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Participating Artists 2017


Broken Chair Band

Gold Canyon, AZ

Todd, Melinda and Dani Sue Carter are the Broken Chair Band, entertaining audiences with their unique genre of ‘Americowboyfolkgrass’. The family band’s musical influences range from Americana, Western, Folk to Bluegrass, featuring bass guitar, acoustic guitar and fiddle. Todd is an award winning songwriter, garnering the 2015 Silver Spur Award for the Best Western Song by the Western Writers of America with ’ Charlie and Evangeline’, co-written with Doug Figgs. Melinda has played guitar, French horn and trumpet throughout her life in school bands, orchestras, and church worship teams. Dani Sue joined the band when she was 3, and is now not only singing harmonies, but also playing lead fiddle on many of the band’s original and Western Music cover tunes! Their original songs are written from a ranching perspective, being responsible stewards of the land they utilize. The team also rides for their brand, the Broken Chair brand cattle ranch, a cow-calf operation. Come join the Broken Chair Band on their ‘Americowboyfolkgrass’ adventures!


Call of the West

Strang, Oklahoma

Exquisite harmonies, top-notch musicianship and on-stage fun add spice to lively tunes and pop standards from Rosemary Clooney, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Anne Murray, The Ink Spots, and Santo & Johnny. They throw in a classic country numbers, sprinkle in a little cowboy poetry, and add humor. They play western swing favorites, and always impress singing lead and harmony of their original music - a diverse offering of instrumentals and songs covering a variety of topics. Performing together since 1989, they possess formidable instrumental skills on guitars, mandolin, steel guitar, concertina, and harmonica.

Jerome is the 2006 Merle Travis National Thumbpicking Champion, Jeanne is the 2008 WMA Instrumentalist of the Year, was nominated for the 2008 WMA Female Vocalist of the Year, was a finalist for 2009 and 2010 WMA Instrumentalist of the Year, and both were nominated for 2008 WMA Duo/Group of the Year.

Their own recording projects include three duo albums, two classic country albums with their good friends, Tex & Mary Schutz, two solo original music albums by Jeanne, a gospel album and a solo thumbpicking album by Jerome.



Van Criddle

Eugene, OR

Van Criddle is an award winning Cowboy Poet, Storyteller and Western Humorist. Coming from a farming and ranching background, Van’s poetry has the sound and feel of one who’s been there and done that. He worked ranches in Pinedale, WY and in Utah, started breaking colts and training horses as a teenager, and competed in rodeo rough stock events in high school. He rode saddle bronc, bareback and bulls. He tried his hand at steer wrestling but as he says he “could never figure out how to get to the horns and I wasn’t very good at tackling them from behind.”

He and his wife Kathy managed a feed lot and a backgrounding operation early in their marriage. His real life poetry like “Sixteen Horses” and “The Cowboy Ain’t Dead Yet” will bring a tear and a smile. His stories will have you waiting for the punch line with a belly laugh sure to follow. His pleasant voice is easy to listen to and he draws you into the story. You to see the picture in your mind as if you were there.


Sam Deleeuw

Roy, UT

Sam DeLeeuw ..is a very talented LADY! Make no mistake, Sam DeLeeuw knows what she’s talking about. Twenty-plus years a rancher’s wife; she’s herded horses, cows, sheep, and two rodeo queens.

In college, she was the only girl in the ag-curriculum and was a popular date because she’d help with the branding. Sam’s background gives her all the ideas for her often humorous, but sometimes tearevoking, stories. Much of her original poetry is taken from her own family’s genealogy; happenings from day to day life, from people she’s met and the places she’s been.

Her honors and awards are too numerous to mention, and include four time “Female Poet of the Year” (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015) from the Western Music Association, and “Humorist of the Year” from the Academy of Western Artists.

Her most treasured rewards are the people she’s met over the years. Those folks have now become some of her closest friends. Raised in Black Foot, Idaho, Sam DeLeeuw now makes her home just outside of Ogden, Utah, and remains in-demand as a poet, humorist, emcee, and lively entertainer



Mike Dunn

San Tan Valley, AZ

Mike’s extremely proud of his Arizona heritage going back to the 1800s. His personal experiences center along the eastside of the Whetstone Mountains, southwest of Benson, where much of his Granddad’s ranch, the Rail "A" brand, is still in the family today. It was there he learned firsthand what cowboy life was all about and cherishes those memories. He’s worked the ranch much of his life and now as part owner, spends as much time there as life allows.

Much of his original poetry, shared in his book “Somewhere Between Earth and Heaven,” reflects his own experiences, along with the experiences and stories passed down – widely accepted as a tribute to the ranch family. The AWA named it as a recipient of the Will Rogers Medallion Award shortly after its publication. Mike received the Gail I. Gardner Award as an Arizona Cowboy and Poet, been nominated as Cowboy Poet of the Year by the WMA and his latest CD was nominated as Cowboy Poet CD of the Year.

Mike and his wife Linda of 40 plus years, spend much of their time helping to raise grandkids and training horses.


Nancy Elliott

Tucson, AZ

Southwestern Americana is the music and stories painted on my heart by a life in the Desert Southwest. I write and sing so I can share with you the alive, wild and dangerous place in my soul which is forever hungering for adventure, big skies and a little something to tame...because I believe that place is in you, too. 

In a mix of historical and cultural stories along with contemporary experience, Nancy displays a warmth on stage few of us can match in daily social interactions. Her guitar and persona create the feeling of being in the room speaking one on one with her.... 



Kerry Grombacher

New Orleans, LA

Kerry Grombacher is a modern troubadour, whose songs are set in the landscape where he’s lived, worked and traveled for more than 40 years. He has performed on stages as varied as the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Newport Folk Festival, the Arizona Cowboy Poets’ Gathering, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He’s performed on the parking lot of the Sands Motel on old Route 66 in Grants NM, where a room is named for him, and his “Highway 281 Troubadour Tour” traversed the Great Plains, following the 1800-mile highway from the Canadian border to South Texas.

Kerry’s recordings include It Sings in the Hi-Line, Sands Motel, Riding for the Brand, Dreams of New Orleans, and Home to the West, and he helped produce and has a song on Putumayo’s internationally-released children’s album “Cowboy Playground.” His songs have been recorded by Belinda Gail, The Texas Trailhands, Duke Davis, Trails & Rails, Earl Gleason, Lorrie Keating, Ed Stabler, and Gary Prescott.

Kerry Grombacher is a member of the Western Music Association and the North American Folk Alliance, and he endorses Elixir Guitar & Mandolin Strings.


Purly Gates

Driftwood, Texas

Whether she’s thumping the upright bass, strumming the guitar, jazzing out on the bamboo saxophone or regaling the audience about the virtues of bailing twine, Purly Gates entertains and educates buckaroos large and small at cowboy festivals, schools and other venues across the country. The multi-instrumentalist was playing harmonica by age 5, and just never stopped picking up new instruments and learning tunes. In her mid-twenties, she began traveling throughout the US and abroad as a professional musician and teaching artist.

Her passion for history, traditional songs and stories led Purly on research junkets to the Library of Congress Folk Archives and the University of Texas Folklore Center Archives. There she discovered cowboy poems, and soon began reciting some herself. During her 4+ decades performing nationally, she has shared stages with many legendary musicians. She has performed here at the Gathering with Ken Moore, Joe Green and Alan Chapman.

Purly writes poems and songs, while homesteading in the hill country outside Austin. Her latest release, The Call of the West, showcases her wry wit and original and traditional repertoire.



Larry Harmer

Litchfield Park, AZ
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Larry Harmer is a historian, storyteller, lecturer, and writer, performer of cowboy poetry, and purveyor of tall tales. Larry’s voice and expertise have been shared with audiences at historical events for over 25 years. His interests include early American History and the history of the West. His enthusiasm for the West and the preservation of its lifestyle is infectious. It’s said that Larry’s “got a true cowboy heart.” He works hard to live up to that compliment.

Larry’s participated in Cowboy Poetry Gatherings and performances throughout the West; including the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, the Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering, the Festival of the West, and the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Colorado. His dedication to cowboy poetry is evident, in the mastery of his craft and his commitment to the western lifestyle. His CD There's a Poem in There … Somewhere contains original works and several older and sometimes obscure poems. Larry’s work is also included in a collection of Cowboy Poetry titled Cowboys Are Part Human and the Commemorative Collection for the 20th Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering.


Harpy Trails

Cottonwood, Arizona


Ken and Lyn Mikell play a wide range of traditional music, with particular attention to the Celtic roots of cowboy music. Using a wide range of musical instruments, Ken and Lyn illuminate the music and poetry that followed the trail west. From old time trail songs to the golden era of the radio and silver screen, Ken’s rich vocals and Lyn’s beautiful harp put a new twist on old time favorites. Ken is known to some as the railroad balladeer of the Verde River Canyon where he entertained train buffs for many years. He is also familiar to many as Sam Durham, the ghost of Jerome, as seen in video played at the Douglas Mansion State Park.

Ken and Lyn have lived and worked in the Verde Valley since 1977. Since attending the first Arizona Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Prescott in 1987, they have been featured at cowboy poetry gatherings all over the West.



Randy Huston

Rociada, NM

His latest album, Cowboys and Girls, establishes Randy as a premier western music artist.  The CD was awarded the Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Traditional Western Album from National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. It is a musical ride into his world of horses, cattle, bumps and bruises and the wide-open spaces of New Mexico. 

Randy not only sings and writes about the cowboy lifestyle; he also lives it on a daily basis from sun-up to sundown.  Whether it’s herding cattle, doctoring a horse, or pairing up with his daughter, Hannah, for a day of working on the ranch, Randy’s songs bring to life all that makes up this traditional lifestyle. 

His family operates a ranch near Cuervo, New Mexico, where he and his father tend to a herd of Corriente cattle.  Hence, Randy’s life is literally a musical opus where each day is filled with the events that feed his musical passion.

Randy earned his degree in veterinary medicine from Washington State University.   He set up practice in Lexington, Kentucky, the thoroughbred capital of the world. After several years of practice, he moved to Nashville to try his hand in the music business. His first album Keepin’ the New West Wild was followed by There’s A Hole in Daddy’s Rope.


Ken & Jerye

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Singer songwriter Ken Stevens has been performing for years. He is a polished musician and vocalist with fans that span all ages. His fresh Folk and Western sound has delighted audiences everywhere. His first album “Ridin’”, was nominated for album of the year by the Academy of Western Artists. Two tunes, “Cattle UpThe Trail” and “Clear Creek is Running Muddy Tonight”, were nominated for song of the year. “Colors” (Of The West), a tune by Terri Taylor, from his second album, “A Cowboy’s Life”, was ranked in the top ten and went all the way to number one. His music has been played in thirteen foreign countries.

Jerye Lee, a recent new comer to the public music scene, once sang primarily to the jack rabbits and mule deer of panoramic Utah. With her uniquely alluring voice, she weaves melodies and harmonies from the heart of traditional ballads into earthy Folk tunes, across the plains of old cowboy ditties and finishes solidly in the Western Folk realm of the Americana genre. Being a new songbird on the range matters most if the sound is good, and yes… the sound is good, very good.

Together Ken and Jerye unabashedly combine talents to carve a niche with their fresh new sound.



Deanna Dickinson McCall

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Deanna Dickinson McCall has cows, horses and a love of the land bred into her, coming from a family that began ranching in Texas in the 1840's. She has ranched in several western states, including 22 years raising her family on a remote Nevada ranch without phones or electricity. She now ranches with her husband in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico.

She performs all over the West, from the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering to the Texas Cowboy Poets Gathering and everywhere between.

Her writing has garnered CD of the Year from the AWA; Book of the Year and The Georgie Sicking Award from the WMA; Will Rogers Medallion Award; And the Willa Award from WWW.


Peggy Malone

Fruita, Colorado

Peggy Malone has been an entertainer for many moons. As a long time member of the WMA she strives to keep Western Music alive and well and thrives on audience participation. Quoting Marvin. O'Dell .saying "We absolutely LOVED watching you handle an audience.  You are the best at that.  Your performance that we got to see was wonderful."

Most recent awards, 2013 Colorado Country Music Hall Of Fame "Entertainer of the Year" and 2012 "People's Choice Award". She also won an Emmy for her original, Singin' A Cowboy Song for it's part in the PBS special, A Night At The Rodeo. Peggy won the Patsy Cline sound alike contest in Denver and was flown to Nashville to compete at the national level.

She holds the unique honor of being the only entertainer to have completed the full 13 year cycle of the "Chief Joseph Trail Ride." Peggy and her husband Bill live in Fruita Colorado with their 2 horses, a Border Collie and Mini Aussie. She is thrilled and honored to be returning the Cochise Gathering!



Carol Markstrom

Tucson, AZ

Carol Markstrom is an award-winning Western singer/songwriter based out of Tucson. Carol’s original songs tell of engaging people, places, and events of the West, some of which draw from her research and experience among American Indians. She writes ballads and love songs ranging from the whimsical to bittersweet, and the beauty and landscapes of the West are prevalent themes in her songs.

Carol also enjoys performing classic Western tunes, and she locates lesser-known treasures delivering them with a fresh approach. Carol’s two CDs—Vision Across the Range and Crossing Borders—have received favorable reviews with songs being played on Western radio programs. In March 2016, Carol was honored to receive the 2015 Western Music Female Vocalist of the Year Award from the Academy of Western Artists. Her children's book and song, Dance of the Desert, was recently released, and you can read some of Carol’s non-fiction articles about Apaches in True West and Wild West magazines. Carol is a member of the Western Music Association, the Academy of Western Artists, and the Western Writers of America.


Mike Moutoux

Silver City, NM

Mike Moutoux is a cowboy-singer-songwriter-cowboy poet from Silver City, New Mexico. Also known as “New Mexico’s Enchanting Cowboy”, he specializes in turning ranch work into cowboy songs and cowboy poetry that give listeners a rare look into the life of a working cowboy. “I’ve helped to pull calves that could not be delivered normally and watched them take their first breath; laid on the ground in the mud and blood doctoring cows; been chased by cows, kicked by cows, fallen off a horse or two, and just generally collected too many fond memories to remember.”

Mike’s poetry is always lyrical---perhaps because he is also a songwriter. His songs and poems are always filled with wonderful images---perhaps influenced by his work as a photographer. But it is his work as a cowboy that lends an authenticity to his work most audiences quickly realize and appreciate. What does this mean for you? Wild rides, cattle drives and a chance to look at life, love and some dang fine country through a cowboy’s eyes.



Terry Nash

Loma, CO


Raised in Eastern Colorado on a farm/ranch, Terry Nash now lives in Loma, Colorado, where he and his wife raise horses, cattle and hay.

When he’s not horseback on the mountain with his cattle, Terry can be found at various Cowboy Poetry Gatherings throughout the west reciting his original poems and many classics.

He has recorded two CD’s of Cowboy Poetry, “Calf Pullin’ Made Simple” and “December Stragglers.”

Terry Nash was a top five finalist for the Western Music Association “Male Cowboy Poet of the Year” in 2013 and again in 2014.


Tony Norris

Flagstaff, Arizona


Tony Norris grew up playing in the ruts of the Butterfield Stage Line. He has followed a lifelong love of Western history and culture. Currently he lives in Flagstaff, Arizona where he is in demand as a storyteller, songster and cowboy historian. Young and old alike are captivated by his homespun charm and rich tenor voice. With the accompaniment of his big Martin guitar and healthy doses of humor, he invites the adventurous spirit in each of us to leave the everyday world behind and journey into the old West. He served on staff for ten years at The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. He was co-founder of Riding The Rim: The Flagstaff Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

He created and hosted for five years the award winning radio show on KAFF 92.5 FM about cowboy culture- Under Western Skies and he served Northern Arizona University as their Folklorist-in-Residence. There, Tony brings to life the Appalachian, cowboy, and indigenous cultures of the Southwest. His commentaries have appeared on National Public Radio and his Letter From Home columns are regularly featured in Flagstaff Live Magazine. He has just released his seventh CD: Open Heart.



Notable Exceptions

Ellensburg, WA

Notable Exceptions is an eclectic acoustic duo, whose music kindles an earthy feel and a sweet yet spunky sound.  From house concerts to concert halls, each performance is a potpourri of Americana, Folk, Western, and novelty tunes.  Judy Coder and Jennifer Epps are known in the world of western music for their finely crafted vocal harmony.  Judy's tasteful rhythm guitar is right on the button; Jennifer sweetens the sound with tidbits of harmonica, various rhythm instruments, flutes and whistles.  The result is fun, fresh, bold Americana.  

In 2014 Judy joined Jennifer (and founding member, Lauralee Northcott) in Horse Crazy Cowgirl Band; the duo formed shortly afterward, and current performance tours are often a combination of duo and trio appearances.

Notable Exceptions is the 2015 WMA Harmony Duo of the Year.  Their debut CD, "New Day", was released in October of 2015.   For tour dates and related links, visit



Sierra Vista, AZ
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The Outriders are a Western Music group who tell stories of the old and new West, the life and calamities of the rancher and the cowboy. They weave and blend their musical renditions with exquisite harmony and instrumental balance.

Bill Cassidy, Steve Conroy and Tina Riehle blend their voices into a musical tapestry while Glen Lazore adds the beauty of rhythm guitar and Jim Riehle weaves in the sparkle of the mandolin. Their songs are of a time when a man’s word was his bond, when cowboys choked on the dust and sang to the herd in the night, when the coffee was boiled hot, and beans were always on the fire. Steve rode with B-Troop/4th Cavalry at Ft Huachuca for 3 years and helped work cattle at several ranches. Jim and Tina own horses and enjoy working and training them. Bill Cassidy, lead guitarist, has his own inimitable style and has played with a number of bands around the country. Come enjoy the music (and perhaps a little verse) and be ready to laugh hard and perhaps shed a tear, reminisce, and take in the sounds of life on the range.



OK Chorale

Phoenix, AZ

Dedicated to the preservation of the history of the old west, the OK Chorale combines its colorful stories with the music of the Silver Screen Cowboys, all designed to take you on a unique journey back in time.

Bass Singer/Bass Guitar Player – Jud (Jingl’n Jud) Schandel, Tenor Singer/Guitar Player - Tony (Tumbleweed Tony) Pistilli, and Lead Singer/Harmonica player – Allen (Yodel’n Al) Fossenkemper have treated audiences with their tight harmonies for more than 400 shows since forming in 2001. Working closely with historians to insure accuracy, they cleverly weave the old west history with the music of such greats as Gene, Roy, Rex and Marty. As performers, story tellers and song writers, The OK Chorale are certain to be a group you won’t forget so don’t miss them.

True West Magazine Owner and Editor, Bob Boze Bell says: - “The OK Chorale’s approach to Old West History is truly unique.”


Ann Sochet

Canutillo, Texas
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A storyteller in rhyme, Ann Sochat won the Will Rogers Award as Best Female Cowboy Poetry Performer from the Academy of Western Artists. Ann hails from Canutillo, Texas, and has served as president of the Texas Cowboy Poets Association. She has been a featured performer at cowboy symposiums and gatherings throughout the West.

The granddaughter of a cowboy and ranch foreman, she is a published author who has spent the last years interviewing cowboys, young and old, and doing research, much of it on horseback, on aspects of cowboy life. Her original poetry, traditional in style, is tinged with humor, sadness, and always respect for the men and women who settled the West and are still found ranching it today. Known for her entertaining style of delivery, her poetry has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. Her book of original poetry Cowhide n' Calico is definitely a keeper!



Gail Starr

Carefree, AZ
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Photo and Info Soon!


John Voishan

Sierra Vista, AZ
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The Tenderfoot. A pilot, a poet and now a participant. I have been a poet for quite some time with much of my inspirations coming from travels around the world as an airline pilot for 39 years.

While living in Southeast Arizona in retirement, I was introduced to the Cochise Cowboy Poetry

and Music Gathering. What talents I have observed. And they were all having fun. A presentation at Durango and a few visits on stage at the Arizona Folklore Preserve and here I am! Writing some Cowboy Poetry and reciting others. Still enjoying the view from on high from a motor-glider flying the mountain wave over the Huachuca Mountains.



Way Out West

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Photo and Info Soon!


Wash Tub Jerry

Fort Davis, Texas

Self taught, Washtub Jerry began ukulele in college and later began designing, building, and playing washtub bass. Jerry regularly performs with many groups, which has led to many recordings and CDs. A sought after sideman, he has backed Yakov Smirinoff, Riders in the Sky, Patsy Montana, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Peter Yarrow, Charmaine Neville, Santiago Jimenez Jr., and Johnny Gimble to name a few. He was a featured soloist with the Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra, and participated in cultural exchange tours in Russia, Ireland, and Germany.  Jerry’s conservative playing style and extra low notes greatly enhance the lead musician’s performance.

Washtub Jerry was voted 1999 Instrumentalist of the Year by the Western Music Association and received an American Cowboy Culture Award in 2013.

Take a look at the four books Jerry has authored and published.



Jim Wilson

Alpine, TX

“My music is for people who live on gravel roads, and the ones who have always wanted to.”

“Cowboy music is a great way to keep in touch with our traditions, and reaffirm our freedom as western people.”

Jim Wilson was born in Austin, Texas and raised in San Antonio. For nearly 30 years, he served as a Texas Peace Officer in Denton and Crockett Counties. In 1988, he was elected Sheriff of Crockett County (Ozona), Texas, and until1996.

Wilson began playing folk and country music in the 60s at Texas Christian University. His earliest recollections are his father singing cowboy songs like Leaving Cheyenne and Streets of Laredo. Wilson returned to his musical roots in the 80s.

Jim’s 2002 Border Bravo received the 2003 WMA award for Best Traditional Album. It is a collection of original and classic cowboy songs and border ballads that focus on the American Southwest and the changing frontier.

Jim performs at country wide at music festivals, house and ranch concerts. He supports the WMA and has served on the board for and as an officer for several years.