different names each year by the overall memberships vote as the other organizations do. But, the list of names on the ballot seems different each year. When you go to the Annual Gathering in St. Anthony, Idaho you usually see new faces on the night show and many new ones in the day shows. Everyone is treated like a star, not just a select few and this, I believe, is the job of an organization such as this one. And I know of several Gathering organizers (I am one) who actively seek new talent to put out for all to enjoy.

Most CPI sanctioned Gatherings have a multi-talent night show with no "headliner" or "top billing". Each performer is treated the same and if anyone is paid, all get the same pay. One of my big frustrations was to be a Day-show performer, for free, and have someone "Headline" the Night-Show (usually for a decent check) who was no better than I and often (here I take a deep breath and show some arrogance) not anywhere near as good! And, don't start with the "You have to pay your dues" line. Read the first paragraph. When you can tell me your Bar-fight stories then we can talk!

I have heard these same concerns about the AWA and the WMA from more than just myself. I know several exceptional performers who once were members of all three groups who gave up on the two Southern groups and focused on the CPI. I'm sure not because of the awards and recognition but because of the family feeling for ALL members and the friendly helpful atmosphere that is a big part of all CPI Gatherings.

If the AWA is in trouble, maybe they could revamp a little and try to be more accessible and friendly towards ALL the members, not just a select few "stars". Possibly an effort to enhance the abilities, help with the problems and address the concerns of everyone would help.

In my case, I plan to be aware of the AWA and the WMA and what they are doing. I count several active members of both organizations as special personal friends and I certainly hope my words here didn't hurt any feelings. At the same time, I feel the need to help CPI grow to be, in the Northwest, what the other two are for the South.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wyoming Red Retiring!!

I got a call from Rusty tonight and she asked that Wyoming Red be taken off the www.cowboyentertainer.com website as they are retiring from the Western Music world.

I know I speak for us all when I say that this is a major loss to our little family. Gatherings will not be the same without "The Reds" showing up and I will miss them a lot.

Rusty just felt that she and Susan both have so many other things going on in their lives that they had to make some hard choices and they just don't enjoy the traveling as much as they used to. Also, both want to have at least some contact with their husbands ocaisionally so...they are cutting out the Western Music shows.

For those few who do not know these ladies, they have the sweetest voices on any stage and are some of the best people you can ever meet. They have won the Cowboy Poets of Idaho Golden Note Award as well as being inducted into the Cowboy Poets of Idaho Hall of Fame. The Reds are some of the first people I met in Western Entertainment and the influence of such talented and personable performers was a big part of what led me into this little "family" the past few years.

We love you, girls and I can only hope to see you down the trail somewhere.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Rupert, Idaho Gathering

Well, Howdy all and what's happening with you? What's happening with me is that it's 5:30 in the morning and I just got in from my trip back from Rupert, Idaho. But what a great time we all had!!

Those of you who have never attended a Cowboy Poetry or Western Entertainer gathering have been missing out on some of the best times available in our world. Just look at how much fun these two have obviously been having!!

We played music, sang songs and performed Cowboy Poetry from 10 in the morning 'til 10 at night at the Wilson Theater in Rupert, Idaho. then, we went to the house of some friends and continued until around 4 in the morning (public still invited!), slept ( as you can see here) for a little while and then started over again.

We'll have a full Gathering Report on www.cowboyentertainer.com when I get some more pictures in from our (unofficial) photographer, Tosha Wolfe.

If you'd like to have more info about these events, check out our cowboy entertainer links or give me an e-mail, leave a comment here or whatever. You can count on the best entertainment you can see anywhere as well as the opportunity to meet some of the best people.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"On the Road" updates

Well, we're having a blast out here on the road again. Wayne Nelson and I played at the Portneuf Valley Brewing in Pocatello, Idaho last night and had a great time. Fairly good audience, very appreciative, and some Great performers. You could hear Jazz, Blues, Folk, Country, Bluegrass and Western all in the same place!

I met Zack from "Shakey Bones", a rock group up here for a couple of concerts. He just happened to stop in the Brewery while walking around Pocatello with nothing much to do and then he joined our jam session and was there until the last of us left. I enjoyed his music and wish I had the time to go to one of their shows.

I got e-mail from Marvin O'Dell of Classicheartland and he says he'll be featuring me and my "Listen To the Wind" CD at classicheartland this weekend. That's nice of him. We also have a link to classicheartland.com and Marvin's playlist on the cowboyentertainer website.

Keep in touch, all. If your reading these, give us a comment to let us know you were here!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

St Anthony Roxy Theater Benefit

Well, we had a lot of fun in St. Anthony last night. The Fall River Boys, Mark Seeley, Rand Hillman and Dave Grimes, were a great hit, like usual. I don't know what I like from them the best: their semi-serious (They're nver Really Serious!) songs and poems or their humorous stuff. "Ghost Chickens In the Sky" is exceptionally funny but I also love to hear them sing some of the more "standard" Western songs.

Zeb Angell was here again. I really enjoy Zeb's poems as well as his delivery of both his and others poetry. It's great to see a younger guy coming up in our world.

Oral Elser had the audience in his grip from the first sentence last night. His stories and poems are always entertaining. What impresses me is that he's so very funny for several minutes and then hits us with a serious poem that makes us sober up a little...then he takes us right back to laughter. Oral is a gem.

Colt Angell and I worked together very well again. I always like to have a good lead guitar player with me and Colt certainly is that. I can do a song he's never heard before and he's playing lead for me within a few bars. Speaking of bars, we went out to the Star Bar after the show and Colt broke out his stand-up bass and we played for a little while. He's great Bass player too.

All in all, the Roxy Theater benefits have both been fun and I look forward to doing more of them. The Roxy is very important to those of us in the Cowboy Poets of Idaho as we've been holding our gathering there for a long time. In addition, it's a great facility for the Fremont County residents to have available. We hope to see more and more support for the Roxy's renovation and maintenence.
Jills Place Cafe
Just a quick addition to this post. The Guesthouse Inn in St. Anthony donated a room and Jill's Place Cafe donated a meal. The motel was comfortable and the people were nice. The breakfast I had at Jills was exceptional! If you are travelling through St. Anthony, Idaho and are ready for a meal, please stop at Jills and make sure they know it's because they helped out the Cowboy Entertainers. If you're ready for a nights sleep, please do the same at the Guesthouse.

Incidentally, the walls in Jill's are covered with pictures of US Military members from the Civil War to today. Just walking around inside, looking at pictures of Fremont County area people who have served our country gave me chills. What a great thing to do!
Jills Place Cafe

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Check out other Western performers

Ok, you've got Wayne's comments about Western Music and Cowboy Poetry to help you understand what's going on out here. I'm now going to add mine.

Many of us have lost interest in todays "Country" music. I know that I almost never listen to a Country station anymore. I can't tell who is singing as they all sound alike to me. The songs all sound poorly written with ludicrous lyrics, disjointed music and what I would call a "soft rock" style. anyone remember Fleetwood Mac? Abba? America? Those are all soft rock groups from the 70s and that's what todays country music sounds like to me...only not as entertaining.

"Western" music now...songs about the cowboy and the west, its history and current events. Folk music with a Cowboy flavor in the tradition of Marty Robbins and Eddy Arnold or the Sons of the Pioneers.

And there are many great performers who are doing very well with this style. Michael Martin Murphy and Ian Tyson are probably the most well known with a big bunch rapidly catching up with them. Three organizations are of note here. The Western Music Association, the Academy of Western Artists and the Cowboy Poets of Idaho. Each of these has been growing steadily over the years with members throughout the US and Canada. A look at the members of any of these organizations shows you the best of the best in Western Music and Cowboy Poetry. Many performers who should be household names.

The music I hear from these folks is far more entertaining than anything in the Nashville accepted lists. If more people heard what we are doing out here, then our style would rapidly overtake and surpass the Nashville music poularity. That's exactly why it's so hard to get our music heard on the radio. Unless it's on Nashville's top-40 list, music desn't get played. Drop in your local radio station and ask them about playing music from local artists. You'll get smiles and handshakes; they'll accept your CDs and then use them for Christmas tree decorations or something.

A few, mostly independent, stations are playing our stuff and they are getting a great response from it. The best example I know of is KRLC radio in Lewiston, Idaho which has had a great increase in listeners since they instituted a weekly program of western music.

At www.cowboyentertainer.com you can find more information about this subject; music from some of our performers and contact info for the major performers organizations noted here. Check us out. Go to a Wetern Music or Cowboy Poetry gathering or show if one turns up in your area. You'll have a lot of fun and you'll find yourself whistling a whole bunch of "new" tunes!

Monday, October 30, 2006

What is Western Music/Cowboy Poetry?

The following is an article written for www.cowboyentertainer.com by Wayne Nelson of American Falls, Idaho.

There are few enough people alive today who remember a world without television, let alone those who remember a time with no radio. All we really have to go by are accounts, diaries and books of the period. Add to that word of mouth through hundreds of family histories and you get a glimpse of what leisure time was like in a world so quiet you could hear the stars in their paths across an endless backdrop of skies newly discovered by "civilized" man. Outside the circle of firelight or the walls of a makeshift cabin, night in frontier America was a dark and dangerous place. In those days people clamored to be together the way we now clamor to be away from others. And when they gathered, how did they entertain themselves? They played games, sang songs, told stories and recited poems learned from both written page and word of mouth.Then, as now, a well delivered poem brought the embers of the campfire to life, spreading itself across the dancing flames with added richness each time it was told.

The sheer joy of listening to a skilled recital must have been equal to watching a good movie with ones' favorite actors in terms of today. Having a good storyteller or poet along on a long cattle drive could do wonders in boosting the moral of a crew, which in turn led to the success of the endeavor. Some cowhands with only marginal proficiency were kept on the payroll for their entertainment value alone by farsighted trailbosses who realized their importance in the overall picture.

Somewhere along the line someone remembered that if a good story is preserved in clever rhymes it is more easily remembered ("In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue." How could we forget?) and began to memorialize their heros and heartlands in the telling and re-telling of what are now the classics, many of which had many campfire miles on them before they ever hit paper. Some good books were published in the first few decades of the twentieth century but seemed doomed to the realm of obscure folklore.

Then, in the mid-1980's a few devotees met in Elko, Nevada and started the ball rolling on one of the biggest phenomena of our time. Not only were people reciting the classics...they were digging out grandpa's poems that he never showed anybody, coming out of the poetry closet themselves by the thousands, enriching Western culture with verbal color and detail heretofore thought impossible. Cowboy music (as opposed to "Country" music), art, gear western horsemanship, cooking and even Cowboy Church have enjoyed a simultaneous revival. Gatherings have sprung up almost everywhere cattle are raised and new writers are voicing their love of the cowboy lifestyle with a zeal that hasn't appeared since the Oklahoma land rush.

A virtual rebirth of western culture has resulted from Cowboy Poetry...one that has many sociologists scratching their heads. It's too bad they can't see what we see; It's too good to ever die!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fall and Winter pictures: Broadwater County, Montana

One of the nice folks who have viewed and commented here mentioned that I should post some Montana pictures.

This first one is of Mt. Baldy, about 20 miles NE of Townsend, Montana.

The one with all the snow and looking DOWN the mountain is from almost at the southern edge of the base of Baldy, looking SW, towards Townsend. There's a little haze in the air so you can't see town in the picture. This second one is the picture I used for my Big Sky Dreams CD cover.

Actually, I am from West Yellowstone, Montana; the West entrance to Yellowstone National Park. So, I have hundreds of YNP area pictures, many from back in the 20s and 30s. I guess I'll post some of those in the future.

A couple of my songs, "Big Sky Dreams" and "Listen to the Wind", are written with the theme of living outside Montana and wishing I was home. TJ Casey has a really great song about his love for Montana called "It's in the Blood".

Many of the Western Music and Cowboy Poetry performers write about their homes as our surroundings are a big part of who and what we are.

Incidentally; for those who don't know...there IS a difference between "Country" and "Western" music. To paraphrase what I read in the Western Way magazine last year; Western Music is about the life, work, surroundings or history of the cowboy. Did i tell you all this already? Well, that's ok; it bears repeating!

Anyway, thanks for checking in with us once in a while and I hope to hear from more folks here soon.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Another Big Day in Montana

Howdy all:

Well, it's nice and cool today; about 40 degrees right now. No snow here in the Townsend valley yet but there's already some in the mountains around us. I'm sure hoping for a good old-fashioned Montana winter again this year. The colder it gets and the more snow we see, the more likely many of our "Californicator" residents will decide that Arizona might be a better idea!

I had a chance to talk with Montana Senator Conrad Burns ( www.conradburns.com )at a meeting Wednesday. He makes lots of sense to me and is obviously not only a real Montanan but a (ex)Marine. I enjoyed hearing his views and I even gave his wife one of my Big Sky Dreams CDs. Hopefully, someone in the group listens to it!

I got an e-mail from Charles Engel from Bend, OR. He's got a radio show on the local Public Radio ( http://www.kpov.org/ )where he focuses on Western Music and he asked for some CDs. I'm sending out mine and I encourage you to contact him.

Some of the links at www.cowboyentertainer.com are links to radio stations that play our stuff. KRLC in Lewiston, ID and KRRM in Grants Pass, OR are two who play mine quite often. www.cowboyentertainer.com/tommy.html is the page we have set up for the KRLC DJ; Toe Tappin Tommy Tucker.

A friend of mine found a guitar in the dump. since it looked nice (no strings on it) he brought it to me to see if it was useful. With $36 of repairs, it is now quite a nice little guitar. It's a Lyle, so it isn't a BIG find, but it is a nice sounding and playing little guitar and I guess my point is; if you feel the need to throw away your guitar, call me first please!

Anyway, everyone have fun out there and let me know if you're reading this. Leave some comments. TALK to us!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cowboy Music and Poetry: Growing and building!

The art of Western Entertainment is alive and well all over the world. More and bigger audiences crowd into little theaters, school auditoriums and even Carbegie Hall just to see and hear Western (NOT Country!) Music and Cowboy Poetry performed by some of the most talented artists in the country. Check out websites like www.cowboyentertainer.com and www.cowboypoetry.com to find a wealth of information about what we do and why we do it. Listen to "Around the Campfire" at www.classicheartland.com for some great Western music.

How many out there have songs or poems they'd like to share? Who has been to a Cowboy Poetry or Western entertainer Gathering or show? Who are your favorite Western entertainers; past and/or present?

An example of a Western Music artist of the past...Marty Robbins. Today? Older Chris Ledoux stuff, Michael Martin Murphy, Ian Tyson. These are names you might know. How about naming some of todays best?