Monday, December 03, 2007

LA Homelss shelter gets burglarized

Ok. When I first heard the headline, my first reaction was: "So, how much could a burglar get at a homeless shelter?" The answer...THOUSANDS of DOLLARS! Here is the AP report:


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A burglar stole tens of thousands of dollars from a safe at a Los Angeles homeless shelter. The cash was taken early yesterday from Union Rescue Mission. It belonged to homeless people who saved earnings from jobs outside the shelter.

Officials say the thief set a fire to cover his tracks, forcing residents to evacuate from the downtown shelter. No one was injured.

The mission's chief executive says one man stored more than $10,000 in the safe while several others had about $4,000 each. The mission hopes to pay back the money, whether or not the theft is covered by insurance.

A police spokeswoman says firefighters told detectives about the robbery, but she has no information on possible suspects. The mission says a security camera captured the thief leaving the shelter.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Now, I don't mean to let my "Class envy" show here but I couldn't scrape 10,000 pennies together right now, let alone $10,000 in cash! And "Several others" had over $4000?!

First, it is ridiculous to me that I work steady, am a part of our local community, own my own home and there is no way I could put even the $4000 in cash together if my life depended on it. Apparently, I'd be better off living in a homeless shelter in LA. Maybe with my cardboard sign: "Will play music for food"!

Then, what does this say about the cost of living in the LA area when you can't move out of a homeless shelter with $10,000 in cash available?

Every day it is driven home to me that I don't fit into this world.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A picture from Iraq

I got this in my e-mail today. I have no way to check the accuracy of the message but decided that it didn't need to be checked. The thought...the reality...of our American Sentiment, ideals and beliefs is shown clearly in this photo. LG

John Gebhardt's wife, Mindy, said that this little girl's entire family was executed. The insurgents intended to execute the little girl also, and shot her in the head...but they failed to kill her. She was cared for in John's hospital and is healing up, but continues to cry and moan. The nurses said John is the only one who seems to calm her down, so John has spent the last four nights holding her while they both slept in that chair. The girl is coming along with her healing.

He is a real Star of the war, and represents what America is trying to do.

This, my friends, is worth sharing with the WORLD! Go for it!! You'll never see things like this in the news. Please keep this going. Nothing will happen if you don't, but the American public needs to see pictures like this and needs to realize that what we're doing over there is making a difference. Even if it is just one little girl at a time.

James Gates U. S. Navy

Friday, November 09, 2007

My recording of "Down the Road I'll Go", from my "Big Sky Dreams" CD, will be heard on Around the Campfire the week of November 10th. The show airs 6 times during the week.

To listen, go to http://www.heartlandpublicradio.org/ and click on HPR2. After that click on "Schedule" to find out when the show airs in your time zone (all times posted are Central Standard Time.) Then select "Listen" to hear the show.

Thanks again for the great western music. And for helping keep the west wild! Marvin O'DellAround the CampfireHeartlandPublicRadio.org

Monday, October 08, 2007

Big Sky, Montana with Westbrook and Nelson

We had a great time in Big Sky last weekend. John Westbrook, Wayne Nelson and I did a show for the Integrated Poultry Producers Association Board of Directors and their wives. We all had a great time.


On Friday, John and I played for their dance and dance lessons so we did a nice mix of our regular show and our old dance tunes.


Saturday, I played my regular list as background entertainment for the dinner and then Wayne got up and entertained the audience with his stories, poems and songs about the West. He was great, as usual, and held the audience enthralled for a couple of hours.

We visited with Buzzy Vick at breakfast Sunday morning and then went on our way. Another great weekend and another group of people who have been introduced to our kind of entertainment. Success all around!

Lots of comments on our "Anti-Cowboy Poets" poem

I've received several comments about the poem from "ShelterBelt Slim" both from people who haven't seen his missive and some who have. Everyone seems to agree with me that the message is acceptable but the language used is unnecessary. So far, I have only posted the longer and more lucid responses.

I have at least four responses that all basically say: "He's hit the nail on the head" so it's becoming apparent that many of us are a little disgusted with the current crop of performers who really don't seem to fit the "Cowboy" mold. Actually, I have gotten a couple of these quick "He's right" responses from people whom I would classify as "Californicators" themselves!

In a way, I sometimes feel the same way about our genre. It often seems that some of the more prominent performers have never had the "pleasure" of doing real ranch work and wouldn't know how. But, when I examine that opinion, I realize that I have addressed this issue before.

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is my main example. Although their "rules" for being invited to the main stage specifically mention a cowboy/ranching background, we all know that some of their most popular performers have had nothing to do with ranching or being cowboys. Some are school teachers; some are from back east someplace where all they can do is dream of a romanicized western life. My response to this has always been: not that the rule should be more strictly enforced but that the rule is not acceptable in the first place. Would Roy Rogers or Gene Autry make the Western Folklife Center's grade? Probably not, if the cowboy/rancher rule is actually enforced.

So, my personal opinion is that the background or lifes experience of a Western Entertainer is not as important as the quality of their performance. If someone is a good writer and has produced good songs or poems portraying the Western or Cowboy lifestyle, then I will listen to and enjoy their material without regard to where they come from or how they made their living.

As to Shelterbelt Slim's rhyming rant, the most telling point I can see is that although I have had many responses to my post here, none are from the author. Apparently, his concept of Cowboy culture doesn't include the courage to stand up for his convictions. Pity.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Big Sky, Montana; October, 2007



John Westbrook and I had a great time doing our little show last night for some retreating executives and their wives at the Rainbow Ranch Lodge near Big Sky, Montana. Most of the audience is from North Carolina and points south so the two inches of snow and the steady snowstorm outside were kind of a shock for them. The first weekend in October and we're having a great storm here. Welcome to Montana!

There's about six inches of snow on the ground now and it's snowing hard. I talked with Becky Nelson from the American Falls, Idaho area and she says they have a couple of inches down there, but none in Townsend. I guess we don't get snow up there any more!

Wayne Nelson and I will be doing a little show for the same audience at the same place tonight. Should be just as good a time as we had yesterday.

Last night, I had a $10 hamburger at the Corral Bar. It was good, but not THAT good! Anyway, this morning I wanted some coffee. Here at this luxury resort, I had to climb into the old rusty pickup and head to Big Sky to find a breakfast. I asked at the gas station if there was a regular old fashioned cafe somewhere around Big Sky. You know, someplace with buiscuits and gravy and hot coffee? Not a chance. The closest thing was the "Bugaboo Cafe". They had good food and their prices were at least within shouting distance of reasonable. I even had a plate of ham and eggs, like a normal person. I skipped the blue crab and the florentine omelettes as just not in my regular breakfast list.

Anyway, that's my current report from "On the Road".

Friday, October 05, 2007

Hi there all:

I want to address a couple of things here today.

I got an e-mail last week from a fella (?) calling himself ShelterBelt Slim or Yardley Vanderwench. I'm sure many of you got it also as it was sent to a lot of people. All in the "To:" address bar also so now there are lots more addresses available to anyone! When you send a bulk e-mail, put all the addresses in the "BCC:" address bar. They'll go where you want them to but the e-mail addresses won't be visible to the recipients. There. That's one thing out of the way.

Anyway, the poem is a rant about Cowboy Poets not being real cowboys. The language isn't great but that isn't why I'm not posting it right now. I'd be willing to post it here for the opposing viewpoint kind of thing but I won't post under a psuedonymn. I have a good idea who it was from but I'm not saying. Here's the e-mail I sent back to "Yardley":

Hi there:

Interesting poem. Not exactly on the mark but I would be willing to post it on the blog except that I won't post anything under a psuedonymn. If ya can't sign it, I won't post it. A real Cowboy isn't afraid to let the world know what he thinks or how he feels.

Actually, I often have the same feeling when I see city boys and girls getting the gigs while those of us who are or were the real deal are pushed aside.

If you want to stand up and be counted, let me know, otherwise I guess it's all just air.


If I get a reply with a real name, I'll post the poem for everyone. Like I say, the language isn't great in a place or two. Obviously written "with a mad on" but I understand the sentiment, even though I don't agree with it.

As I've often mentioned, I like to get a good discussion going here as there are a lot of concerns we all feel out here that we're reluctant to bring out in front of everyone. That's one of the things Blogs are for. To vent.

Be good and I'll be b ack later.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Willie's Place Programming Change

I received the following message; forwarded by Bobby Newton of the Academy of Western Artists.

"My understanding is the on Monday, Willie's Place (XM Channel 13) has changed their programming from an emphasis on the Texas Honky Tonk type of music to a more top forty type of hits programming.

They have just about completely quit playing any artists like Justin Trevino, Bobby Flores, Tony Booth, Jody Nix, Jake Hooker, Heather Myles, Joe Paul Nichols, Mike Siler, Johnny Bush, Darrell McCall, Amber Digby, Leona Williams, Little Joe Carson, Curtis Potter, Johnny Seay or others in that category.

They are focussing on the more "legends" in the business. Now, I appreciate the legends as much or more than anybody and I think that any person that knows me will attest to that. Who else signs artists to record in their 80's?

It is amazing to me that the music and artists that made Willie's Place (and Hank's Place) the most listened to music channel on XM are now all but banned on the channel.

If you are a subscriber, I would urge you to email williesplace@xmradio.com and let your voice be heard.

I don't know much, but I do know that a service that is being paid for by subscribers should listen to subscribers.

If you don't want to hear Justin, Amber, Darrell, Curtis or those other guys on Willie's Place, please do not do anything and we can hear another Elvis or Margaret Whiting song on the channel that is supposed to be a Texas Honky Tonk.

> > Tracy Pitcox
www.heartoftexascountry.com "

"The Yellowstone Song" by: Terri Taylor

I got the following message from Terri Taylor, of STAMPEDE! today. Go to the Western Folklife Center website and check it out. A really good song!

"I have a song entered in the Yellowstone/Teton Song writing contest sponsored by the Elko and Gibson Guitar and so far it's doing really good. There were over 130 songs submitted and they picked the Top 16 and put them on the website for everyone to go in and vote for their favorite.

Mine is called "The Yellowstone Song". It's basically a kids song and I've got a bunch of kids singing it with me. I would appreciate anyone's and everyone's vote! You can listen to the song as well on the site.
Thanks
Terri"


I listened to all the songs there today but I haven't voted yet. I'm leaning towards Terri's but I'm also intrigued by Mike Hurwitz and his "Ed Trafton" as well as "The Great Yellowstone Buffalo" by; Virgil Stortroen. I now have a little better appreciation of the difficulty the Folk Life Center must have faced in selecting these 16 songs from all that were submitted.

All of the songs are very good and I enjoyed listening to each...most of them more than once. Certainly the artists are top notch and even the recording quality (not a factor in the initial judging) is very good. However; I didn't feel that a lot of them had anything to do with Yellowstone! I have a few songs about Montana that I didn't enter as they aren't about Yellowstone/Grand Teton. Just general Montana. So, I focused on songs that were obviously about Yellowstone/Grand Teton and that appealed to me personally.

Mike Hurwitz' song is in the great Western tradition of a ballad about a real occurrence. Add to that the fact that it is well written and of course extremely well performed and it is a tough contender.

Virgil Stortroen has written a nice, simple story, likely also about a real occurrence. It certainly sounds like Yellowstone and especially some of the experiences I have had around there. Kind of a chuckle for me and I enjoyed it.

Terri's song is very upbeat, happy and fun and I think it is something that kids around our area just might be found singing in school and at home! That's not an exaggeration. It's a very fun song and one I wish I had thought of first!

So, anyway, go to the Western Folklife Center website and check out the whole list. Go ahead and listen to all the songs a couple of times. They are all very good and you'll have fun just doing that. Then, I guess, close your eyes and click the mouse in the voting area??!

Thanks to the Folklife Center for this idea. It has brought some great music out for us to listen to. Several that I hadn't heard before.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Music Ranch Montana

Howdy Folks!

First, a history lesson.

When I first met John Westbrook, he was running the sound and most everything else at a pretty neat little facility in Belgrade, Montana called Music Ranch. This was the brainchild of Frank and Karen Smith and what a great idea it was!

They had a small stage area and enough room to seat around 160-200 people, a small kitchen, bathrooms and showers, a good sound/recording room and video recording/sound recording equipment set up already. At the time, most of the sound/recording equipment belonged to John but he had semi-permanently installed it for it's most effective use.

We had several good shows there over the years and a regular monthly "Hootenany". John produced my first two CDs there as well as CDs for several other performers.

A couple of years ago, Frank needed the building for his regular business so Music Ranch went on hold while he built another one. Well, the new one is almost complete and we even did a "housewarming" show there on September 15th. It's located on te Smith property in Paradise Valley, about ten miles south of Livingston, Montana. Frank has built a really nice barn-like structure, with a great kitchen/serving area, performers lounge and dressing rooms, good stage, great sound system and seating inside for about 300-400 people. The south side wall consists of Garage doors which can be opened to a natural ampitheater which will seat another 400 people when he is all done.

The stage is nicely set up with direct access from the upstairs performers lounge to the wings so that you can wait in the lounge until almost time for your appearance and then go down the stairs and be waiting in the wings.
The kitchen is very nice and food can either be prepared right there or brought in and placed on the serving counter.
Lots of bathrooms for audience and performers with dressing rooms/showers on the upper floors.
All this will make a facility that is comfortable and useful for performers and audience and creates a very intriguing venue for anyone who wants to do a show in the Livingston/Bozeman area.

Frank and Karen would like to see performers out there whenever we are traveling through. They would like to set up frequent shows and say that if you are travelling through, you are welcome to stop in and say "howdy".
When we did the little event on September 15th, people were there from as far away as Spokane, Washington and we had a little crowd of about 100 people, including performers. I had a chance to see several local entertainers whom I hadn't met before as well as those who had always been a big part of Music Ranch in the past.
John Westbrook played guitar for most of those who got on stage including Kostas, a well known Nashville songwriter. Dave Brackett, Ed Marsh and myself also did a few songs as well as several other great performers (As usual, I'm not going to try and give a complete list as I always forget someone).
Karen and Frank don't have a website up yet but you can contact them at 406-581-2509 or musicranch@wispwest.net . Let them know you heard about Music Ranch here and you'd like to be included in any mailings or promotions. I'm sure Karen would be happy to let you know once they have everything built and the events start.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Was I a bit hasty in my Musicians Friend Judgement?

Ok. Let's be fair. Everything I've ordered has come fairly quickly, in good shape and securely packaged. Although the bank-account shuffle is kind of a pain, the prices are great and they certainly haven't overcharged.

Also, in todays package, was an LED flashlight and a Sennheiser microphone that I had not ordered...no charge.

Perhaps a little less whining is in order on my part?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Musicians Friend or Buy Local?

Ok. I realize that the prices at Musicians Friend are considerably lower than your local music store. but, do I want to go through the hassles I've had with MF? Let's run down some of them. Be aware of the fact that, between my computer business and my music, I make a LOT of internet purchases. The only place I've ever had a problem is at MF. I also do a fair amount of shipping of my own products.

First, I ordered some Mic stands with a carrying case. Great products and prices. I had to reorder as MF had a problem with the fact that my billing address and shipping address are different.(?) I finally got that resolved and they shipped the mic stands...each one separately?! As I'm sure all you musicians know, the stands each came in its own box, about 4x4x36 inches. One of those was shipped with the shipping lable on the mic stand box (the way I'd have shipped them if shipped separately). The others were each shipped in boxes big enough to ship a guitar, with several pounds of wadded paper used to keep the original box/stand from rattling around in the huge boxes each came in. Any of these huge boxes would have held all six mic stands for shipping in one box. So, I wind up with an office full of boxes, wrapping paper and wadded shipping paper that I have to get rid of. It didn't cost me anything so I kind of laughed about it and passed it off. There's a guy here in town who could use the boxes so he came and got them instead of me having to make a trip to the dump so...no harm, no foul. It just shows me a marked inefficiency at MF but that is their problem.

Next, I ordered a mixer board, power amp and the mic clips for the stands (they don't come with one...something I didn't know before hand. My bad.) for a total of $424 and some change. I pay for this stuff with a Debit card, from my checking account. I access my checking account online once or twice a week and reconcile it as often as I can. Thus, I see account activitiy very quickly. I saw the charge in my account and reconciled it in my check register. Then, I saw a credit to my account from somewhere. This turned out to be from MF. Within a couple of days, I saw the debit from the account again. Confusing, but so far I was keeping up!

I ordered some cables and a speaker. Again, I saw the account activity within a couple of days and reconciled it. Then, a credit for the speaker. Then, a re-debit for the speaker. Now, I'm seeing debits for the original order again. By this time, I was starting to run behind.

Does all this sound confusing? Guess what...Me too! I called Musicians Friend. The first "Customer service" guy I talked with was pretty clueless so I asked for a supervisor. She explained that, when the order first comes in, they "reserve" that amount from the debit card account: but, it's not actually charged until the items ship. So, everything shows up at least twice in my checking account. The "reserve" (which I still don't understand) and then the individual charges as they (SLOWLY) get everything shipped out. Although the money only actually comes out of my account once, the resulting debits/credits that show up in the online activity have about blown a fuse in my computer.

I make a lot of purchases online, as I mentioned. This is the only place I've ever had these kinds of problems. As far as I can see, it hasn't costed me anything except aggravation and time but it IS very aggravating to have to keep changing reconciled entries in my check register to coincide with the MF shipping/debiting/crediting system. I certainly didn't have problems like this when I made purchases at Music Villa, Piccolos or Clark Music. Although the pricing is attractive at Musicians Friend, I'm leaning towards the concept of buying locally. Less stress for me and more local business just might make up for the difference in price.

Monday, August 20, 2007

"Colen Sweeten Remembered" By: Wayne Nelson

Just inside the lobby of the Convention Center in Elko back in 1991, there was a bulletin board where, if you had extra tickets to one of the many wonderful events put on by the Folklife Center, you could get your money back by advertising them there. I desperately wanted to see the night show in the main auditorium which had long since been sold out, and was scanning the board for the fifth or sixth time that Saturday morning. Just as I was about to give up, a man in advancing years approached and pinned up an extra ticket to the night show. I immediately reached for my wallet and snagged that ticket, feeling like I’d just won the Lotto! I thanked him profusely and we introduced ourselves. His firm, lingering handshake was full of warmth. As we chatted, I looked into a friendly face composed of features that bespoke strength, wisdom, determination and the ruggedness needed to carve out a living in our harsh, but beautiful, West. Most notable of all was the pair of honest, unassuming eyes, framed by a pair of horn rimmed glasses, which embellished an already owlish appearance, shaded by a pair of bristling, bushy eyebrows. A wide, thinlipped mouth that seemed always ready to break into a quick and friendly smile, then return to more serious subjects. High cheekbones and a strong chin above a sinewy, corded neck.

Except for the plain western cut business suit, you’d think he’d just stepped off a tractor in a hayfield or a well trained cow horse.

He had that extra ticket because his wife, Ruth, was needed at home. The seats were numbered with the tickets so we sat together and enjoyed the show, which featured a Mexican horse trainer who taught his mounts to dance out on the stage on two legs! Colen whispered to me how intently the horses watched their trainer, how important it was to keep the attention of an animal to perform such feats.

After the show we talked further, traded tapes, and when he found out that I, too, was an Idahoan, he suggested joining Cowboy Poets of Idaho. I did, and it made one of the most rewarding changes in my life.

Colen knew horses. He grew up at a time when all the work was done by them. He was a small boy in the Curlew Valley in the 1920’s when a J.C. Penney store first opened up in Malad. Colen needed shoes, so a rare trip to town was in order. There was a big selection of colors available and when the clerk asked the tiny boy which ones he liked best, he replied, “The sorrel pair!”
The clerk burst out laughing and it embarrassed Colen, who at that tender age, knew no other way to describe colors. They were better looking than the blacks or bays or palominos, or even the buckskins!

Growing up on a ranch that his father had homesteaded in the Curlew Valley nurtured the youngster to early manhood. He was called to serve his country in World War Two as a radar operator. He returned afterwards to farming and livestock. Never idle with his body or his mind, he continued his education when and where he could. A number of part time jobs kept him occupied, and were the subject of many funny and fascinating stories. One in particular was when he and his brother, George delivered rural kids to school in a dilapidated old bus that was made before the fuel pump was developed. The gas was all gravity fed from the higher than engine fuel tank. To keep the engine from stalling out when they came to those steep South Idaho hills, one would drive while the other sat on the fender, pouring gas into the carburetor!

Colen wrote poetry for and about cow people. His first book of Cowboy Poetry ( that I have ) was first published in 1980, five years before the first groundbreaking Elko Gathering, for which he was present. He was one of the few cowboy poets to be featured on the Johnny Carson Show, and has shared the stage with Baxter Black, Waddy Mitchell, Wally McRea, and often Michael Martin Murphy, who displayed his fondness for Colen by writing the forward in “Hoofprints and Heartbeats”, which Colen published in 1996.

History was a subject that Colen studied with great zeal. He burned much midnight oil poring over old documents which he came across often in his 21 years as the Oneida County Clerk, finding time to write several books and articles of historical nature, mostly about the Curlew Valley and the country around Holbrook, his boyhood home.

Patriotism ran deep in Colen Sweeten. He lamented to me on the phone one day about returning an American Flag to the store when he found it was made in China. He gave many presentations on patriotic stories to a wide variety of audiences.

Colen was deeply spiritual. He worshipped, taught, preached, counseled and led his fellow parishioners with a rock solid faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Colen loved kids. His face always lit up when they were around. They were always the first ones he talked to in a roomful of people. To illustrate I’ll give an excerpt from his book, “Father and Son” Copyright 1980:

“The other night as I was about to retire, I walked into the bedroom where my small son was undressing. As he tugged at his shoe, he looked up and said, ‘Next time we sleep out in the mountains, Dad, I am going to sleep in the old sleeping bag and let you try the new one. It sure is neat!’

This unexpected outburst set me back a little. I started to speak, then something stopped me. I just looked at him. I think I was about to say something like this:
‘Oh, no, that old sleeping bag was good enough for me in the war, it was good enough for Scout Master, and it was just fine for elk hunting trips into the wilds. I like it. You keep the new one.’

I looked down at the 8-year old boy pulling at his shoelace. At that moment he looked so unselfish and so satisfied that it finally struck me that this was a great moment for him.
It could be a great opportunity for me, also. I put my hand on his head and gently ruffled his hair.
‘Thanks,’ I said, ‘I’d like that very much. It was nice of you to think of it.”

Colen H. Sweeten rode across the “Great Divide” August 15, 2007. He led a long life filled with love for God’s creatures, his fellow man, and the wide open spaces that we all write, recite and sing about. He leaves a legacy that we can only strive to fill. His words and the hoofbeats of his many ponies will echo forever in the Curlew Valley and in our hearts.

Wayne Nelson August 19, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Colen Sweeten Passes Away


Howdy all:

Sad news for us all. Colen Sweeten, one of the nations most noted Cowboy Poets, died of Cancer in Springville, Utah on August 15th, 2007.

The following funeral info is from Becky Muench.

Tuesday, August 21st at noon in Malad, Idaho at the LDS Church House located at 1250 W. 1100 N.

There will be a viewing on Monday night, the 20th from 6-8at the Horsley Funeral Home in Malad, located at 132 W. 300 N.

There will also be a viewing from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday right before the funeral at the Horsley Funeral Home then the family will follow in procession to the church house for the funeral.

There is an obituary printed in the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune.The Deseret News link is:? http://www.legacy.com/DeseretNews/Obituaries.asp?Page=Lifestory&PersonId=92758545

If you would like to send cards or letters to his wife, Ruth, her address is:

286 S. 1700 E.
Springville, UT? 84663

Saturday, August 11, 2007

"Bottoms up" picture


My friend, "Montana Bob" took this picture at the Lewis and Clark Stampede and Fair this year.


Welcome to Rodeo!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Day Use Area, No Overnight Camping










“Day use area only. No overnight camping.” This seems to have become the unofficial mantra of the US Forest Service and the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks, at least in the West Yellowstone/Madison River areas.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that if camping were indiscriminately allowed everywhere that the littering problem would increase and so would the numbers of campers and tents on all our public lands. I don’t want to have a tent or a trailer every 50 feet or so along the Madison any more than anyone else. But, there has to be some way to fix it so that our public(?) lands are available for our use.

Here’s my problem. I travel a lot to and from music shows throughout the Northwest. Lots of miles, many of them at night after pretty full days. When I get sleepy on the road, I would like to stop and take a nap for a while instead of being a half-awake road hazard. But, since I drive a pickup with a (horrors!) camper on the back, if I stop at any of our “public” facilities, it won’t be long before someone with a badge comes to at least wake me up and move me on my way if not outright cite me for violating the “Day use area only. No overnight camping.” Rule. Maybe, instead of getting into my camper and laying down on my comfortable bed for a couple of hours, I should just lay down on the seat of the pickup (fat chance, with all the crap I have on the seat with me) so that it’s obvious that I’m sleeping, not camping. Or, confine my on-the-road sleeping to daylight hours.

Montana FWP manages many fishing access sites along the rivers and streams in our state. Along the Madison, from West Yellowstone to Ennis, the only one relatively close to the road Where I can legally stop and sleep is at Raynolds Pass Bridge. Why? There are no real differences between any of the FA sites that I looked at. They all maintain a toilet and have parking area and that’s about it. There’s no reason why we can’t stay overnight at the other FASs except that some bureaucrat somewhere decided that no one should. In addition, the Ennis FAS is a FEE CAMPING area and is no different from any of the others along the river. So, if I stop at the Ennis FAS for a few hours, the badges can come make me pay up, even though I wasn’t “camping” overnight. This isn’t right.

I’d like to see the Montana Dept of Fish Wildlife and Parks change the policy at their Fishing Access Sites to allow overnight camping, just like at Raynolds Pass. No fee. We pay enough fees to the state already. Why not? It doesn’t cost anything, except a little white paint to paint out the “Day use area” line on each FAS sign. Then, maybe all the public could use our public lands instead of just those who are there to fish. We all paid for it in one way or another.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Off to West Yellowstone again

Well, I'm getting packed up for another weekend in West Yellowstone. There's a hard pill to swallow, huh? Anyway, I've got a regular Friday and Monday gig at the Parade Rest Ranch near West and I go down there on Friday; hang around over the weekend, do my show on Monday and come home. It's that "hanging around" part that I want to mention.

I've used some of my time to just "Listen to the Wind" the last couple of weeks and my Spirit has gotten a little more mellow because of it. I spent one weekend up on the Madison Plateau, just playing my flute, reading a little and sitting still, looking off across the valley. It's still just as pretty as it was 30 years ago when I was young enough to not have to worry about work.
Last Sunday, I helped Bob Jacklin with his Sunday free Flycasting Clinic. I haven't helped Bob with that kind of thing for a long time and it was lots of fun. I'm hoping to get a chance to do the same this coming Sunday.
Well, have fun out there with your real jobs. I'm on my way to West to make a few bucks and maybe catch a fish or two.

Academy of Western Artists/Final 5 Nominees

Hi there, Y'all:

I just got through posting the final five nominees for Pure Country, Western Music and Western Swing at the Academy of Western Artists Members website.

It's been kind of fun working on the AWA site this year and watching as these nominations take form.

If you're interested in Western art, music and poetry, you really should think about an AWA membership. The folks there are trying to help develope our art and promote our genre.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Virginia City report

Here's "Camp VC". John and I are still doing the Virginia City thing but we've both been getting some other gigs this summer so we aren't there every day like we had planned. Here is our "home" when we are doing VC, though.

Parade Rest Ranch; West Yellowstone, MT

I just got a new regular performance set up. I'll be playing for the cookouts at the Parade Rest Guest Ranch near West Yellowstone, Montana just about every Friday and Monday for the rest of this summer. It all happened kind of fast (for me) and I don't have a lot of information other than what's on my calendar and on the Parade Rest website.

I understand that these cookouts are open to the public so if you're in the area on a Friday or Monday, come on out for a good dinner and say "howdy".

Hope to see y'all (like the "southern language"?) this summer!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Colt Angel "On the Road" with Riders in the Sky


Our friend Colt Angel is out on the road with the great Western Music band; Riders in the Sky. This week, they are playing at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.




It's great that one of our "family" is out there doing the big shows. Colt seems to be having a great time out there and I asked him to send me (or call me with, since he can't even SPELL computer!) some updates on where he is and what he's doing. So, hopefully, we'll be getting some blog entries from Colt as the summer progresses.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lost Horse Ranch Cowboy Gathering; June 23, 2007






Well, we had a great time in Oregon last weekend. Billy Rose and I have been working together a lot more lately and things are starting to click with us. We joined with Dan Emert (A National champion Fiddle Player) and Alan Feves (Bass player with the Oregon East Symphony) to back up Myra Pearce at a show she did near Elgin, Oregon. The show went very well, we all had a great time and I really can't think of anything about it all that I'd change. Well, maybe one thing. Apparently, I subconciously felt that Idaho had one too many deer so I hit one with my car!






Anyway...the Lost Horse Ranch has had three previous Gatherings. They are a little different from the "Gatherings" that we are used to. I think of it as being a Cowboy Poetry or Entertainer Gathering but this was a "Cowboy" Gathering. They had trail rides, riding and roping competiions and all kinds of stuff going on. It was very interesting and very entertaining. You might keep track of their website and see when they are doing it again as it looked like a really good time.






We stayed at the Stampede Inn in Elgin and got a chance to talk with the owners. They are very nice people and I reccommend their place if you're in that area. Of course, I'm not sure there are a lot of choices!
I'm hoping we get other opportunities to work with Myra. It was a blast to work with such a consumate professional. She has a beauitful voice and a happy, smiling personality. We enjoyed our contact with her. She is getting a new CD out and I enjoyed doing songs from it. Keep track of her website also as she should have a lot going on.
Well, it's off to Virginia City for the weekend and maybe for the whole week. Have fun out there "y'all"






Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Notice from Marvin O'Dell

Dear Western Artists and Fans,

I've just received a kind letter of frustration from the owner of Heartland Public Radio (HPR) telling me that by the end of summer, HPR2, the all-cowboy music channel of HPR, will probably have to come to an end due to lack of financial support. As you probably know, the all-western channel started up last year because there was a wonderful show of support for it from western music lovers and artists. This show of financial support convinced the station management that western music lovers would support the channel if it were established. Some of you are giving monthly to the cause of western music on HPR, and I want to thank you for your sacrifices.

Not wanting to write monthly and hound our listeners for money, I have neglected to let you know that the initial support has been slipping badly over the last few months. I know enough about fund-raising to know that if the need is not kept continually before the public, giving will slack off. But I just HATE to ask for money! It's just not part of my nature. However...I'm writing now to ask if you can make a generous one-time donation for HPR toward keeping the all-western music channel open. If everyone who receives this will send some kind of gift, it will definitely show enough interest to keep the station going. I'm personally going to send what I can, and I hope you will, too.

My feeling about this is simply that we will either keep the station on the air or we won't. (Profound, huh?) I just say that to say that I realize that not many people have extra money just lying around to give away frivolously. Even though I'm seeing gas prices drop a little, they haven't dropped near enough to take the pressure off me, and I'm sure that's true for you, too. And I know that everything else costs money, too. I guess what I'm saying is that we'll have the all-western station because we can afford to keep it on the air or we won't. HPR is TOTALLY sponsored by its listeners - and no one at the station gets paid for anything we do. It is a complete labor of love. And we're glad to continue it if all of us can do something to ensure its longevity.

I have a selfish reason, too, for wanting the channel to stay on the air. My CD gets played there - as yours probably does, too, if you are an artist. :-)

So - that's it. No begging - just stating the facts - we can either do it or we can't, and I understand that. If you can send something, we can receive personal checks and money orders by mail. The address is: Heartland Public Radio, PO Box 461, Branson, MO 65615. Checks should be made out to Heartland Public Radio. You can also use PayPal or a credit card. The following link will allow you to do this online through our secure server: http://www.heartlandpublicradio.org/contribute.shtml. Your gifts are also tax deductible as HPR is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

Remember that your western music goes around the world on Heartland Public Radio due to it being played on the internet. We are currently realizing nearly a quarter of a million unique listeners over any 30-day stretch - which is part of the problem, because the more listeners we get, the more band width we have to purchase :-). But that's a good problem.

Thanks for reading this far, and thank you in advance for any contribution you may be able to make.

For Cowboy and Western Music,

Marvin O'Dell
Around the Campfire
HeartlandPublicRadio.org

Monday, June 18, 2007

Virginia City, Montana


I love working VC during the summer. John Westbrook and I live in our campers out on the gulch where the miners of the early 1860s found the richest gold strike in history. Each morning, we dress in our period clothing and head into VC where we walk around, talking with people and getting our pictures taken until around lunchtime when the crowd begins to build at the Virginia City Cafe. Then, we start playing music at the Cafe for the rest of the day.

Once the VC Cafe closes, then I head either to the Bale of Hay Saloon or the Pioneer Bar and start looking for a pool game or two. Sometimes I make a few bucks doing that, sometimes I LOSE a few bucks doing that and often I'm just playing all night for free. Close the bar, head back out to the gulch for a few hours sleep and then start all over again.

At the Cafe, we play to about 200-300 people a day, about 20 or 30 at a time as they filter through, getting their meals and listening to us at the same time. We sell a lot of CDs and meet a lot of great folks.


This next weekend, John will be in Bannack at a little concert while I will be at the Lost Horse Ranch in Elgin, Oregon with Myra Pearce. Then, nest week, John and I will be back to our regular "job" in Virginia City.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Comment rules

I don't think I ever posted my personal rules for approving comments and it seems I should.

I don't have a problem with debate, even spirited debate, as I think that's a big part of what we want to do here is have a forum for different views. But, we have to be civil and respectful towards one another at the same time.

Also, I don't plan to post anonymous comments. If you've got something to say, stand up and be counted. No comments will be approved that are abusive or unkind and so you shouldn't have any fear in identifying yourself.

All that said, we must always remember that I am the final arbiter of what is approved or disapproved. At some point, my decision is final.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

High Strung Band "Not Western Enough" for Elko!!

Ok. I'm having a hard time with something I learned today and I'm about to seriously insult some people. Tough. In case no one has noticed, there are idiots in our world and I plan to point one or two of them out today. It's kind of too bad, too as I have made some friends at the Western Folklife Center in Elko and they will probably be mad at me after reading this.

First, let's recap what we already know about the Reddington Family (the High Strung Band). they are some of the best musicians you will see anywhere anytime, adult or child. Landen's youtube video of El Cumbanchero has the highest viewing numbers of any on our youtube site. Every Gathering they attend, they are far and away the big CD sellers, all the performers love them, they are constantly in demand from the audiences at every show and, above all, they are really nice people.

At the Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering, held last weekend, we got so many requests for them that we had them do an encore performance after the Saturday Night Show and only about 10% of the audience thought is was too late to stay. Almost everyone was still in their seats and the only reason the Reddingtons aren't still playing on that stage is because I called a halt to it at 11PM.

I'm trying to get across to the world that this is an exceptional entertainment group. Look at the youtube videos and you'll get a tiny taste of what I mean.

Today, I learned that not only did they get their Elko Rejection Letter but it had a handwritten note on it that they weren't "WESTERN" enough!! I'm so amazed at the colossal stupidity of that that I don't even know what to say. I've been one of the few who has come out on the side of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering selection committee as I truly believed that they are doing their best to be fair about choosing performers. This, however, is enough to make me lose breakfast. a note to Elko...FIRE whoever wrote that letter!

A quick history lesson for the letter writer. When the cowboys of the 1800s were composing their poems and eventually putting some of them to music, much of it was done to a bluegrass or celtic style. Many of the early settlers of the West were from the hills of the Southeast and had their roots in those music styles. When you hear bluegrass music, you hear WESTERN music. In addition, very few cowboys carried guitars with them. Have you ever actually ridden a horse? It's not very comfortable to put a guitar on there with you! The musical instruments were in the bunkhouse or maybe carried on the chuckwagon. And what were the most prevelant instruments? Guitars, fiddles and harmonicas. I can't imagine a more Western scene than a couple of fiddles and guitars being played around the campfire or at the barn dance or whatever. Not Western Enough?!

I don't even know what else to say. Let's let a couple of videos speak for me.








Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I'm now an Official Elko Reject

"Dear Larry:

Thank you for submitting an application for the 2008 Gathering. This year there were nearly 200 submissions and we continue to be heartened by the creativity and talent inspired by normal western life as demonstrated by these submissions. The Selection Committee, none of whom are members of the Western Folklife Center's staff, had a difficult time choosing the final performers. Unfortunately, you were not selected to be a featured performer this year."

Oh well, can't win 'em all. Now, I can attend our Elko Rejects Gathering as a full fledged member. I want the T-shirt concession!

Things are warming up for the summer. John Westbrook and I, together and separately, will be in Virginia City, Dillon, Belgrade and West Yellowstone, Montana this weekend. We should be in Virginia City together Thursday, I'll be in West Yellowstone Friday while John is in VC, then we'll both be in VC and Dillon Saturday, he'll do a private party in Belgrade Sunday while I'm back in VC and then I'm back in West Yellowstone on Monday. Should be an interesting weekend. I guess I'll find out if that "high mileage vehicle" oil makes a difference! I'm to the point now where I spend more on my oil consumption than my gas. Poor old pickup.

The real test will be the trip to Elgin, Oregon on the 23rd to play at the Lost Horse Ranch out there.

Anyway, back to work here. Lots to do before I can take off for the weekend trips.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Our Gathering is over for this year



Well, our Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering has come and gone. The lights are out, the floors swept and mopped and the doors locked on another great weekend Western Entertainer party. We had a blast!!


It seemed like Friday was a complete zoo, with little problems cropping up constantly and Joann and I running from one brushfire to the next, frantically slapping out the flames. But, at the same time, the top quality entertainers we had here took over the actual performance area and handled everything for us so that we could get the dinner, auction, vendors, concession stand, motel rooms, promotions, setup...all the wonderful things that go on in the background...done.


Of special note as someone who was invaluable to us this weekend was Doug White, the husband of one of our entertainers, Valerie White. Everyone knows that if Doug hadn't been there to take over the CD table and admissions and so on I would have run away and I'd be halfway to Guadalahara by now! Thanks Doug.


Then, a special "Thank You" to all the performers and their families who attended this year. You all know the lack of reliable memory in my head so I won't try to list everyone. We had over 30 people show up to entertain at our little party and each one was appreciated and welcome. I can only hope that we see all of them again next year and they each bring a friend.

John Westbrook handled all of our sound issues and as usual did a great job. A little tip for those of you thinking of setting up any kind of performance show, whether Western or Rap. Have a great sound guy and system or don't do the show.

I'm not going to do a complete Gathering Report here and now, but will write something up soon for both here and the www.cowboyentertainer.com website.

Those who were here, thank you so much for coming and we sure hope you had a good enough time that you want to come back next year. Those who couldn't make it, we sure hope to see you next year!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering

Well, our weekend is almost here! The 6th Annual Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering is about to begin. (www.cowboyentertainer.com/ourshow.html )

The Program book is being printed, the banners are going up, the radio, TV and newspaper ads and articles are out there and the performers are coming. Am I ready? Not even kind of!

There's a lot involved in getting one of these together and we actually work on it pretty much all year long with the most pressure these last two or three months. The program book is the hardest part, getting ads, building ads, arranging the book and getting it all printed off by a reasonable date. But, without the revenue produced by the program book, we couldn't do this show. But I don't believe we'd get the numbers of ads we do without this being a fund-raiser for the volunteer Fire Department. After expenses, all of the money for this Gathering goes to the Broadwater Rural Fire District. Joann Shindoll and myself make all the arrangements, do the program book, the promotion and everything. We are not on the list of expenses, other than our travel and so on. We'll have Helena's KBLL radio here doing a remote broadcast from about 1PM Friday until about 5PM. That should be fun

We give the Night Show performers a little for being here and we arrange lodging for them but with current gas prices, we aren't really even covering gas for most of these folks. Maybe someday we can be making enough on this to be able to actually pay performers but we are happy do do what we do for them.

We keep lunch and snacks available in the "green room" all day long, we provide dinner both Friday and Saturday evenings and of course all performers and their companion come into the night show at no cost.

We do this without asking for a percentage of CD sales. That has always been a big issue with me and I personally don't like to attend any Gathering or show where they charge me part of my sales. I won't pay them for the privilege of entertaining their audience! The very few Gatherings I have attended where they do that, I have not checked any of my CDs into their sales area. I just carry them with me and do all the sales myself.

Anyway, I need to get back to work on making my house livable for guests this weekend. This is my once a year housecleaning and I'm not doing as good a job as no one is bringing a wife this year so no woman has to try to exist in my little cave. Guys can handle my lifestyle a little better.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Summer's Gettin' started!



I went down to Alder, Montana last weekend and played at the Alder Steakhouse with Jamie Baker. We had a great time and the show went very well.

Anyway, on the way to Alder, I went through Virginia City at about noon and the Gazebo at the Virginia City Cafe was packed. Jamie and I went back to VC and played at the cafe for a while and then I played Saturday for a few hours, sold CDs and so on like usual. All about a month early. Either that means we'll have a big summer or it means we'll have a hot dry summer with no water. Guess we'll wait and see.

John Westbrook and I will be playing at the VC Cafe all summer. Whenever we don't have any other gigs scheduled we plan to do the VC Cafe. That is a fun job. We live in our campers out on Alder Gulch, start playing music about noon each day and play as long as we want. We'll each make decent money, sell CDs and talk with lots of great people. In the evening I'll hit the pool tables at the Pioneer Bar and the Bale of Hay Saloon then back out to the Gulch to sleep late and start over again. What a great way to spend the summer!


We get to meet people from all over the world. As customers come in to the cafe, finish and then move on, we play to about 200-300 people each day, about 30 at a time. We figure that every 45 minutes or so the audience changes and we can start our set all over again. We sell a bunch of CDs all summer as not only do people enjoy the music but they also want souvenirs of their Montana trip.


We hope to see yo out here this summer. Make sure you look us up and say "Howdy"!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Virginia City, Montana Gathering

Jamie Baker; jcbaker@3rivers.net, will be organizing the Virginia City Gathering this year. It should be a great show and I'm sure Jamie will do a great job of putting it together.

Anyway, if you need to ask about it, contact Jamie, not Toni James.

See ya there!

Finally!! Posting something new!

Ok, I know, it's been a month since I posted anything here. I've been kind of running in many different directions and I'm really not caught up yet.

First, of course, is that Joann Shindoll and I are the primary people involved in setting up the Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering and that pretty much takes up almost all the spare time (?!) we might have. The program book is the biggest part of the whole thing. We personally visit with each business in Broadwater County and with many in Helena and Bozeman, getting ads for the book. These are what pay for all the things we try to do for the performers but it really takes up a huge amount of time and travel.

Then, Joann creates all the ads and she and I get together and assemble the ads and information into the program book for the printer. It's a lot of time, effort and argument that starts in February and goes until the last possible day before the show!

At the same time, both of us are keeping our real jobs going in order to stay alive the rest of the year, I'm booking up a bunch of music jobs and have already done several; Virginia City, Montana is already seeing good business and I'd really like to grab my guitar and be a part of it but not until after the first weekend in June!

Ok. enough crying and whining. I actually really have a great time with our Gathering and we'll have a big bunch of some of the best entertainers in the world right here in Townsend in a week or so. Many of my best friends will be here with me, we'll play music, laugh, talk, complain, fix the problems of the world and in general have a wonderful time. Once we're all together, all the work and pain of the past few months are just dim memories.

If you've never been to a Cowboy Entertainer Gathering before, either as a performer or as audience, then you are missing some great times and great memories. The past 8 or 9 years that I've been involved with these Western Performers has really been some of the best times of my life and I cherish each memory.

I'll get on here and put in some postings about the last couple of gatherings and shows I've been to and start being better about passing info out to the world.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Decline of Country Music

Today I read the posts at http://dekerivers.wordpress.com/2007/04/23/getting-old-at-the-grand-ole-opry/ and it made me think about some of the things I've seen in the Music world lately.

I grew up in the back of a station wagon surrounded by amps, speakers, guitars and so on as my Dad travelled from one gig to another around the Western US. My brother and I played classic country in bars and cafes around southern Oregon several years ago. I have done a single act in the same kinds of bars as well as being a singer in a couple of country bands. I've even had the distinction of playing in a chickenwire cage like in the movie "Roadhouse"! There's an experience best missed if possible!

A few years ago, I began following the Cowboy Entertainer shows. I kind of slowed down on calling them Cowboy Poetry shows as people seem to be afraid of poetry in all its forms. Just listen to good Cowboy Poetry once and you'll be clamoring for more but I digress. I had gotten started with this Cowboy thing for several reasons. First, it really is the life I was leading at the time. Second, my musical experience doing bar gigs where the audience has no idea what you are playing most of the time. they are busy shooting pool, getting drunk, trying to find a wife for the night...all those wholesome "honky-tonk" pursuits we all know and love. So, an original song really isn't noticed. Just; is there a beat you can dance to?
Concerts, dinner shows, specialty events...all places where my original songs are noticed, my renditions of the old cowboy ballads are appreciated and classic country is loved. That plus the exceptional talent I was seeing all around me with these Cowboy performers and then add the love and friendship we all share for each other. Those are the main reasons I'm headed for these Cowboy Entertainer shows whenever I get a chance.
But, to speak to the theme of the dekerivers blog, todays country music executives are not seeing the truth of what's going on out here. I still do bar gigs once in a while and even the younger audience enjoys my old classic country. I get requests for Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings songs all the time. And not just from old farts like me, either! Kids, with their pants hanging down around their knees and rings in their (?) are asking for old country.
Check with Jason Deshaw about his popularity at college campuses all over the country. You'd better look around Nashville and see the trees in your forest. Or pretty soon the Western Artists will be running the show and you'll be taking the back seat! Hopefully that happens while I'm still not too old to play.

20th Annual St. Anthony Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Hey there everyone! I know, I haven't been keeping up here very well but when there's nothing much to report...I don't.

We had a great show at St. Anthony again. It's one of my favorites, mostly because I don't have ANY work involved in getting it up and going and I get to see almost all my friends there. Some of us may not do any other shows together during the year but we'll be at StA together.

I took a bunch of videos this year and I'm slowly getting them uploaded to YouTube. Those of you who aren't familiar with Cowboy Poetry and/or Western Entertainment, here is your chance to learn. I just expect that we'll start seeing you at all the Gatherings you can find after this!

First, here is Vern Woodbury giving us his own version of Western Music:



Now, here's another one of my favorite performers, Bill Chiles, doing "Springtime in the Rockies".



And here is Wayne Nelson with his Classic: "Snowville"



And our friend from the Great White North: Mike Burns:


There were many other entertainers there and I have some more videos that I will be posting soon. Enjoy these and we welcome comments to the blog.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

St Anthony Gathering gets started



The St Anthony Gathering has started off with a great big BANG! We've been having a blast! The Thursday jam session was a lot of fun but we broke up too soon. Friday was a great time during the Day Show and then the night show line up was top.

I took some good videos and will be uploading some more of them when I get a chance. Here's one of John Westbrook (with me on rythm guitar) doing his version of Sheb Wolley's "I Just Don't Look Good Naked Anymore".

Sunday, March 18, 2007

St. Patty's Day At the Sportsman's Bar in Island Park, Idaho

Colt Angel called me yesterday morning to ask me if I wanted to play in Island Park. Lots of lead time! Anyway, I managed to get my stuff together and get down there in time. It's actually less than a 2 1/2 hour drive to the Sportsman's Bar and it was a gorgeous drive! Down 287 through Ennis and up the Madison River. I can't imagine a better way to spend my afternoon than taking a drive through Montana in the springtime.

Anyway, we had a great time down there, playing the old Country dance songs and a few originals. The crowd was very appreciative and I even sold a CD! You don't get many CD sales at a bar gig, normally. I thought of something I'm going to say at Bar gigs from now on though. Someone always wants to buy me a drink and I usually don't drink at all when I'm playing and certainly not when I'm facing a 2+ hour drive home. Anyway, instead of buying me two or three drinks during the night, just buy one of my CDs. you'll have something to show for your money and I'll be able to afford a little more gas!

I haven't played with a band for a long time. I'm so used to playing a single or maybe a duo with a rehearsed partner that the band thing is really different. It was a lot of fun and we clicked very well. Everything sounded as if we'd actually practiced...even my originals!

I've got a video of Colt at my youtube channel that you might enjoy.

Have fun out ther y'all!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Lee Earl Memorial Scholarship Gathering

The Lee Earl Memorial Scholarship Gathering was held in Lewiston, Idaho March 2 and 3, 2007. Somoe of the top Western performers in the Northwest attended and provided two full days of quality entertainment.

I can't list them all and won't even try. Even the night show had too many great performers for me to try listing them all as I'd just forget someone. I think everyone would agree that, once again, the High Strung Band was the highlight of the weekend. If CD sales are any indication, the audience thought so too as the HSB sold out before the main Saturday Night show was even over!

The whole weekend was a positive. We had a great time, spent some wonderful time with our friends and heard some great entertainment. Anyone of you out there who has a chance to go to one of these gatherings, Don't Miss Out!

Another Roxy Theater Benefit

Well, we had a great show at the Roxy theater in St. Anthony, Idaho on February 24th. We had a great audience and top notch performers. Bill Chiles, Colt Angell, Bill Hirshi and I all were there and we had a great response from everyone.

Here's a youTube video of Bill Chiles doing "The Queen of Diamonds"
and this one of him doing R.W. Hampton's "My Maria"

This is Colt Angell doing "The Wild Side"

On the way home, I went through West Yellowstone and checked out all the new snow they had been getting. When I went that way after the Elko show, everything was melting and there wasn't much left. This time, there was about 4 feet of snow on the ground and a town filled with exuberant snowmobilers and those who cater to them.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Jam Session Benefit in Dallas; from Bobby Newton

Benefit And Jam

Local musician Kelly Hickey was killed in an automobile accident on his way to a gig
February 10, 2007. He leaves behind a family of three. His wife, Brandi, his daughter
Katelyn and his 3 month old son, Harrison.
A Benefit and Jam will be held at The Saddle Club In Dallas, Texas on Sunday February
25, 2007 at 2 p.m. Proceeds from the event will go to Kelly's family.
Come join us to honor his life and enjoy lots of friends, family, live music and food.
In lieu of a cover charge donations will be accepted at the door. Entertainment will be
non-stop with several local bands playing and track singers between bands. If you are
interested in performing at this event as part of the tribute please call Brad Swiger @
817 905-0429. The event will go until approximately 6pm (later if needed) and will
conclude with an all-star jam! Saddle Club, 14010 C F Hawn Fwy Dallas TX 75253 (972)
557-1638

Thanks for your time
Brad Swiger & Marcus Lindsey

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Just another "Montana Day"


Happy Valentines Day y'all.


Take a look at this picture, see a little news about New York and Chicago's record snowfalls and the freezing of oranges in Florida and California; then take a deep breath and warn me again about Global Warming!

We've had a very cold winter but not much snow until this week. Even this isn't what we used to get. Actually, what we are seeing back East is what I used to see in West Yellowstone all the time when I was a kid. but our temperatures don't seem to be any better. We've had an awful lot of sub-zero this winter.

Otherwise, not much going on in the Western Music World apparently, as no one has sent me anything new to post. I've had some good comments about my website article at cowboyentertainer.com but no one seems to have anything in particular to add.

Billy Rose, Doc Quam and Jamie Parker-Frank had a good time in Wyoming last week, doing a show at a Holiday Inn as well as several house concerts. I wish I could have joined them but duty called me here. Many computers needed my personal attention!

Well, enough for now. Give thanks if you are warm, dry and fed. Many aren't.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sorry, but this is a political post

I never planned on doing anything this far off subject but I couldn't help it.

Notice!! Info about the American Community Survey!
ACS is a huge violation of privacy

Last week, I got a call from someone claiming to be with the US Census Bureau. This lady asked why I had not returned
my American Community Survey form which had been mailed to my physical address. When I explained that I don't receive
my mail there, then she told me we could fill out the questionaire over the phone. I refused to answer her intrusive
questions as I really had no idea who she was. She asked me to call an 800 number for verification and told me that
my answers were "mandatory". Since anyone can have an 800 number and have someone there to "verify" identity, that is
a stupid suggestion and the idea that it is mandatory for me to answer the kind of questions she had was enough to
make me tell her to go away.



I looked up the ACS information at
http://www.census.gov/acs/www/
and learned a lot about it, including thatit is statutorily mandatory, according to
US Code Title 13.

I got another call today (Feb 11, 2007) from another woman with the same requests and responses. I still was not happy
with answering any of her questions over the phone and the idea of the "suspect caller" giving me a phone number to verify their identity is ludicrous at best. Anyway, I had answered my name, date of birth and number of people in
the household when my phone battery gave out and thus she probably thinks I hung up on her. I should have. I have
further researched this ACS thing and it's likely that a protective spirit killed my phone battery!


I recommend the following blog site.
http://www.survivalarts.com/archives/001095.html
Read the whole blog from beginning to end. Afterwards, you will likely do exactly as I intend.


I will not respond any further to the questions on the American Community Survey. If a representative of the Census
comes to my door in an effort to cooerce me so to do, I will politely order them off of my property. If they do not
immediately leave, I will call the Sheriff and request that trespass laws be enforced. I have already written snail-mail
letters for my Congressional Representatives in protest of this intrusive and offensive survey.


I have read the questions from the sample form that is available on the internet:
http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/SQuest05.pdf
and I don't believe any of this is the business of the United States Government. I urge anyone out there to research this
issue carefully before filling out this survey. If you feel, as do I and many others, that we taxpayers should not be paying
for this survey, nor should we be "required" to answer such invasive questions, then please write your Congressmen and
make your voices heard.



Monday, February 05, 2007

Saturday YouTube videos available

Howdy All:

Well, I didn't get far yesterday. Billy Rose, Jamie Parker-Frank, Toni McGuire and I all sat around Billy's house and talked over the weekends events until after 5PM. I then got started on the road but was so tired that I gave up at Wells, a whopping 50 miles down the road!

Now, after a good nights sleep I'm ready for the rest of my trip.

Anyway, I have two videos of the Reddington family here for you. The first is of the whole family doing a song which features each in turn.

The Reddington family from Cove, Oregon

and the next is a video of Landen and his mother, Jennifer, playing El Cumbanchero. This video is better than the one taken at the Dos Amigos restaraunt as there isn't any crowd noise to interfere.

Landen and Jennifer Reddington

Once I get back home I will sit down and organize a comprehensive report of my trip to Elko this year. I learned a lot and I'm eager to share it with the world.

Anyway, I'm out of here and back on the road. 4 hours to Wayne Nelson's house!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Saturday in Elko: The last night to shine





Once I managed to become concious after the late Friday night (actually, late Saturday morning) bedtime, I headed to the Junior High School across the street from the Elko Convention Center, where the music day-show is held. I had managed to get signed up for one of the coveted Day Show slots, as had Jamie Baker from Alder, Montana. We were in the same session and Jamie asked me to come up on stage and give her some guitar back-up.




She did a really nice job and managed to get out a couple of her original songs before her time ran down.


Afterward, there was one other group and then I would be up for my set. I went to the back of the audience and talked with the Reddington family and had a sudden inspiration! Landen Reddington and I borrowed a guitar from Valerie White and raced to the tune-up room for some quick practice. He has listend to my CDs many times so he at least knew the songs a little so we practiced "X" for a few minutes and then they called us for the stage.

Landen played a flawless lead for me when I did "X" and, of course, instantly stole the show! Then, we did "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and he of course did a wonderful lead with that also. I had him do an instrumental called "El Cumbanchero", which I just love. Even though he didn't have a rythm guitar to back him up (no WAY I can keep up with him on this song!) he did a great job. The audience wanted more and we had a little time so I had him do another instrumental. What a blast! It was great being on stage with such an outstanding talent.

I played at Corral West again and then on over to Duncan Little Creek for our Night Show.



Such a great show Billy Rose presented there. "STAMPEDE" was there and, as usual, we enjoyed their show. It's significant that Steve Taylor, the President of the Western Music Association, was not at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering night show. He was at the Elko Rejects Gathering!



Billy hosted many great talents last night and I have no intention of trying to list them all. As a matter of fact, some of the best entertainers I got to watch in Elko this year were at the Duncan Little Creek Gallery open mic show.



One of my new friends (actually, we became friendly last year at the DLC Gallery show) is Ron Christopher from (sorry, but somebody has to be) Los Angeles, CA. Here's another example of a fantastic talent, singer, guitar player and, most significantly, songwriter, who has to seek out a good place to play while he's here.



That reminds me, the Reddington Family story needs to be mentioned. Here, now and probably in other places later.



During the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering of 2006, the Reddingtons (the "High Strung Band") were unable to find a place to play for any audience. Essentially, they were walking the streets, looking for someone who would listen. they heard about the Open Mic show hosted by Billy Rose so they asked Billy if they could play. We were absolutely floored by the talent in this family. you have to see them to believe it. But they couldn't get on the stage at the "Big Show" and still haven't. They got on at Duncan Little Creek, though and have a permanent invitation to the Townsend Montana Cowboy Entertainer Gathering and will dominate any show on which they appear.



I went to the Stockmen Casino to check out the jam sessions there. There were a few performers playing for a crowd of about 100 people and I joined in for a while. It was fun and I got to meet and greet a few more folks but I soon wandered back to the Gallery show.



I helped Billy break down the equipment after everything was done and we didn't get to bed until 6:30AM!


Ok. As soon as the youTube videos are available, I will post them here. I have a couple of good videos of the Reddington family and you'll see some of what I mean.











Saturday, February 03, 2007

Friday events in Elko, Nevada








Friday was a great day for Western Music in Elko, Nevada! The day-shows at the Elko convention Center were awsome, the other venues we were playing around town were great and we all had a grand time.

At 1:00, I played at Corral West with Billy Rose, Jamie Baker, Jamie Parker-Frank, Valerie White and Ron Christopher. Lots of people came through to listen while they shopped and everyone seemed to enjoy the entertainment. I got a good video of Billy and you can see it at:

A Short Billy Rose video on YouTube

Later we went to Mountainview School and entertained a room full of elementary school kids. They loved what they heard and we loved playing for them.

I went to the Montana Show at the Elko Convention Center and watched Stephanie Davis, Paul Zarzisky and several other great Montana performers; after which we had a Montana Performers party. I had brought Montana made beer and wine with me when I came down to Elko. There was Elk salami, Cowboy Poets salsa, Rocky Mountain Oysters, Huckleberry candies and Giant Cookies along with Montana coffees. Some of the attendees were; the Ringling Five, Stephanie Davis, Paul Zarzisky, Henry Realbird, DW Groethe, Buzzy Vick, Jamie Baker and many other really great entertainers. We had a lot of fun and got to know each other a little.


Later, I went to Dos Amigos restaraunt where the High Strung Band was playing. This family consists of some of the best musicians you could ever see. The father and mother are both talented musicians but you'd never notice them because you'll be busy watching and listening to 8 year old Morgan and 11 year old Hunter play the fiddle while 13 year old Landen amazes you with his lead guitar picking. Watch Landon pick a song at this Youtube link:

The Reddington family at Dos Amigos in Elko, NV

There's my quick report for this morning. Keep tuned for more later.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Some things I've learned about "Elko"

Ok. I've been talking with some of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering staff, volunteers and even a couple of Board members. For all you aspiring Western Entertainers out there I have some bad news.

First, a little background on my perspective. I am an entertainer and I would like to be featured at Elko. I have not been chosen to although I know John Westbrook and I are every bit as good the entertainers as anyone on the Elko Night Show. But I also organize a small Cowboy Entertainer Gathering in Townsend, MT and I have to select the night show participants, juggle the requests for attention and all that. Yes, on a much smaller scale but still the stress exists. I've experienced some of that here this weekend as a matter of fact.


All this to tell you that I believe the selection process at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is as fair and honest as it can be. I'm sure there are personality issues and even maybe some political issues but by and large I can't see what they could do to change it.


They get over 200 applications each year for only a very few slots. The selection board ( a top secret organization!) has to go through all these apps, reading bios, listening to Demo CDs (tapes? Videos? 8TRACKS?), asking each other: "Does anyone know this one?" "Has anyone seen him perform?" Sometimes one of the board members knows an applicant personally and can vouch for him. sometimes even that doesn't mean they get on.


Yes, there are people who are on the main show every year. But, are they performers who are requested by the public? I have this same thing in Townsend. I'm often asked about specific entertainers and if we are bringing them back.


I've performed with Bob Peterman, of Wiboux (Weebow), Montana before and I've known him for several years. He applied and was selected for the "Elko" Night Show. He doesn't "know anyone" in particular, didn't do any politicking or anything like that. Just submitted his application material like every one else and got "the call".


My access this year has given me a new perspective on this whole thing and my attitude is changing for the better here.


New business. If you think the selection process for the Night Shows is fun...you should talk to the guy who sets up the Day-Shows! I only checked out the music Day-show but I'm sure the Poetry area is much the same.


There are a total of 24 15 minute Day-Show slots for the entire weekend. At present, performers sign up for these slots on a "first come, first served" basis. Sign-up for the Thursday show was scheduled for 11AM. When Mike got there at 9:45 there were already 9 people waiting to sign up! I was there at 10:45 and there were over 20 people waiting for the process to begin.


Stan Howe was there with me and he had what I thought was a great idea. Assign everyone a number and then do a lottery for Day-Show slots. That might help. And I'm thinking as much for the volunteer here as for performers. Imagine how much abuse the poor guy gets in a weekend from people who feel that the process is unfair!


Anyway, for all of you who want to perform at Elko: Follow the process, send in your applications and keep on trying. If you are only able to sign up for Day-shows, however they may do that in the future, give the guy at the door a little break. He's not trying to personally ruin your career or get his friends in ahead of you. If you didn't make it in time to sign up...try again next time.