Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all

Howdy everyone. I hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year.

It is a typical Montana Christmas Eve today. It's 2 below zero with a little snow on the ground. It's interesting how the sky is clear and blue, the sun shining brightly and not accomplishing a thing! Pretty though.

I'm doing the regular Mint Bar Happy Hour thing on Fridays again this year. Without John, of course, who abandoned us all and moved away.

Actually, he'll be flying back to do a New Years gig with Country Traditions at the American Legion in Manhattan.

I'm doing my usual Christmas activities...staying in my house, staying warm and hiding from the whole thing until it's all over. Sorry, not much Christmas Spirit here the last few years. In fact, a few years ago a couple of my friends were giving me a hard time about my Xmas attitude. They said I just needed to quit being an old Scrooge and relax...enjoy the season. Their words did have an effect. They made me mad. I sat down and wrote a song that I get a pretty good response to, especially from other old divorced/separated/lone guys who aren't all that enchanted by the Holiday Season.

There's another Christmas song that I always liked. I first heard this Nitty Gritty Dirt Band song years ago and have always liked it. I've been singing it myself for years but I haven't been able to find it anywhere. Youtube has it, of course. .

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you all and I'll be back in the world again after New Years.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New (to me) internet radio link

I ran into a really good western/country internet radio yesterday and I've been enjoying it. It's Rang Radio and the main website is . I found it at which has all kinds of online stations listed.

It's Montana out there still. Hovering around zero, sometimes 1 or 2 above and sometimes 1 or two below. A little bit of snow but mostly just cold.

I'm headed into E. Helena today to sit in with Hillbilly Mafia for a little while.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Just an update

Not a lot going on in my world. I'm watching the thermometer get all the way up to 6 above zero today while the snow drifts and banks in places like Iowa are so high that the plows can't get through. Sure hope those folks in Copenhagen can get this Global Warming thing dealt with pretty quick! They should be holding their "summit" in West Yellowstone.

Friday was fun as Penny had me playing music at the Mint for happy hour. I had several people who were listening and stayed the whole three hours I played. Very enjoyable, good practice and a few bucks in my pocket.

I had a booth at the Townsend Christmas Stroll last Saturday. I had pool cues (, Music CDs and Reliv products ( for sale. It was a lot of fun but no one was picking up larger ticket items that night. The people selling cookies did well and anyone selling hot drinks (it was sub-zero again) did very well.

I've had lots of fun with computer service stuff lately. I had one client who wanted data saved from a Windows Vista machine to a Windows 7 machine. He used Windows Mail on the Vista and the Vista Contacts list. He had his documents to save and Favorites.

The Files and Settings Transfer Wizard didn't transfer much of anything for us and the "old way" of saving the files and copying them to the new computer only kind of worked. Since 7 doesn't have an E-mail program (Big Bill wants us to use Windows Live Mail online) and the client wanted to use his Office 2003 suite and not put out a couple of hundred bucks for a new Office, the old e-mail messages wouldn't transfer over and neither would the contacts. I showed them how to make V-cards of the contacts (one at a time!) and I forwarded his old messages by e-mail. What a disaster.

In my opinion, there was no need to "upgrade" from Windows XP. XP did everything that needed to be done, easily and simply. These new Windows OS's are a mess and it's too bad that we are stuck with the whims of Redmond's Super Nerds.

Have fun out there y'all and keep in touch.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Reliv International Products...I guess I'm hooked

I've mentioned the Reliv products a couple of times here lately. Tonight (this morning) I am very concious of the products and their effectiveness. At least, the ones I am using.

Since I sell this stuff, this will sound like a sales pitch but I just want to get the info out there for everyone. I've become kind of a missionary about these products as I see how much they have helped me and I want to get the word out to EVERYone so please bear with me.

Joann Shindoll got me to start with the Reliv "Now" product back in June. My only real health issue is that I am a diabetic but it hasn't been ( I didn't think) a big issue and I have even stopped keeping track of my blood sugar. I was just watching my diet and exercising a little more. Anyway, I didn't see where a nutritional supplement was going to do me much good.

The first thing I noticed was that I not only slept better but felt better when I got up each day. I quit starting the day with aspirin to fight my morning headaches. Then I realized that I didn't need my antacids any more. That was a big issue as I never went ANYwhere without antacids! I even have some in my guitar case and in the side pockets of the CD case where I carry my CDs for sale.

As I got more interested in the Reliv products and began doing some research, I found that their "Glucafect" has had clinical studies showing it to effectively reduce blood sugar levels so I figured I'd try it out. Since I don't keep track of my actual blood sugar levels, all I can testify to is how I feel. My diabetic symptoms have been reduced or have gone away in the two months that I have used this product.

In fact, the reason that I am up at 4 in the morning and typing this long missive is that I ran out of Glucafect about three days ago and figured I'd just continue with my "Now" product and not replenish my "Glucaffect". My symptoms are back already. I haven't felt great all day and here I am, unable to sleep and not feeling well.

I guess, if you look at the negative side, I'm in withdrawl mode and maybe this is an addiction? I'm more inclined to say that the product has done what the Reliv company says it will do. It has given my body the nourishment to take care of itself and without that nourishment, I have returned to the more unhealthy state I was in.

You can safely bet that I will be using these products for the forseeable future. I like feeling better and healthier.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lots of fun with Craigslist

When I bought my camper, it was on a 1986 Ford F250 pickup. I bought the whole package with the idea of keeping the camper and selling the pickup.

I put the pickup on Craigslist ( ) per the advice of several who have purchased from the Craigslist page. I've gotten one real phone call from some folks in Joliet, MT and several scam e-mails. I've so far not gotten a real e-mail about it.

Of course, Craigslist is free and I'm getting everything I paid for!

Colt Angell wandered through this weekend. He's played a couple of small shows down near Ennis and done fairly well. Typical Colt. He showed up here at 3:30AM, just the way I'd have done it!

Joann and I are doing more and more with the Reliv products. I'm literally thrilled with the health results I have gotten from using Reliv and so I've turned into a missionary of sorts. has info about the products, including lable info and clinical studies of some of them.

Anyway, off to Helena for the day.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Headed home

Ok. This has been a great trip and I've learned a lot about many things, as well as getting my foot in the door for doing music in The Phoenix area. I found that most of the RV parks which actually hire entertainers have pretty much set up their activities schedule for the winter by now. However, the good news is that they often select their entertainers from an April showcase which Sally, from the Queen Valley Rv Resort says she will help me become involved with.

Also, there is a lot of music opportunity in that area in the bars and restaraunts. They don't seem to pay much but they have frequent shows and I talked with some performers who have been playing the same weekly gig for years now. If I can go down there with more time to just bum around, I can probably find several small gigs.

Now, to my personal observations. This trip has been fairly expensive as, although I made some travelling cash with gigs (and a couple of good pool games, although those are kind of cancelled out by the BAD pool losses!) I've put out a bunch of gas money; not counting the dead transmission. But, I have a renewed appreciation and love for all my friends out there.

When I was getting ready for this trip, I e-mailed Terri Taylor and she helped me find people who would hire me for gigs. I visited with my friends Charlie and Kathy Camden and there is no way to express how much help they always are. Kathy for one will feed me until I can't be fed any more!! Sam Mattise helped me find a good reputable Transmission Repair place when I was in trouble in Boise. Bobby Hunter and Alan and Corean Romreill at the Fruitland Gathering were very nice and helpful and also fed me very well.

As to my transmission dying in Boise, I'd have had to cancel everything and limp home in 2nd gear if not for my best friend, Joann Shindoll. What is a Musician without a girlfriend? Homeless. She rescued me big-time!

After that, I stayed with Wayne and Becky Nelson for a few days. Wayne has become one of my closest friends and I wish I could have remained parked in their yard for much longer. I always look forward to time spent with those two.

Once I got down to the Phoenix area, I found that Bev Hunsaker (Crozier) who used to live in the Lewiston, ID area, now lives in Mesa, AZ. Bev was extremely nice to me, letting me park in front of her house for a week while I checked into work opportunities, feeding me very well, giving me free run of her home, chauffering me around town while I hunted pool halls...I can't thank her and her family enough for the help and hospitality. Her friend Mike put a new alternator into my pickup (love those mechanical probs!) to help me get on my way.

Colt Angell has a gig in the St. Anthony, ID area this weekend which he would normally do quite well on his own but he's inviting me to join him and make a little cash. I'm taking the Charity!

Anyway, all of this and a general thanks to all my friends out there who have supported me in this an other endeavors are to restate something that I've learned the hard way before but needs to be reinforced once in a while.

There can be no value placed on friends. Those of you who support me, help me and I know are just out there, watching and cheering (or saying..."Aaahhh sh%^" with me once in a while) are what keeps me going day by day. I don't have much (any?) money or fancy possessions but I feel so blessed and humbled by my many friends. Without friends, nothing much in this life matters. Thank you and I hope to see all of you soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In Phoenix

Well, I got to Phoenix yesterday afternoon. Happily, Bev Crozier (Hunsaker) lives in Mesa so I have a friend I can sponge off of for a few days if necessary.

I went out to Main Street Billiards in Mesa last night and lost a few bucks. Oh well. The life of a ramblin' gamblin' man, I guess. I'm getting a little tired of playing in tournaments and finishing 4th when they pay the first three. I do it all the time!

I'm just hangin' out at Bev's for today and probably will go back to the pool hall and try another tournament tonight...maybe.

Who knows what I'll be doing after the show at the Queen Valley RV Resort Saturday? Maybe head home, maybe try to get something else going here. At least I don't have to run my furnace!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Driftin' south

Well, i spent the night in Page last night. I checked out all the bars pretty quickly as they were all within walking distance of the mall where I parked the house. I found one place where I could get a few pool games and no place to play music. I made a few bucks on the pool table and then went to bed.

This morning, I left Page and headed south on 89. You go over a pretty steep pass and through a cut that is more like a tunnel. On the south side, there is a scenic viewpoint. At 9:00 in the morning there were several Navajo ladies setting up vendor tables with jewelry and pottery. I'd say this is the best location for that in the area as all the buses stop at the scenic view and many of the passing cars do also. I was about ready to ask it they would like music!

The views here are fantastic. Miles and miles of red sandstone, canyons, sagebrush and sand. The only camera I have with me is a disposable film type so until I get stuff developed and scanned, I won't be able to share it all with you here. I will when I can.

I'm in Tuba City looking around for a while and then on to the Grand Canyon. So far I haven't really spent much more on this trip than I have made (other than the transmission, but I'm repressing that thought) so it has been a fairly inexpensive vacation to this point.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Elsinore, UT

The Fruitland Gathering was a lot of fun but I definitely didn't sell $2400 worth of CDs! Actually I only sold five CDs there. I had done better at the bar in Nez Perce, ID.

I went to Pocatello Sunday to try and get in a pool tournament but they didn't have enough entrants to do their weekly tourney so we just played a few games. Here these guys were to enter a tournament anyway but they wouldn't play games for cash. I found one guy who was willing to play for.....$1.....a game but didn't get too excited about that.

I guess it's better than losing big like I did in Boise.

I stayed with Wayne Nelson for a few days. While I was there, we went out to visit an old friend of my Dad's. We had quite a good get-together that evening and it was nice to hear stories about Dad and the things he did.

Last night, I headed south. The traffic in SLC was as bad as any I've put up with and I was glad to get south of there and out into the open a little.

I stopped in Nephi, UT last night. There is one bar in town with one pool table therein. They wanted a $3 cover charge because they had Karaoke going on. There were very few people in the bar at all and no one playing pool so I told the lady they would have to pay ME to stay and listen to Karaoke and I wound up going to bed early. Oh well, nothing wrong with a little sleep.

Richfield and Elsinore both look about the same. Maybe no pool 'til I get out of Utah and into the real world.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Off to a Great Start!!

Ok, I left Camdens Tuesday morning (late morning) and headed to Boise. Just south of McCall, ID my pickup quit shifting gears correectly. I wound up driving most of the way to Boise in 2nd gear, watching my RPMs to try and not destroy my engine.

Wednesday, I took it to Bobby's Transmission in Meridian, ID (a suburb of Boise). They found that I had burned out my 3rd gear and we had to replace my transmission. So now, instead of being a few dollars ahead on expenses I'm in the red...$2400.00!

I wonder if I can sell that many CDs in Fruitland?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Still in Nez Perce

Other than the record cold temperatures (can you say: "Global Warming"?) I've had a great time this weekend.

I got to Nez Perce about 6PM Friday and got my camper set up in Charlie Camden's yard. I visited with Charlie and Kathy for a while and then Jeff Camden and I went to O'Brien's bar and played a couple of games of pool. A couple of the locals tried me for $5 a game so I made a little gas money and then even sold a CD so that helped even more.

There were at least 50 people here Saturday at the get-together for Charlie Camden. even though it was kind of chilly for these "southern folks" we still set up an outdoor stage and took turns with music and poetry. Charlie even got up and sang "Diana" while Bill Chiles, Bodie Dominguez, Jim Aasen and I accompanied him on guitars.

Once everyone got frozen out and most left, Bill Chiles and I went down to the bar and jammed for a while. Ok tips and I sold a bunch more CDs so it made for a very good weekend so far.

I went hunting with Jeff and Connie Camden Sunday morning and we saw a bunch of deer. Jeff was never in the right place at the right time so all the deer we saw are still out there! It was 0 degrees Sunday morning here! I'm using all my propane keeping the furnace running so much but at least the camper is nice and warm and my water hasn't frozen.

I think I'll stay here tonight and head for Boise tomorrow. The forcast is for a little bit warmer weather and I can sure use it. Already will have to fill at least one propane tank. Expenses, expenses.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Tell me more about Global Warming!

What a perfect day for me to begin a journey with it's ultimate(?) goal as the deserts of Arizona. It's 16 degrees here this morning with a dusting of snow. I am OOH...Out Of Here!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Headed South

I'll be out of here in the morning, headed to Nez Perce, ID to visit with my friends Charlie and Kathy Camden. I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

From there, I'll head down to Boise and see a cousing whom I haven't seen in 30+ years and on the 16th and 17th I'll be at the Six Rivers Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Fruitland, Idaho.

Anyway, the camper's loaded; food in the pantry and the fridge, clothes in the closet, CDs, guitars and pool cues ready to try and make me some gas money. What else could I need?

Maybe I'll see ya out there somewhere.

Friday, October 02, 2009

On my way south

I haven't posted here in a long time so here I am, trying to get back on track. There actually is a lot to tell everyone for a change.

Montana's summer seems to be over. Snow in the mountains, rain here in town and a little chilly. The cookouts are over at Parade Rest Ranch for the season and Virginia City is back to being a Ghost Town.

I bought a really nice camper last month and finally got everything wired up and working right. It's such a great step up from the old bed/closet kind of camper I've been living in for so long that it's almost like a real house! Even the furnace works. And I'm sure everyone around me will be glad to hear that it has a shower.

Ok. My itinerary for the next couple of weeks is as follows: Townsend Fall Fest this weekend. Then, next week, I will be heading over to Nez Perce, Idaho for a couple of days as I have been promising Kathy and Charlie Camden that I would stop in and visit. Then on to Fruitland, Idaho for the Cowboy Gathering there on the 16th and 17th of October. After that, I will be stopping in American Falls,Idaho to visit with Wayne Nelson for a day or two.

Sometime around the 20th, I will point my nose south and go through Utah to Arizona. My ultimate goal is an RV park just east of Phoenix where I'm scheduled to play on the 31st. Note to all...I REALLY would like to get some gigs between the 20th and the 31st! Anything to help with the gas tank would be very good!

Also, most of you know that I not only play pool but I also sell Nick Varner pool cues and other billiard supplies. If your computer is sick I can fix that. Now, I have a new product that I'm carrying with me (Mike Burns says that I sound like a mini-Walmart). I have been taking a nutritional supplement produced by the Reliv company for a couple of months now. Weight is down, blood sugar is down, headaches are gone...I'm thrilled and then some! So, I got involved as an independant distributor and I've got some of this stuff with me. Check out the info at . Just click on the Reliv Products button and check it out. Great Stuff!

I guess that's about it for now. Let me think...Talked about my trip plans, mentioned the camper, brought up the Reliv info; BEGGED FOR WORK! It looks like I've covered everything for now. See ya all out there somewhere.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The summer keeps on for a while

Virginia City has been pretty slow the last couple of times I've been there. The cafe is closing earlier and there are fewer customers to hear me sing. I'm thinking it's time to "bag" VC for the year and just do the Parade Rest Cookouts.

The good news is that I am back at Parade Rest today for the cookout. I'll probably just hang out in West Yellowstone for the next couple of days, do the Monday cookout and then head home for the week.

I may have found a newer camper to live in. A refrigerator...toilet and shower! Wow! I'm hoping to pick that up this coming week.

I had a good night in Ennis last night. I even made a few (very few) $ playing pool. That always helps with the expenses.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Montana August

What a boring weekend!! I had a good time playing at Parade Rest Ranch friday but then Montana's August temperatures brought me to a screeching halt. It was so cold and wet in Virginia City that none of the customers wanted to seit out on the patio so I didn't even waste the gas to go there from West Yellowstone. I just stayed at Parade Rest, shot some pool at eino's tavern and the Wild West Saloon, read some books and hung out. It was relaxing except that part of me was adding up all the money NOT being made because of the weather.

I played last night at the Parade Rest cookout and then came home to handle a couple of computer calls and I'll play at the Flynn Ranch cattle drive tonight. Hopefully, the weather will be better the next couple of days and I can get back to VC and play.

I told the guests last night that we really did have summer this year. It even fell on a cookout day...last month sometime. I think it was a Friday.

I was kind of hoping that the frost would have killed off a few mosquitos but i forgot that Montana mosquitos don't mind frost. It livens them up and gives them more energy!

Oh well, hopefully I'll be on my way back to Virginia City tomorrow.

At least I've gotten a few computer calls too so the cash still looks good for this week.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Will this be a wasted weekend?

I had to come back to Townsend to get a couple of computers fixed. I have to keep my winter income alive to a certain extent! Now, it's cool outside and wet and rainy. I talked to the folks at the Virginia City Cafe and gbot the same weather report there.

I haven't checked with Parade Rest Ranch yet. I sure hope the weather doesn't stall the cookout today. That's one of my most fun jobs.

I've really enjoyed the Parade Rest Ranch cookouts the last few years. I have fun and the audience seems to also. They get a lot of people back each year and I've made some really good friends from both staff and audience.

Anyway, I guess if everything is cancelled, I'll go to Helena and see if I can get a pool game.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Another wet day in Paradise

Wel, it's been a while since I updated here.

Last week I met Terri James from Sunrise Entertainment in Belgrade. A very nice lady, even if she is running a Karaoke business. She even talked me into singing a couple of Karaoke songs. I did amarillo By Mornin' so I could push my CD!

Anyway, she does a nice job with the Karaoke and even though she is "the enemy", I'd recommend her if you absolutely MUST do Karaoke instead of live entertainment.

We've been having pretty good daytime weather but in the afternoons we have thunderstorms almost every day. Last Friday, Westbrook was in Virginia City and I stayed in West Yellowstone. Anyway, it rained really hard in VC and rained him out, poor guy!

Some drunk ran over the propane line at the VC Cafe last night so they aren't open yet. I'm killing time on the internet while I wait.

I've been doing this back and forth from West to VC all summer. It's been a lot of fun and I've made good money but I'm to the point of losing days and even weeks right now. I'm not real sure what day it is or how long ago something happened at either place. It's a GOOD feeling. I'm slowly pulling away from the world end beginning to live in my own. I like that idea!

Joann has me trying a nutritional supplement called ReLiv. We know several people who have had eally good luck with it, giving them new energy, kind of fixing health problems and that sort of thing. I've only been using it for a few days so I don't have an opinion yet.

The Virginia City Cowboy Gathering is this coming weekend, August 1st. There should be several really good performers here and we will have a lot of fun. John and I will be playing at the VC Cafe during the day and he has a gig in the Gallatin area Saturday night but I will stay here. Colt Angel will be at the Bale of Hay Saloon Saturday night. You shouldn't miss his show if you can actually get here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weekend of July 17-20

Friday was a really fun show at Parade Rest Ranch. We had a bunch of people and they all seemed to get into what I was doing.

After the cookout I was sitting alone at one of the tables, finishing my meal and getting ready to tear down my sound system. Anyway, I heard a grouse trying to talk some grouse-woman into "it". She, of course, was playing hard to get. They were in sight and I watched him with his tail feathers all fluffed out, his chest puffed up and strutting around her. Reminded me of older guys on the beach! She ignored him...just like the young girls on the beach!

Saturday, I went to the Madison River to splash around a bit and cool off. I was standing up to my waist in the river when I remembered that my cell phone was in my shorts pocket...under water. Oops. I was waiting for Westbrook to get there with some extra speakers we were going to use at our show for the Yellowstone Historic District. I thought: "Well, I'll borrow someones phone and tell him what happened and where to find me. Oh. Maybe not, since I don't know his phone number. It's programmed into my phone!"

I took my phone apart as much as I could and left it on the dashboard of the pickup, in the sunshine. When I tried it after the show, it seemed to work. "Whew".

The show for the Historic District was a lot of fun. We started out accoustically in the Firehole Room at the UP Dining Hall, playing for their no-host cocktail hour. There were about 100+ people moving through and there were times when John and I couldn't hear each other playing! I said: "Well, look on the birght side. If we were using a sound system, they'd just talk louder".

We actually had a great time and there were several people who sat near us as they wanted to hear what we were doing. Also, many of the people attending are old-time residents of West Yellowstone and so are people I wanted to talk with. A bunch of old friends. Many I had gone to school with. Most notably, to me, was my chance to talk with Jan Dunbar. She was the English teacher in West for a long, long time and one of my favorite people.
Sunday I actually took off. I went up onto the Madison Plateau to a place where I can lean back against a rock and look off across the whole valley. It is actually only about two miles from West Yellowstone and about 500+ feet higher so it's a great view.
Monday at Parade Rest again and then back here to Virginia City.
Had a great day here and it should turn out to be another great week. I love Montana summer, whatever day it falls on!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Parade Rest Ranch cookout

We had fun at a special cookout tonight. I wasn't sure how things would go as I saw a bunch of (looked to me like) Highschool aged kids coming down the hill with a couple of counselors. I figured my cowboy/western (we do BOTH kinds of music) would not go over well with this bunch. Then, I learned it was a group from Wales...very different culture.

But, I learned long ago not to stereotype my audience. I did my regular thing like always and they seemed to enjoy it; all the way to dancing and trying to sing along. We had a great time.

One song that they could sing along to; that EVERYone knows..."Country Roads". They also liked "I Just Don't Look Good Naked Anymore" and "Wildwood Weed". I don't know where it came from (she probably doesn't either) but one girl asked for something about Bonnie and Clyde. I looked at her in astonishment and said: "You know 'Bonnie and Clyde'? I don't run into many Americans who do!"

She looked kind of startled and I started to sing "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" (Merle Haggard). About halfway through the first verse, I said: "You were just making this up weren't you? You didn't know there was a song like this." She laughed and shook her head. Near the middle of the second verse, I said: "You requested it and now you're stuck with it. Sit back and enjoy." They all laughed at that.

Anyway, we had a great time, as always, and I'm looking forward to Friday's cookout. If you are around West Yellowstone this summer, come to Parade Rest Ranch for a horseback ride to a cookout and say "howdy" to me when you get here!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Montana Wind

Ok, last Friday I told the guests at Parade Rest Ranch to enjoy the day as much as possible because last Friday was "Summer" It's over now.

Yesterday, the thunderstorms in the northern Madison County area rated an alert beep on the radio. Quarter sized hail and 60 MPH winds. A couple of the clouds in the Helena area started to develop tails and then mellowed out.

Today, I headed to Parade Rest and from Ennis to Quake Lake I was going upwind in one of the worst wind storms I've ever driven in. I wondered several times if the camper was going to stay on the pickup!

In the Hebgen Lake area the winds were not quite so strong but they were still noteworthy. We did the cookout at Parade Rest but I used my bigger more powerful sound system as I knew their's would not be able to puch through that wind as well. It never really mellowed out and it started to get cold so the cookout kind of broke up early. I ate dinner in my camper.

Another show here at Parade Rest tomorrow then back to Virginia City for a couple of days and then back here. John Westbrook and I are playing at the UP Dining Hall for the Yellowstone Historic Center dinner the 18th. That should be a fun one.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Ready for Independance Day in Virginia City

The cookout at Parade Rest Ranch went very well last night. I had set up the amp with a big garbage bag around it as well as one covering my microphone because it was almost certainly going to rain at least a little. It did.

As I got started with "Big Iron", the rain started in earnest. I finished the song and then, since I had a small crowd this time, I just went under the awning with everyone else and did an accoustic show. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and I even sold a couple of CDs.

I stayed over at Parade Rest last night and then headed for Virginia City this morning, forgetting that the Ennis Independence Day Parade started at 10AM and I could see that I was not going to get to Ennis before then. I took the Fish Hatchery road across Varney Bridge and went around Ennis. It didn't cost me any time at all and I got around all the parade festivities.

So, here I am in VC, ready to start the day. Westbrook is here and we should have a great time!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

"Thunder Road"

I stopped at the Longbranch Saloon in Ennis the other day and found "Thunder Road" on the jukebox. The first time I've ever seen in out like that. I had a hard time, a few years ago, trying to find it so I could learn it. a great song.

I had to go back to Townsend Monday night and do some computer networking work Tuesday but I'm back in Virginia City now. This should be a GREAT Fourth this year as I don't have anything else scheduled and can just stay right here the whole weekend.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A great Virginia City Weekend

John Westbrook and I got to work together at the Virginia City Cafe Friday and Saturday. It's always fun to have John to work with as his input and lead guitar really enhance any show. We've been working together for several years now and we often know what song the other is going to do without talking about it.

I left early Friday to go to West Yellowstone but I was back Friday night. We played all day at the VC cafe; had a lot of fun and made good money.

Today, I played at the VC Cafe on my own and did very well. I'm trying to decide if I am going over to Ennis tonight, preparatory to going to West Yellowstone tomorrow afternoon or if I'll stay here and play at the Cafe again tomorrow for a couple of hours. decisions, decisions. My life is just sooooo complicated!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Test your sense of Fair Play

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current on their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had a Republican Congress allocate 5.6 Billion dollars for a civilian volunteer security force, as strong and well equipped as the regular Army and under his personal authority, would you have been concerned?

If George W. Bush had proposed doubling the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed doubling the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had promised detailed tracking of the spending from a $785 Billion Stimulus Bill and then postponed that oversight until 2010, would you approve or would you think something "smelled fishy"? If Bush had promised 48 hour advance posting of the same bill on the internet and only released it two hours before congressional approval, would you wonder what was being hidden from the public?

If Bush's White House Staff had spent over $300,000 flying Airforce One low over New York (for a publicity photo flyby with the Statue of Liberty) frightening the city, wouldn't you have expected Bush to make the pictures public? Would you have approved? Obama won't give them up, but he will release the secret "torture memos".

If George W. Bush had been "addicted" to using a TelePrompTer, and was afraid to give a speech without having one, would you have approved ? Would you think he was intellegent?

If George W. Bush had pre-approved/pre-picked the list of reporters allowed to ask questions at his press conferences and refused to call on the correspondent from MSNBC (FOX with Obama), would you have approved? Is that a Fair and Balanced news conference?

If George W. Bush and a Republican Congress had given hundreds of millions of dollars to a group (the right-wing equivalent of ACORN) after its members had been convicted of voter registration fraud, would you approve of them to doing the 2010 Census, which will determine congressional districts for 10 years? Will you trust ACORN in 2010?

Would you have approved of George W. Bush moving the Census from the Dept. of Commerce into the White House and putting his Chief of Staff in control of the counting?

He's done all this in 14 weeks -- so we still have three years and eight-and-a-half months full of surprises.

Weather got me again

Westbrook and I were playing at the Virginia City Cafe yesterday and doing quite well. At 2PM, I packed up and drove out of town to where the phone would work (no cell coverage in VC) and called Parade Rest. Everything was a go for the cookout! Hurray!!

About an hour later, they called me and told me that a really bad storm had moved in and they had to cancel. I was only about 8 miles away by then so I went on in and had dinner before I turned around and went back to VC.

Incidentally, I had an unexpected companion on my trip to West Yellowstone yesterday. There is (was, I hope) a mouse in the cab of my pickup. I left the doors open for an hour or so while I got a few things done and hope he found his way out.

Today was a good day at the VC Cafe. Westbrook and I played all day long and did well. Lots of fun but I'm tired, almost as if I had worked for a living today. Think I'll skip the pool games and go to bed early tonight.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

On the road update

Ok, Sunday it was raining constantly and cold so I tried playing at the Bale of Hay Saloon for a while then gave up and went over the hill to Ennis. Ennis is the same distance from Townsend as from West Yellowstone so I figured I'd hole up there until I got the word on whether or not the Cookout would be held a Parade Rest.

Sunday night I played pool in the Longbranch Saloon in Ennis. I made a few little dollars as no one would play for more than $2 a game and one guy was very good so I had to get out my best game to stay with him. That showed everyone else my best game! Oh well.

It was 40degrees in West the next day so the cookout was cancelled and I went home to Townsend, got the yards mowed, laundry done and resupplied the grub box. Tuesday was gorgeous without a cloud in the sky but I had a bunch of stuff left to do so I stayed in Townsend.

Wednesday I was here in Virginia City by 12:30 and played until about 6, doing very well in tips but very few CD sales. Today was the opposite. I had good crowds all day but not much for tips. I sold a bunch of CDs though and so had a very good day. I even treated myself to a Margarita at the Bale of Hay.

Hopefully, John Westbrook will join me tomorrow and Saturday and we'll put on a great show for the Virginia City Cafe.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Patch of blue sky

Here is a picture I took this morning from the Alder Gulch area near Virginia City, Montana. This is evidence that; somewhere above us, there is still blue sky and sunshine. This serves to reinforce my forlorn hope that someday we will again be blessed with a ray of sunshine instead of steady rain.

Incidentally; a word of warning. Anyone trying to sell me on "Global Warming" is in danger of a black eye!! Especially after a night of listening to the leaks in my camper growing larger with each passing gallon.

African Banjoist

On Thursday, June 18, 2009, I was in the Stagecoach Inn in West Yellowstone. A young man from Africa was setting up to play his banjos that evening. His name is Essau Pwelle.
He is from Africa and plays a mean African style banjo!

I had a great time talking with him and we wound up trading microphone time all night as I played my regular stuff and then he'd get up and play and sing the African style. All together, a very fun evening.

He has a banjo that he made from a kerosene can that actually sounds as good as his "normal" banjo. The kerosene "canjo" even has an electric pickup so he can run it through his sound system. Very cool.

Essau Pwelle
Box 757 Bozeman, MT 59711-0757

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Press Release from Smoke Wade

San Juan Western Heritage Festival &
National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo.

Montrose, CO: The San Juan Western Heritage Festival will be held September 11 and 12 at the Montrose Pavilion , 1800 Pavilion Drive in Montrose, Colorado. The Festival will feature the 12th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, live entertainment and western Colorado arts and specialty products.

Friday, September 11, highlights the world's only Cowboy Poetry Rodeo from 8:00 am to 5:00 p.m. Thirty Cowboy poets from 13 western states and Canada will compete for $6000.00 in prize money, silver buckles, trophies and a year's worth of bragging rights. Poets compete, on stage, in a stock rodeo format. With numbers on their back, judges and a rodeo announcer, the poets spur their "rides," (their poems), as they compete in 9 different events. There will be a Friday night show featuring cowboy poets and musical acts, many from western Colorado.

Saturday, September 12, the top 50 percent of the competing cowboy poets advance to the final round starting at 8:00 a.m. at the event center. Following the finals, a Cowboy Poetry Shoot-out will be held, as top ranked cowboy poets compete for the title, "Best in the West." Poets interested in registering for the NCPR may contact Sam Jackson, (435) 644-5459 or (435) 899-1100
A headliner and awards show will take place on Saturday evening featuring the winners of the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo along with country singer, Gary Lear and his Nashville Band.

While in Montrose, participants will enjoy the Western Colorado Experience ( Black Canyon, Ute Indian Museum, Ouray - Switzerland of America. Many will take home memories and local hand made products. There will be a raffle on a Western Quilt. And no rodeo or western festival would be complete without taking home a hand made stick horse made and painted by a local artist.

The San Juan Healthcare Foundation is the major sponsor and the fund-raiser proceeds will go to Caring Friends Fund for patients at the San Juan Cancer Center.

For more information go to, , or call Francie Smiles, (970)-252-2814.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Still in Virginia City

I'll be staying here until Friday afternoon, probably and then over to West Yellowstone to do my Parade Rest Ranch cookout.

Play music all day, hang out at the Bale of Hay Saloon all night and do it all again tomorrow.

It's tough, but I'll hang on!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Finally back on the road

The weather has been pretty Montana typical. Lots of rain, some snow and pretty cold for all the southern type tourists. So, Parade Rest hasn't been able to run the cookouts, meaning I'm out of work for a week so far.

Instead, I've been in Virginia City, playing at the VC Cafe. That only works when the weather is decent, too as it's an outdoor gig. The rain doesn't cause as much concern in our tourists as the cold. When it gets to 50 degrees and lower, they tend to stay inside and shiver!

What a gorgeous morning today, though. Cloudy and cool but not cold. A slight breeze that smells of mountains and pines. I camped on Alder creek last night and awakened to this wonderful Montana morning. After breakfast, I took a short walk and enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells. What a great way to make a living.

The Vc Cafe expects a large group this morning and, hopefully, they will be outside where I can sing to them and sell them numerous CDs!

The stagecoach is coming by me as I type this. I'm sitting on the boardwalk in front of Bandido's cafe in VC. Tourists are starting to move around and it looks like things will go well today.

Saturday, I got into a pool match with a former Montana 8 Ball champion. We traded games back and forth for a final of four games to four. But, since we played the last one for $10 instead of $5, I actually came out $5 ahead on the night. Considering the quality of my competition, I am seriously proud of myself!

Anyway, time to get to work. Get out the guitar and CDs and get some playing time in. Hope all you conformist types with real jobs enjoy your day. I know I will.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Montana-based singer-songwriter Myra Pearce will begin hosting an hour long weekly radio show on KGHL 790 in July.

The show, "I've Got Montana," offers a range of Americana Music: traditional country, cowboy western, honky tonk, native, bluegrass and gospel. Candid interviews with special guests featuring Montana songwriters, musicians, rodeo stars, cowboy poets, celebrity recording artists and entertainers. Adventure into the heart and soul of the high country with unique glimpses into the stories behind the songs, the tales from the trail.

I've performed with Myra before and I think she's a wonderful talent. I'm looking forward to hearing her show as I'm sure the energy she brings to the stage will be reflected on this radio show!

Smart move, KGHL!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Balmy Montana weekend

We haven't had any snow here in Townsend today...yet. Helena had snow and sleet and we are all watching the trees bending in the wind. I figure that if it keeps up like this my trailer house will wind up in Kansas with Toto!
It's a good thing we are all here at the school, entertaining each other with music, poetry and stories. The dayshows are going very well. Smooth, organized and effective. Basically, the opposite of yesterday!

Patty Clayton, from Colorado, has been wonderful for us. Lots of Day-show appearances and she took Wayne Nelson's place last night.

The High Strung Band, from Oregon, is over at the local rest home now, entertaining the residents there. Things are looking up.

All things considered, even with all the little glitches (!!!) we had a great time. Here's Billy Rose doing his thing.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Townsend's Friday Night Show

I swear, you'd think we've never run one of these before!! It's been a very interesting Friday. First, when we tried to turn down the house lights, swe found that, since last years show, the school has installed motion sensors in the gym! So, when we turned the lights off, they came right back on again. Short of shooting out all the lights, I was thinking of telling everyone to just sit really still...

We finally got ahold of one of the custodians who told us how to override the sensors.

Then...remember, our show is a fundraiser for the local fire department. As a consequence, most of our helpers are volunteer firemen. Abouot 3PM today, they all got paged to a house fire so all our helpers ran out the door! We'd have been ok but we use the basketball timer to time the performers sessions and the guy who usually runs that for us is on the fire. None of us could figure out how to make the buzzer NOT work when the time ran out. We're still playing with that.

As usual, though, having excellent performers makes for a good show, even with these kind of problems. Since Wayne Nelson couldn't make it, Patty Clayton filled his slot for us. We're making her work twice this weekend.

Anyway, back to work. Things have got to smooth out eventually!

Silent Auction and raffle at the Gathering

We have several items on our silent auction again this year. One is a set of Crescent tools, donated by Rock Hand Hardware in Helena and the other is this Resin cast Moose, donated by Dan Norvell of Townsend, MT.

We also have a raffle this year with a Maple top, handmade coffee table from Ron Cheevers of Townsend; a feather painting from Laura Obert, of Townsend and a hand done picture from Joy O'Hern.
I'll post more pictures of auction and raffle items when I get them.
If you'd like to buy raffle tickets, they are $1 each or 6 for $5. the drawing will be held during the intermission Saturday June 6th and you need not be present to win.
I can take bids by e-mail or phone. or 406-266-3946.

Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering begins

Well, we set up the stage, bleachers and chairs last night. John Westbrook and I are finishing up the sound setup this morning while I check in the Art/Craft vendors and get the other little periferrals together.

Billy Rose drove all night to get here. He's asleep in his van while a friend of his is snoring on my living room floor.

Wayne Nelson hurt his back really bad a couple of days ago so he won't make it this year. This will be ther first year that Wayne doesn't perform for us and we will all miss him.

I will try to keep a running account of who is here and what is going on as the event progresses. Keep tuned in!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Townsend Gathering is coming together...slowly

It's actually felt a little like spring for the last couple of days...finally. Although we've had some pretty serious wind, it's been fairly warm (other than Wednesday morning..25degrees) all day with the sun shining and water starting to move. The Missouri is running high and off color, just as it should, and all the little creeks and tributaries are running well now.

I'd love to be in Virginia City or West Yellowstone but we are deeply into putting the final touches on our Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering. We've got some great performers lined up and I think this will be one of our best shows.

As usual, though, the real work is getting the program book together. Joann Shindoll and I go to each business in Broadwater County and many around Bozeman and Helena, trying to get sponsors for the show. We usually wind up with around 75 ads in the book which pays most of the bills, including what we give performers, food in the green room, motel costs and all the other expenses that arise from something like this.

I'd love to get someone else to do all this Program Book work but Joann is the artist who makes all the ads and I put the booklet together and I really dont think any one else would do it as well as she does.

Anyway, the Pit roasted pig dinner will be held Saturday evening at 5:00PM again. This has become a very popular part of our event. We aren't doing a dinner for the performers on Friday this year as we didn''t get a very good response for it last year. Everyone will just have to hit the local restaraunts for Friday dinner. We will have menus from our sponsoring food purveyors available in the Green Room.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gathering schedule

At the White Sulphur Springs Gathering over Mothers Day weekend, I was asked by two different people how to know when shows like that were being held.

Rope Burns has an overwhelming list of almost everything going on but it isn't on the web and easily available, although I told both of these folks to get a subscription to Rope Burns.

I try to post the ones I know about at but if no one tells me about it, I can't post it!

That's the point of this little missive. If you have a Gathering or Western Music /Poetry show coming up, please let me know and I'll get it posted.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

White Sulphur Springs "Motherin' Up" Gathering

We had a great time in WSS last weekend. There were lots of very good performers here from all over.

What I particularly like is that many good Montana performers come to this one. We are always trying to get more Montana people to our show in Townsend in June and we like to get a chance to mix the Montana performers with all the Cowboy Poets of Idaho members who come here.

WSS Gathering is held at the school and Day-shows are in one of the classrooms and in the Library. There was a good audience for Day-shows also, with plenty to listen to us in both locations. CD sales seemed to be pretty good all day.

The local 4H provided a concession stand and Margaret Wilhelm, the main organizer, had green-room food and drink for all us travelling entertainers.

The night show was very well attended with about 150+ in the audience.

This gathering seems to get very good community support and we allways enjoy attending.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Cowboy Poetry Week in Review
April 19 – 25, 2009
By Smoke Wade

Lewiston, ID.

With well-intentioned plans and ideas, I had thought of National Cowboy Poetry Week for several months in advance, and I had thought about what I might do to celebrate the week. Yet, when the 19th of April drew nigh, the best thing I could think of was to cook a pot of beans and bake a pan of sourdough biscuits – cowboy food. And perhaps if I would eat this cowboy food each day of the week, some how I would feel connected to the celebration and feel that I had contributed to the experience.

Then it dawned on me that perhaps I would keep of journal for the week, take a few notes and see if something spawned besides sitting by the wayside eating biscuits and beans.

April 19: What started off as a routine Sunday morning - checking out all the news that is news on - I soon found my self writing several media releases for 2010 cowboy gatherings. Now in the mood to contribute, I continued by writing a report on the Lee Earl Memorial Scholarship Cowboy Gathering and got it sent off to the Bar-D Ranch and to Rope Burns. Ate a bowl of beans and three biscuits. Very good, this cowboy food!

April 20: Lacking high speed internet, I spent an hour on the phone listening in to poet’s from across American share their poetry on Wrote some cowboy poetry related emails with others, then ate a bowl of beans and two biscuits. Not bad!

April 21: Today the emails started rolling in from a few cowboy poets and musicians telling what they were up to. Listened to a new cowboy poetry CD, Rhyme Without Reason (2009) by Orvil Sears of Washington. Ate a bowl of beans (added more catsup) and one slightly stale biscuit.

April 22: By now the Cowboy Poetry Week event emails are rolling in faster than I can answer them, and by golly, it looked like Cowboy Poetry Week was being celebrated every where. Took a mid-week look at to keep up on all the happenings.
Spent an hour reading from Songs of the Outlands, a book of poetry by Henry Herbert Knibbs. Ate a bowl of beans - skipped the biscuit.

April 23: Began working on another report for a cowboy gathering and spent time working cowboy poet and musician photos through my photo workshop. Found that if I put the biscuit in the bowl first with beans on top, it was edible – extra catsup.

April 24: Woke up dreaming that I had eaten steak. This was the best day of the week. As co-host of the Western Heritage Show with Toe Tappin’ Tommy Tucker on KRLC 1350 AM, Lewiston, ID, I joined with the "Toe Tapper" to spend two hours celebrating cowboy poetry and Cowboy Poetry Week. Live telephone interviews included Margo Metegrano, publisher of, and Susan Parker, cowgirl poet from California. Several tracks were played from The Bar-D Roundup: Volume Four (2009) including: "Henry" by Pat Richardson; "Star Cavvy" by DW Groethe; the Henry Herbert Knibbs poem, "The Shallows of the Ford" recited by Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks; "Average Girl" by Doris Daley; and "The Sierry Petes" by Gail I. Gardner. Smoke Wade recited his original poem "Leather Gods" as a tribute to cowboy poets everywhere.

Cowboy music complemented the poetry with songs such as "The Habit" by Don Edwards, "The Wonder of it All" by Ian Tyson, "Man Walks amongst Us", by Les Gilliam, "Ballad of Boot Hill" by Johnny Western and "Act Naturally" by Wylie & The Wild West. As the show drew to a close, both Tommy and I gave The Bar-D Roundup: Volume Four (2009) "Ten Big Toes a Tappin" for excellence in quality, production and entertainment value. This is one heckuva CD folks, and we recommend you get one by visiting

The evening was spent once again listening to as cowboy poets shared their poems and stories of the cowboy. Ate the last bowl of beans with a half a bottle of catsup. Threw the last stale biscuit into the walnut grove out back for the squirrels to eat.

April 26: Up early and off to the cowboy breakfast at the Asotin County Fair, Asotin, WA. Almost twisted my ankle when I stepped on the rock-hard biscuit the squirrels had left on my front step during the night. Ate hotcakes and sausage links at the breakfast – real cowboy food – and asked for more. Didn’t realize how hungry I was. Listened to poetry and songs from Stuff That Works (2008) by Criddles & McCords. Rode in the parade with Toe Tappin’ Tommy Tucker as representative of the Western Heritage Show to further celebrate Cowboy Poetry Week in America. Came home after the rodeo to find the fridge was empty. Cooked up a pot of beans and a pan of sourdough biscuits for dinner. National Cowboy Poetry Week was a good week!

Smoke Wade

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

St. Anthony Cowboy Poetry Gathering

As usual, we had a great time in St. Anthony again this year. Westbrook, Wayne Nelson and I stayed with Colt Angel and the jammin' started almost as soon as I got there Thursday night. Colt and I played until we were tired then we went out for a while so that I could try and find some pool games. No luck. Lots of terrible pool players out there but none had any money so I gave up and went to bed.

Friday was a blast! For those of you who don't get the allure of these Gatherings, let me tell you that the best thing about them is the people. We get to see friends who we might only see at St. Anthony each year. Like a family reunion but we don't have to put up with relatives.

John and I weren't scheduled on the Night Shows this year but we both backed up others. We'll don Anything (almost...we won't play "Achy Breaky Heart") to get up on the Night Show stage.

Saturday, Colt Angel, Kevin Peterson and I got up as the last Day Show act. I have been telling everyone that the "Western Music Nazi's"; those who insist on strictly cowboy music, were in for a shock. There are some really good rock bands who did "cowboy" songs. So we did the Marshall Tucker Band song; "Fire On the Mountain". Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

I played my flute for Gordon Peterson. I went up to the crows nest, by the spotlight, and played from there. Everyone said it gave just the right atmosphere to the poem. It was fun, too.

I was playing for a benefit in Townsend on Sunday afternoon so I left when the jam broke up at Colts...about 1:30AM. It was a fairly uneventful drive home. The elk near Cameron didn't surprise me as I'd been looking for them all along. About a dozen head on and beside the highway. I stopped in Ennis and slept for a couple of hours and got home about 8AM Sunday.

Another stellar weekend in Western Music. Another bunch of memories to take out and look at once in a while.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where are the Heros? (Beware! Political post)

Where, today, are our heros? As our Country faces so many problems; economy, war, terrorism and so on, where are the Men with Principles? Men who will stand by their country and do what’s right without regard to the political expedient, the polls or the money?

Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton. How about Houston, Travis or Austin? We used to be a nation of heros and the whole world saw us that way. Now, we are a nation of political correctness and weakness. No wonder Al-Quieda attacked us so forcefully. They were used to seeing America as a coward, hiding behind rhetoric and diplomacy. Did you ever try to talk a schoolyard bully out of picking on you? Did logic work with him?

I believe certain things about our country. I believe that there are still a significant number of strong, courageous and ambitious people living here in America. Most of them are those for whom our “leaders” feel nothing but contempt. They didn’t go to the “right schools”. Most of them either didn’t go beyond High School or went to local or state Colleges. But they WORK for a living and for America. They build the cars, they grow the food, they build the “infrastructure” that our elitist leadership takes for granted. Our enlisted military is made up of those people today.

I believe that if we are allowed to do our work, without Government interference then our economy will rebound on its own. Just lower the taxes and get out of the way!

I believe that if we are allowed to take the war against terrorism to them…wherever they may be and however that might have to be done and then terrorists will run and hide. And leave the 2nd amendment alone. Our ability to protect our homes and communities is part of the reason that those same terrorists don’t want to come to rural America.

We need cowboys, farmers and other working class folks from the flyover states running our government and all those elitist Ivy League fat cats can go back where they came from!

In around forty years, we have come from Rosa Parks to Barack Obama. We should be rejoicing at the fact that racism is no longer a block for anything. If it were, then President Obama would not have been elected! Instead, we watch more of the same politics as usual, with a figurehead out front being led by his teleprompter. We don’t need socialism in our financial market, our healthcare or our government. We need Freedom to do what we do and the rewards of doing it well.

Our country was not built on handouts from the government. The government didn’t subsidize the westward expansion. There were no bailouts to the makers of covered wagons or those who drove them. No food stamps or welfare programs. Neighbors helped each other. Churches took care of their communities.

So, what can we do today? Contact your congressmen. Let them know how you feel about increasing taxes, increasing our national debt and handing money out to those who already have it all! When there is an election or referendum in your community…VOTE! If there is an issue about which you feel strongly, then get out there and work for it. Volunteer to help. If political causes aren’t your thing, I’ll bet there are places that provide help for the poor and needy in your community. When was the last time you helped at the local shelter, donated food to the local food bank or gave of yourself for a local charity or benefit?

I believe it is again time for our country to be built from the bottom up. Those at the top screwed it all up so those of us at the bottom have to start again. The problem is that our elected leaders are standing on us and not letting America’s people do the work they are so capable of doing.

I’m going to the Tax Day Tea Party at the State Capital in Helena, MT. Find out where your closest Tea Party is and attend! Show Washington that it’s more than just a few out here who are not interested in paying more taxes so that things can just get worse!

Congressional representatives:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ruth Sweeten Obituary (From Becky Muench)


Ruth Gerber Sweeten

February 2, 1922 – March 21, 2009

Ruth Gerber Sweeten, formerly of Malad, Idaho, passed away from natural causes on March 21, 2009 in the home of her daughter, Christine Goodwin of Orem, Utah.
Ruth was born February 2, 1922 in Spring Lake, Utah to Ether Lyman and Cornelia Hanks Gerber. She was the second of four children and the only girl. Ruth attended many schools as her father was a carpenter who moved the family from job to job. Ruth graduated from Shasta Union High School in Redding, California where she was on the diving team. Ruth served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in southern California where she met her future husband, Colen H. Sweeten Jr., who was also serving a mission there at that time. They were married in the Salt Lake temple on June 29, 1944 while Colen was on furlough from the U.S. Army during W.W. II.
Ruth spent most of her married life living in Malad and Holbrook, Idaho. She worked in the Ford Garage as bookkeeper and later in the Malad Department Store. Ruth developed the well deserved reputation of a great candy maker and sold many, many boxes of her wonderful chocolates over the years. Ruth and Colen raised their family in Malad and then lived in Boise, Idaho for nine years where she worked for Boise Cascade. She and Colen both worked and retired in Boise and then returned to Malad. They moved to Springville, Utah in December of 2000 to be closer to family.
Ruth was a member of the L.D.S. Church and held many positions over the years as she loved to serve her Heavenly Father.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Colen H. Sweeten Jr., her daughter, Jan Isom, her son-in-law, Charles Isom, her granddaughter, Jennifer Isom, Ruth’s parents and her three brothers, Dale, Clyde and Glade Gerber. She is survived by her children Susan (Bill) Erickson, Pleasant Grove, Utah; Eileen Hess, Springville, Utah; Christine (Bryce) Goodwin, Orem, Utah and Colen H. (Cindy) Sweeten III, Springville, Utah; fifteen grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.
A viewing will be held Friday, March 27 from 6 to 8 pm at the Horsley Funeral Home at 132 West 300 North in Malad, Idaho and also one hour prior to funeral services. Funeral services will be at 12 noon on Saturday, March 28 at the Malad 6th Ward building at 200 West 400 North. Burial will be in the Malad City Cemetery.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kalispell weekend

Howdy all!!

Well, John Westbrook and I had a great time opening for the "Members of" the Mission Mountain Wood Band on Friday, the 20th. Let's get some links here and then go on with the story.

The Good Wood Band (some of the M2WB members)
Rob Quist (One of the original members of M2WB)

This was a benefit concert for the Kalispell Police Association. The KPA does a lot of anti-drug education, suicide prevention and other great things for the youth and schools in the Kalispell area. A very nice bunch to work with.

First, I think that if I'd been with Lewis and Clark, they'd have discovered Cleveland. I haven't been to Kalispell in a long time but I knew to go east from Helena, take 141 north at Avon, then 200 then 83. But somehow, I missed the junction at Hwy 83 (There's only a big gas station, Convenience store, rest area and campground there. No wonder I just didn't notice all of that along with the big reflective highway sign that says "Kalispell -->").

Anyway, we wound up going through Missoula and up Hwy 93 through Polson. Apparently, it's springtime. Road Construction season is upon us!

Despite my superior navigational skills, we actually got to Kalispell with plenty of time to spare and got over to the Fairgrounds for a sound check. Rob Quist's sound guy, Walt Peckham, ran the hardware and was very good. We were extremely impressed with the job Walt did for both groups.

One of the Kalispell PD detectives MC'd for us and after his introduction, as we were getting ourselves together on stage, John said to the crowd: "It's good to see a policeman nervous, isn't it?" They loved it and he got a big laugh. Our show went very well. We had the audience laughing, crying and singing along throughout our hour plus of time. I finished by doing Wayne Nelson's "Snowville" poem and when the MC came up to get rid of us, the audience didn't want us to get down. We got a standing O as we walked off stage. All in all a very great time.

The Out of the Blue-Grass (Mission Mountain WB) band did their usual fantastic job. I love to listen to these guys. With Rob's original songs and the bluegrass instrumentals and all the stuff they do they are a very entertaining group. I hope we get a chance to see them again.

I managed to find the right route back home so we cut about an hour off the trip on our return.

For you pool players out there, I went to a bar in Kalispell where they had one pool table. The nap was so thick that I thought they might have covered it in shag carpet. The cuestick tips were terrible and they were using that cheap Chinese chalk. You know the stuff. Anyway, if you made anything other than a centerball hit you got a miscue. The kids in there to hear the band were terrible pool players but they were willing to play for $5 a game all night. Pity I had such a short time to enjoy their company! Oh well, gas money, anyway.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ok. I feel the need to debunk some current religious fervor. Global warming is a hoax. Climate change is not caused by the overuse of SUVs or the flatulence of cows.

It's 12 below zero here this morning. It's March. The coldest Montana March in over six years and really a normal condition for us here. The arctic Ice is increasing again. Las Vegas had snow this year for the first time in a long time. You notice that those who were crowing the most about Global Warming only a year ago are now calling it "Climate Change" to try and cover these weather situations.

I guess nature just does what she wants without our help. Sorry Algore, your Nobel Prize was issued a bit prematurely.

Later all, I'm on my way up to Shindolls to help feed cows this morning.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Modern Country Music...Yuck!

I've been somewhat disenchanted with the modern country music that I hear when I'm forced to listen to top 40 stations but I rarely have much exposure to it because I just don't listen to those stations much. Yesterday, though, I was practicing my pool game in a bar where they have continuous country music playing and a video screen which displays info about the artists. It was horrible.

They all sound the same. They all look the same. It was almost like one four hour song playing! The only time there is a semi-break in the monotony is when they switch from a male to a female singer. So far, you can still tell those apart.

One "Country" band had information about their "influences" U2, Elvis and some other rock bands I didn't really know. Their main influences were rock bands and their "country" music reflects that.

The argument is "That's what the kids want". Why, then is the popularity of Country Music dwindling? Could it be because; if you want to listen to Rock, you'll listen to a rock station?

I'm an old guy, I know. And I try not to sound like my mother who really hated my ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Styx and Creedence. But I can't help it. The modern rock is either Rap or way too hard for me and modern Country doesn't really exist. I listen to the local classic rock station if I listen to music radio.

That brings up another point. It's not hard to find a classic rock station in most areas. Something that plays the 70's and beyond rock. Try to find a country station that isn't top 40!

Oh well, I'm old and grouchy and I guess I plan to stay that way. I'm gonna put on some Jerry Jeff Walker albums (note: albums, not CDs) and relax.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Montana Global Warming

Twelve degrees this morning. We need to drive more SUV's up here and get this global warming thing started in Montana. Check out
and see what Global Warming looks like to us.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The 25th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

A Reunion of Cowboys

By Smoke Wade

Elko, NV. In 1985, when the first Elko Cowboy Gathering brought grassroots cowboy poetry to the stage, the organizers wondered if anybody would show up to listen to a bunch of old cowboys get up on stage and share their poems and stories. It was to be a one-time event, which was organized by a group of folklorists to gather and document cowboy stories, poetry, and song before the art form was lost to the world. Surprisingly, it was found the rhyming stories were, in fact, very much alive and, perhaps even more surprisingly, there were plenty of folks who wanted to hear these poems and songs of the cowboy. Perhaps it was something new for the media, or maybe it was just one of those celestial things where an event occurred at the right time and place. Whatever it was that occurred, the modern cowboy poetry gathering was born and the event organizers decided they would do it again in 1986. It was in this fashion that cowboy poetry became a household word and cowboy poetry gatherings began to spawn across the West.

Fast forward 25 years later to 2009 and we find not only the world has changed beyond our imagination, but also cowboy poetry has evolved greatly as well. Every weekend in North America there is a cowboy poetry gathering or festival taking place somewhere. In Australia, bush poets gather, while in our seaport cities, fisher poets hold their gatherings. Large gatherings occur on a regular basis across Canada, and cowboy lore from countries around the world is recognized and celebrated. Cowboy poetry has spread to schools, libraries, nursing homes, universities, churches, city parks and the Smithsonian Institute. Radio shows play cowboy poetry live and on the Internet. Cowboy poets appear on television shows and they have infiltrated musical organizations such as the Western Music Association. Dozens of cowboy poetry writer groups meet on a regular basis and cowboy poetry organizations and clubs boast large memberships. And all this time, cowboy and western musicians gathered with the poets and shared their songs of the cowboy.

During this 25 year span, the Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering, sponsored by the Western Folklife Center, became known as The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. So it was fitting to hold a reunion – a Silver Reunion - to draw back many of those that were there in 1985, and to draw back those that have participated since, and to invite new poets as well. And for 8 days in January, they came and reunited, and told their stories once again.

The granddaddy of them all, the 25th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering took place January 24 – 31, 2009, in Elko, NV, as hundreds of cowboy poets and musicians descended upon the small Nevada town. They came from around the world, from the United States, Australia and Canada. And their appreciative fans came with them - thousands of fans that turned Elko into a boomtown like atmosphere. Motels filled to capacity, long lines formed at restaurants, while casinos and nightclubs booked cowboy singers, and everywhere could be heard the song and poetry of the cowboy. Open mic venues took place in art galleries, there were school performances, and the media swarmed in from everywhere looking for a slant on this Silver Jubilee.

The large crowds of folks at the Elko Convention Center and at the Western Folklife Center were extremely diverse. Old time cowboys mingled with friends and newcomers alike. Local people visited with city folk from virtually every big town in America. Folklorists beamed with satisfaction as they listened to the cowboy artists share their work. Youth performers stood along side of modern day folklore legends. What had possibly been a media phenomenon in 1985 had evolved into the greatest cowboy poetry spectacle on Earth!

With more than 75 featured cowboy performing artists, including 16 featured performers from the 1985 gathering, the reunion got under way on Saturday, January 24, 2009. The heart of the event took place over a 3 day period later in the week – Thursday through Saturday, January 29 – 31, 2009. Added to the featured performers was a long list of performers that contributed to reunion shows at the Western Folklife Center and at the Elko Convention Center. Also added to this group were all those that came for the various open mic stages around town, as well as the featured entertainers at almost every nightclub and casino in town. The list of cowboy performers was long and impressive, yet several names stood out - household names from the 1985 gathering like Waddie Mitchell, Wallace McRae, Baxter Black, and Ian Tyson. From the original 1985 group, Baxter Black has emerged, as possibly America’s most successful poet of any genre.

A special show was presented over a two day period at the gathering that is certainly worthy of mention. A Ride With Bob – The Bob Wills Musical which was written by Anne Rapp and Ray Benson, and featured Ray Benson and Asleep At The Wheel, along with a large cast of talented actors and musicians. The full capacity audience sat spellbound through the entire performance, grinning ear to ear from start to finish. And no small wonder, for A Ride with Bob Wills was an amazing stage production. To sum up the show in two words – Absolutely Fantastic!

Some performers brought their own special mixture of high energy with them to the reunion. Several musical groups rocked the house every time they took the stage. Wylie & the Wild West, the Quebe Sisters and Hot Club of Cowtown, along with poet, Paul Zarzyski, all presented superb performances much to the delight of audiences. Wylie & the Wild West also presented a very entertaining tribute to the Snake River Outlaws, an Idaho band, circa 1950, that had a successful radio show in Missoula, MT.

During the heart of the gathering, multiple performances took place at a half a dozen venues at the same time. A bustling crowd scurried about the lobby of the Elko convention center trying to juggle their schedules between the Cedar, Silver and Turquoise rooms and the main auditorium. Others gathered in the front atrium jostling for a place in line at the goody table to buy cookies, brownies and coffee. Some found quiet time sitting at a table in the back of the lobby while reading a new book of poetry they had just purchased from the performer product sales store.

Behind the scenes other folks were just as busy. Behind the main stage, performers calmed themselves in the Green room while waiting their turn on stage. Upstairs in the media room, Lora Minter and Darcy Minter – no relation to each other – busied themselves for long hours with the press corp.

Across town at the Western Folklife Center, volunteers ushered people into the Wiegand Gallery to view Between Grass and Sky: Trappings of a Ranch Life, a display of finely crafted saddles, bits and leatherwork. On the wall in the Gallery hung a quilt hand-crafted by Yvonne Hollenbeck. The quilt displayed the brands of 159 cowboy performers. In the main lobby of the Western Folklife Center, other volunteers took up the role as bartender in the Pioneer Bar. Adjacent to the bar, non-stop shows took place in the G Three Bar Theater.

The Pioneer Bar in the Western Folklife Center seemed to be the central gathering point for folks at all times of the day. As the sun went down over the high desert mountains, the facility filled with people and it became standing room only. From the front door of the Center, one could look across the plaza and see the blazing neon sign of the Stockman’s Casino advertising Michael Martin Murphey in concert. On the other side of the plaza hung a sign over the door of the Duncan Little Creek Gallery advertising open mic for poets.

With so much going on in addition to the poetry and music venues – workshops, ranch tours, and film sessions – and so many performers, it would be impossible to include them all. The essence to be captured is that this week was Cowboy Carnival, and what a grand celebration it was!

An often-heard comment was "What happens when all these old cowboys are gone? Will their poetry and music die out?"

One only needed to expand their horizons at the gathering and take a look around. One young performer, singer-songwriter, Adrian, seemed to step up to the plate in grand fashion. There was a Young Buckaroo poetry session on Saturday morning, and the open mic sessions were crowded with new performers from across America hoping that one day they, too, would step into the spotlight. It would appear from these performances, that the future of cowboy poetry and music is in good hands.

With so much entertainment and activity to absorb in such a short period of time, it was easy to suffer from image overload. By Saturday afternoon, folks were beginning to have a glazed look in their eyes. Yet they continued on like it was their last day at Disneyland, trying to catch one more ride before they had to leave for home. Long days and short nights apparently were the standard fare for the Silver Reunion.

Everyone wondered how the Western Folklife Center could come up with a National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 2010 that would top this most recent event. Yet the planning for the next gathering had been going on for some time. In 2010 look for "cracker" cowboys from Florida and swamp cowboys from Louisiana. And to top it all off, the Florida Folklife Program has created an exhibition entitled Florida Cattle Ranching: Five Centuries of Tradition that will be featured at the Wiegand Gallery during the Gathering.

As the Sunday morning sun laced the peaks of the Ruby Mountains with gold, the gathering of cowboys began to depart for all points of the compass. Poets, musicians and fans hugged and bade each other goodbye in motel parking lots. Each one departed knowing that they had shared in something special - an event of a lifetime – for they were there, in Elko, and they had contributed to the experience. They had been to Elko when cowboys gathered as each brought 25 years of new stories with them. This gathering of cowboys had been a Silver Reunion, yet the memories they took home were solid gold!

Smoke Wade

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentines gig

Eric Nelson (Wayne Nelson's son) and I played at the Townsend American Legion last night. It was a good night and everyone had a good time.

The Legion has gone Non-Smoking (FINALLY) and business slowed for them quite a bit these first couple of weeks. I'm hoping that all those people who gripe about the smoky bars will start patronizing the Legion now and build the business back up.

Anyway, they had a mixed doubles pool tournament last night so we had a good crowd right from the beginning as well as the few who came in just for the music.

Eric and I are a good mix as he is an extremely good guitar player and is founded more in Rock than Country/Western. He can play along with my classic (old-guy) country and then throw in some good rock stuff once in a while for variety.

We were done about midnight and I played the male half of the tournament winning team for his share of the tournament winnings. That added to my take for the night!

No trip to West Yellowstone this weekend as I'm finishing up a couple of computers that I was working on so I just don't have time to run down to West for a pool tournament. Maybe next week.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another Montana week

Well, it's still winter up here! Actually, it hasn't been bad lately. We had temps into the fifties last week for a day or two.

Westbrook and I are still doing our "Happy Hour" show at the Mint in Townsend, MT every Friday from about 5pm until about 8pm. We're starting to see more people coming in to hear us so our audience is building a little.

I'll be doing the Mint thing by myself this Friday (the 13th) as John will be playing with Country Traditions at the Lounge in Belgrade, MT on Friday and Saturday.

Eric Nelson and I will play at the American Legion, in Townsend on Saturday (Valentines) evening. I'm looking forward to that as it should be a lot of fun. I don't know how much advertising the Legion has done, though. We may be entertaining the bartender and ourselves!

I'm updating (slowly) the performers pages by changing the sample music from realplayer to MP3 files. It's kind of tedious work so it's going pretty slowly but I've been keeping at it a little at a time. My page, Wayne Nelsons and parts of Bill Chiles, Valerie White and John Westbrook are done.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Lacie Madison (Pierry)

When John Westbrook and I did our "Happy Hour" thing at the Mint Friday, we had a special treat. Lacie Madison stopped in with her Dad, Russ Pierry.

I met Lacie several years ago when they first moved here to Townsend. She was all fired up to be a singer/songwriter. Lacie was 15, I think, when I first met her. Very pretty and extremely "upbeat" about everything.

We invited her to Music Ranch, which Was in Belgrade, MT at the time, and she would come there every week and perform with us. She sang a lot of Civil War era songs and played the guitar ok.

Since then, she has been on TV shows in Hawaii, Memphis and Nashville and is currently living in Nashville where she is pursuing her musical career. She has one very nice CD out and is having some great success. Yesterday, I got an earfull of why.

Lacie had come home to attend the funeral of a friend of ours. Lacie had written a song about Dorothy and the family asked her to perform it for the funeral.

She has a lovely, clear penetrating voice, plays the guitar very well and delivers her songs extremely well. My only comment, as she finished, was: "Wow!"

In addition, of course, she has grown from a pretty young girl to a very attractive young woman. I'm suitably impressed. Keep at it Lacie!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Westbrook and Gibson together again

John and I were both pretty busy during the summer but we were either doing separate single shows or he was playing with the Country Traditions band from Bozeman.

We are scheduled to open for members of the Mission Mountain Wood Band in Kalispell on March 20th though so we are actually taking time to relearn each others material. The Kalispell thing will be at the Fairgrounds and is a benefit for the Law Enforcement Association up there.

Anyway, we've played at the Mint Bar in Townsend, MT the last two Fridays and we're scheduled there every Friday, during "Happy Hour" (from 5PM till whenever) for the forseeable future. Hopefully, we'll get our "stuff" together by March.

You can see info about us at .
John's Schedule is at
and mine is at

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Helena Bar-Box tournament

Saturday, the 10th of January, the Helena Bar-box pool tournament was held at the Edge Bar in Helena.

Lots of extremely good pool players showed up and we all had a great time. Most of the waiting time between matches was spent upstairs where we played on the 9' table, just to keep warm.

Besides the tournament purse, lots of other money changed hands upstairs. Some of it was (note WAS) mine!

Anyway, it was a good tournament and a good time. Jeff Boucher was the overall winner. He never even looked like he would lose a match all day. Josh Morgeaux and George Price were also in the semi finals. I have to admit that I was pretty beat (in more ways than one) so I wimped out and went home while the semi's were still going on.