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Call of the West
Exquisite harmonies, top-notch musicianship and on-stage fun add spice to lively tunes, pop standards from legendary stars such as Rosemary Clooney, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Anne Murray, The Ink Spots, and Santo & Johnny, to name a few. They may throw in a classic country number, sprinkle in a little cowboy poetry, and add humor as needed. They might play a western swing favorite, and will always include their original music - a diverse offering of instrumentals and songs covering a variety of topics. Besides both singing lead and harmony vocals, they possess formidable instrumental skills. Performing together since 1989, they play a variety of instruments, including: 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. She was also 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. For more info check out http://www.jeanneandjerome.com/
Dakota City, Nebraska
Marci Broyhill, Prairie Poet and Storyteller, was raised in the hills along Highway 12, Nebraska’s rugged Outlaw Trail. Marci writes from her rural experiences growing up on the Cedar-Dixon County Line. She enjoys researching and writing about people and historic events of Nebraska. Deep agricultural roots tap a reservoir of material for Marci's pen and presentations. Marci researches the men and the women who lived and traveled the trails west of the Missouri River. She marvels at the determination and courage; honoring their efforts by giving them a voice through verse and story.
Marci's performances also address nature, dilemmas in society, the joys and challenges of family life. Her topics tug at the heartstrings of the audience, rekindling memories. Since people are more alike than diverse, Marci's material appeals across the landscape. Her expressive delivery draws the audience into shared experiences, generating reflection and laughter. Marci invites others to look back through their windows of time. Each personal view is unique revealing bygone moments of humor, tenderness, and courage.
Marci has recorded two CDs, Window of Memories and Mending Fences. Marci and her husband, Kent, currently live along the Missouri River in Dakota City, Nebraska.
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 as a young man. Started breaking colts and training horses as a teenager and began competing 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 voice is pleasant and easy to listen to while he draws you into the story and cause you to see the picture in your mind as if you were there.
Janice Deardorff is an Arizona native. “I’ve always loved the old cowboy songs we sing around the campfire.” Being true to her roots, she sings songs she was raised on and songs inspired by her western adventures. On Janice’s CD "Just a Horse", she shares her love for horses, rescue horses and the west.
Janice has been doing music most of her life, as an entertainer, educator and worship leader. Janice got immersed in western music when she started singing at cowboy cook-outs to barter for horseback riding. Now, from ranches to restaurants, from schools to equine therapy, horse training, rescue horse events and a variety of other venues, Janice’s warm and captivating presence draws her audience into a memorable musical experience, as Janice and her husband travel the Southwest.
Miss Devon and the Outlaw
Fort Worth, Texas
From Fort Worth, Texas, as the recipient of the 2013 ‘New Horizon’ Wrangler Award, the current Western Music Association ‘Duo/Group of the Year’, and two-time winners of the WMA Harmony Duo competition, Miss Devon & the Outlaw could be stirrin' up the most dust between here and the chuckwagon camp.
Miss Devon, Academy of Western Artists ‘Western Music Female Performer of the Year’ is noted for her vintage 'sock-rhythm' guitar style, warm 'swingtime cowgirl' vocals, and lively persona, engaging kids and adults in her audience with a style perfectly suited to her ‘secret’ persona as the singing voice of Toy Story 2’s “Jessie” on the Grammy-winning Disney CD "Woody's Roundup featuring Riders in the Sky'. She has made appearances at Pixar Studios,the renowned Grand Old Opry in Nashville, done shows with Radio Disney, Riders In the Sky, Michael Martin Murphey, The Texas Playboys, and is frequently seen on Starz-Encore's "Western Channel", and RFD-TV.
When Outlaw Jessie Del joins Miss Devon on the stage, things get more fun than puttin' socks on a rooster. According to witnesses, this western gent is the duo’s rowdier half, getting his nickname, as Miss Devon says, "Because it's plumb illegal what he does with Milk Cow Blues!
Like all outlaws, Jessie has been known to disappear into at least a dozen alias personalities, including his new acting role as the bartender, Jessie Banks, on Bob Terry’s original western webseries, SUNDOWN Western Webisode series, seen at www.sundownwestern.com so watch him close! With fine classic western tenor-to baritone vocals, and a LOT of charm, this rascal just might make a clean getaway with yer funny bone.
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 travelling 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 has been writing her own poems and songs, while homesteading in the hill country outside Austin. Her latest release, "The Call of the West", showcases her wry wit and and some of her finest original and traditional repertoire.
Larry Harmer is a historian, storyteller, lecturer, and writer. He is a performer of cowboy poetry and purveyor of tall tales. Larry’s radio friendly voice and expertise has been shared with audiences at historical events for over 25 years. Larry's interests include early American History and the history of the West and Arizona. His enthusiasm for the West and the preservation of its lifestyle is infectious. It’s been 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 multiple appearances in Arizona, such as at 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, not only in the mastery of his craft, but also in his commitment to the western lifestyle. His CD "There's a Poem in There … Somewhere" contains many 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.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Kerry 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 packed a guitar into Yellowstone National Park to entertain riders on backcountry trail rides, and he performed a concert on the parking lot of the Sands Motel on old Route 66 in Grants NM, where the owner put his name on the door of Room 104. In 2010, 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 has a song on the 2012 children’s album “Cowboy Playground,” from Putumayo World Music. His songs have been recorded by western artists The Texas Trailhands, Duke Davis, Trails & Rails, Earl Gleason, Ed Stabler, and Gary Prescott. Kerry Grombacher is a member of the WMA and the North American Folk Alliance, and he endorses Elixir Guitar & Mandolin Strings and TKL Guitar & Mandolin Cases.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jim Jones tells it like it was, is and will be in the great American West. Native Texan, student of the West, he lives, sings and writes about cowboys, horses, cattle rustlers and such but he knows there’s more to the story…how the coming of the train changed the West, how critical water is for survival. Jim’s songwriting, guitar-picking and unique vocal style keeps him in demand on the Western music circuit and at house concerts, coffeehouses, schools and libraries throughout the country. His award-winning Western historical fiction novels are set in northern New Mexico, “loosely based in fact…basically, a pack of lies I made up.” They have educated, informed and entertained readers around the world. With seven Western albums and two Western novels under his belt, he is currently working on his eighth Western Americana album and the third novel in his Jared Delaney trilogy. Emily Drabanski, New Mexico Magazine, says “Jim … loves to tell modern-day stories about the ‘cowboy way’ through his songs. In Still Ridin’, he has released another gem. Jones was named 2008 Western Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists and the honor is well-deserved. You’ll appreciate his earnest Western tunes and his warm and commanding voice.”
Jo Lynne Kirkwood, who grew up in the high desert country of southern Utah and northern Arizona, now lives with her husband, Mike, on their farm in Sevier County. Her poetry reflects memories and lessons learned from her years growing up on the Arizona Strip, and from the day to day events of rural life in central Utah. Jo’s words have received numerous awards and have been published in American Cowboy Magazine and in I.M. Cowgirl, and in many on-line publications and elsewhere. Of her poetry collection, Old Stories, The Editor of cowboypoetry.com, Margo Metegrano, writes “With her rare talent, she builds quiet yet captivating poems. Strong underlying structures give way to masterful expressions and explorations of place and character.”
Jo Lynne draws you deeply into the stories with their complexity of humor, longing, truth, pain, warmth, beauty, plain talk, hope, the bittersweet, and more…” Jo Lynne has been a Lariat Laureate on CowboyPoetry.com, and has been named Female Poet of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists.
Carolyn is a Texas born, Nashville based swing singer and member of the Texas Western Swing Hall Of Fame. She was the recipient of the Academy of Western Artists’ Will Rogers award as the Western Swing Female Vocalist of the Year in 2008, 2010, and 2014. The estern Music Association named Carolyn’s “Cookin’ With Carolyn” CD the Western Swing Album of the Year . Carolyn’s “Tennessee Local” CD topped the Western Swing charts for 6 months and was in the Top 10 Western Swing Albums for more than a year after its release. Carolyn’s composition “Swing On” (from “Tennessee Local””, was named by the Swingin’ West radio show as 2013’s Western Swing Song of the Year. In addition to these awards, the Cowtown Society of Western Swing has named Carolyn a “Hero of Western Swing” and the Northwest Western Swing Music Society inducted Carolyn into their Hall Of Fame in 2014. Her recent appearance on Larry’s Country Diner (on the RFD network) has allowed Carolyn to introduce western swing to a large group of country music fans.
Western Swing as "Big band jazz, with fiddle and steel instead of trumpets and saxes". Western Swing is a style of music that was born in Texas, matured in Oklahoma during the 1930s and California during the war years and became popular throughout the United States in the 1950's. It's an amalgamation of the music of the era - big band swing, blues, Dixieland and the popular songs of the 20's, 30's and 40's combined with the ethnic styles of Mexican, Czech, German and Appalachian music.
Carolyn’s latest CD, “A Platter Of Brownies: The Music of Milton Brown” pays homage to the Father of Western Swing, Milton Brown. Brown, along with his band the Musical Brownies, was a seminal figure in the development of what we now know as western swing.
Clarksburg, West Virginia
Carol Markstrom is a Western singer/songwriter who divides her time between Arizona and West Virginia performing in both sides of the country. Carol takes inspiration from remarkable people, places, and events and she loves to tell stories through her music. She hikes and explores remote trails and back roads and along the way finds sources of inspiration for her songs.
In addition to her music endeavors, Carol is a Professor at West Virginia and writes non-fiction articles and books about American Indian history and culture with this knowledge serving as inspiration for creative songwriting endeavors. She is also a children's author having released a book in 2014 called Dance of the Desert through Tate Publishing. This book includes Carol's recorded song that she wrote for the 2013 Cochise Gathering and performed for children at a local school! Carol’s first CD, Vision Across the Range, was released in 2012 and has garnered some favorable reviews. She is currently writing and recording songs for her next CD with an expected release of Fall 2014. Carol is a member of the Western Music Association (WMA), Secretary of the East Coast Chapter of WMA, a member of the Academy of Western Artists, and a member of the Western Writers of America.
Martin's Cove, Wyoming
Trinity Seely's life has taken her to many places- from the cattle country of British Columbia, Canada, to the beautiful Ojai Valley of California, to the majestic peaks of Utah's Wasatch front, and finally to the high desert plains of Wyoming where a vast sea of sagebrush and granite peaks have stolen her heart. Each place that she has called home has embedded in her a deep love for the Cowboy, Western, and Buckaroo lifestyle.
She and her family currently reside and work the Handcart Ranch in Wyoming. Trinity's look into the life of a ranch wife gives her a deep perspective and appreciation into a lifestyle of a bygone era.
Trinity released her debut album back in 2011. Produced by fellow western artists, Brenn Hill and Ryan Tilby. Trinity’s self titled CD received outstanding reviews and write ups in the Western Horseman, Ranch and Reata, Cowgirls in Style, Working Ranch Magazine and True West. She was named one of True West's favorite western artist for 2012. She was nominated for the Western Music Association Crescendo Award for 2012 and 2013 and for the 2012 Academy of Western Artists Female Western Singer and Western Album of the year.
Trinity's well received, second CD, "Old Poly Rope" was released in 2013. The title track was nominated for the Western Writers of America Wrangler Award. She performed at the 2014 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV.
In "He Rides for the Brand" Trinity shares what it is about the cowboy life that gets us by the heartstrings so we never want to leave. "A lot of people sing from the heart, Trinity sings with her heart.”
Western Way’s Rick Huff says, “Trinity grew up in the genuine western life and tradition, so she knows whereof she sings…and writes…and does both very well.”
Dale Page was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. While attending Oklahoma State University, he worked as a horseshoer, bull rider, stable manager, dude wrangler, and on the movie set of “The Cheyenne Social Club.” Page majored in English, but after graduation in 1970, worked as the farm and ranch reporter for the Amarillo Globe News.
Combining his learned appreciation of poetry with his experiences riding and packing in the Rocky Mountains, he began writing cowboy poetry in the mid 1970’s. He writes mostly narrative poems and inserts both real and fictional characters into plots taken from actual experiences.
Page was named Best Performer event in 2008 at the Oklahoma Cowboy Poetry and Songs in Stillwater. In 2010, he won First Place in serious poetry, Rising Star Division, at the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in Montrose, CO.
He has performed at trail rides, charity events, private parties, church classes, cowboy church services, Friends of the Library, public schools, and the Indiana State Museum. In addition, he has performed in cowboy poetry gatherings in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, and Montana.”
“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 is a native Texas who was born in Austin 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 served in that capacity until his retirement from law enforcement in 1996.
Wilson began playing folk and country music while he attended Texas Christian University, in the 1960s. However, his earliest musical recollections were of his father singing the old cowboy songs, such as “Leaving Cheyenne” and “Streets of Laredo.” With the emergence of contemporary cowboy music, in the 1980s, Wilson naturally returned to his musical roots.
In May of 2002, Jim Wilson released his first album, BORDER BRAVO. Recorded in Lubbock, Texas, and produced by Andy Wilkinson, BORDER BRAVO is a collection of cowboy songs and border ballads that focus on the American Southwest and the changing frontier. Wilson co-wrote three of the album’s songs, and carefully selected the rest to tell some tales of the border country, on of the last frontiers. In November, 2003, BORDER BRAVO received the award for “Best Traditional Album” from the Western Music Association.
Jim Wilson performs across the country at western music festivals, house concerts, and ranch barbecues. He is an active supporter of the Western Music Association and has served on the board for several years, holding the position of vice-president when his term expired in 2003.
West Linn, Oregon
Keeter Stuart comes by his skill at singing and writing songs naturally; It’s in his blood. His great-uncle, Stan Jones, was one of the finest songwriters of Western music to ever ride down the trail. His most popular song, “Ghost Riders in the Sky”, became one of the most enduring and memorable American ballads of all time.
Keeter was born in Woodland, California, just west of Sacramento. He has lived and worked in Oregon, California, Arizona and Mexico most of his life. He began to play music professionally at the age of sixteen while living in Tahiti. After returning to the U.S., Keeter continued to play and sing wherever folks were willing to listen. Over the years, he has opened shows for Emmylou Harris, Doc Watson, and Asleep at the Wheel. He has worked as a ranch hand, general contractor, and vineyard foreman.
His most recent CD, “Ghost Riders, Searchers & Cowpokes”, is a tribute to his Uncle Stan. All of the songs were written by Stan Jones, and sung by Keeter. This album is generating a lot of excitement in the Western music community.
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, 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.