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: 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

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 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!