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.