Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What is "Elko"?

For those of you who are not involved in or familiar with the Western Entertainment world, I guess I should start this weekend's odyssey with a quick explanation of what is going on.

23 years ago, several Cowboy Poets gathered together in Elko, Nevada to share stories, poems and friendship in a more structured surrounding than their normal bunkhouse performances. That kind of started a big revival of the popularity of Cowboy Poetry and then Western Music.

Since then, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has grown far beyond anyones expectations. Hundreds of entertainers from all over the country (and the world) come to Elko for the Big Gathering during the first weekend in February. All the history and information about the Gathering can be found at westernfolklife.org .

Anyway, this is the "Big Show" for those of us involved in Western Entertainment and it's a great honor to be among those few who are invited to perform on the Night Show.
This is the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, held in Elko, Nevada. Known semi-fondly by all of us simply as "Elko". As in, "Are you going to Elko this year?" or, "I was invited to Elko this year!" or, more often; "Did you get your Elko Rejection Letter yet?"

There are far too many really good performers applying to perform at Elko for their selection committee to make everyone happy. Literally hundreds of entertainers...part-timers, professionals, wanna-be's and never will be's begging to be a part of the Elko Night Show. I'm one of those. Of course, I'm well accquainted with many others, some of whom are extremely talented performers, writers, singers, musicians...entertainers. Although we all go to "Elko" and enjoy the shows and meet up with friends we haven't seen since last year and we all understand very well the tremendous job it is trying to select the few who get to be on the Night Show...down deep; we are a little unhappy that we (again!) didn't "make the cut". Rejected...again.

The last couple of years, Billy Rose has presided over a small "open mic" stage at the Duncan Little Creek Gallery in Elko, during the "Big Weekend". It gave us a place to play, meet our friends and have a lot of fun while not letting our disapointment about our "rejection" show too much. This is becoming the "Elko Rejects Gathering" and is growing on it's own!

So, if you'd like to see some of the best Western Entertainers in the world; Musicians, Cowboy Poets and so on, come to Elko this weekend. Those on the "Big Stage" Night Show are very good, make no mistake. But many of those who will be at Duncan Little Creek and Walmart in the open mic shows are every bit as good...sometimes better. Try to catch it all! I'll see you there.

Wayne is doing great!

Well, I made it as far as American Falls today and I'm staying with Wayne Nelson. He's the same old Wayne. We've been jammin a little, he's doing some recording and everything seems pretty good.

Of course, he's got to watch his diet and that sort of thing from now on...like the rest of us. He's joined the rather large sub-organization of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho...diabetic/heart problems. We need to fund a retirement home for us. We can sit around and talk about our blood sugar levels and what we used to eat!

Bill Chiles, John Westbrook, Layle Bagley, Gordon Peterson....and many others welcome Wayne to our little group.

I'll be trying to keep up with what I see at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko this weekend and put something on the blog about it each day. That's my goal. Now, let's see how well I do.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I did a little show in Big Sky with Buzzy Vick

I had a short notice show scheduled for last night, 1-27-07, at the Half Moon Saloon in Big Sky, Montana. There was a special party/banquet for executives from the Continental Tire company and the piano player cancelled on them. Buzzy Vick suggested they call me. What a great friend she is!

Anyway, I went down there last night and played for about 70 people who all seemed to really enjoy the show. Buzzy and I entertained for about 45 minutes after they were through with dinner. All in all, a very successful trip.

Speaking of successful, the results of a couple of pool games and a couple of hours at the poker table made it even better! I have to say, I enjoy my life!

See ya all in Elko.

That reminds me: for all of you who will be attending the Montana party in elko on Friday: I have five cases of Montana made Adult Beverages, three cases of Cowboy Poets Salsa and two big boxes of Rope Burns. There's not going to be much room left in my car for me and a guitar!

Wayne Nelson has heart attack

Howdy all:

Becky Nelson called me Thursday night (1-25-07) to let me know that Wayne had a heart attack and was in the hospital. Apparently, he is ok and will be going home soon.

Ken Wellard called with the address for the hospital:

Wayne Nelson

c/o Portneuf Medical Center

E Campus 777 Hospital Way

Rm 2827

Pocatello, ID 83201

Hopefully, though, he will be at home soon and we can bug him there

For those looking forward to seeing Wayne at the Elko Rejects shows in Elko this coming weekend, it's not likely that he will be going this year. I'll be stopping in to see him on my way down, though and will try to get him to write us something for the website/blog.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Come on Down to Elko, all you Elko Rejects!!

I've been trying to get Billy Rose to help organize an "Elko Rejects" Gathering down there during the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering but he doesn't want to take anything away from the "Big Show". He's probably right.

But still, for those of us who, for one reason or another just "don't measure up" for an invite to the Main Stage, we will have some open time at a couple of places.

First, at the Duncan Little Creek Gallery, right next door to Cappriola's Western Store, just down the street from the Stockman and just across the parking lot from the Folk Life Center...(pant--pant) Billy Rose will be hosting an open mic stage Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of February. All are invited, rejects or not, to perform at the Gallery Stage. Also, this year, he will have an open mic setup at the Elko Walmart. Same deal, show up, get up, perform, have fun, enjoy some great times with great people.

I know that some of the performers you will see at these two venues will be Wayne Nelson, STAMPEDE!, The High Strung Band, Toni McGuire, Billy Rose, Valerie White and myself as well as many, many other great entertainers. I don't mean to make waves, but this will be the best show in town!

All of these and many more will likely also make an appearance at Walmart. Stop in and check out these two venues while you are in Elko this year.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mon-Dak Ag Show in Sidney, Montana

Rusty Feathers (www.cowboypoetssalsa.com ) and I had a great trip out to Sidney, Montana this weekend. We played for the Banquet at the Mon-Dak Ag Fair and Trade Show. The banquet was held at the Triangle Night Club and we had a pretty decent sized crowd who seemed to really enjoy the show. A great time was had by all as we did about an hour and a half of Western Music and Cowboy Poetry for those folks.

It was great to do one of our shows for an audience of Montana Ag-related people. We did some of our more "Cowboy" songs and poems and our audience didn't have to have the punchlines explained! Also, my Californicator jokes went over well with them!

After the banquet was over and most of the audience had trailed on home, we were talking to the owner of the Triangle while her employees cleaned up the banquet area and got tables off of the dancefloor. The Triangle Night Club bar was still open so there were several folks to visit with. Anyway, Rusty is a "great dancer" and they tried dancing to the jukebox for a while with little satisfaction so I went out and got my guitar and played some bar/dance music for an hour or so, just to give Rusty a chance to show off his dancing skills. That was fun, too. I really enjoy doing the bar thing when people are actually listening and dancing. It's when we are just sonic wallpaper or accompaniment for orchestrated fights that I don't enjoy the bar gigs.

This next couple of weeks, I'll be getting my stuff together for the trip to Elko and the big National Cowboy Poetry Gathering therein.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Years Bar Gig

Well, as I had warned, I did a Bar Gig for New Years weekend. and, it was a blast! Colt Angell and I played at the American Legion Club and the Mint Bar in Townsend, Montana for the weekend and we had a great time. Crowds weren't huge but they weren't anywhere in town as I guess there were several private parties going on. Anyway, I had blown the dust off of my old bar song list and Colt does these quite often so it went very well and I've been getting great comments since.

Colt is a great guy and a great musician. He plays just about anything he takes an interest in...guitar, fiddle, bass guitar, standup bass, piano...Young, good-lookin' and talented! I remember being young. Oh well.

Now, I'm getting things together for a trip to Sidney, Montana (on purpose) for the Mon-Dak Ag Days banquet where Rusty Feathers ( www.cowboypoetssalsa.com ) and I are scheduled to perform.