Cowboy Jam Session: Western Culture News & Reviews |

Cowboy Jam Session: Western Culture News & Reviews

from the Sonora region of northern Mexico and the western United States will be spotlighted at the 2008 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. Invited guests will share examples of their customs and traditions honoring land and livestock. The humanities lecture by folklorist Norma Elia Cantu, University of Texas at San Antonio, will address the connection between the and the American cowboy in work, traditions, poetry and literature.

Started in 1985 by a handful of folklorists, poets and musicians, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is produced annually by the Western Folklife Center. The Center describes the event as “the premiere festival celebrating the expressive arts of ranching and cowboy culture.”

My Northern Great Plains heart swells with pride when I read the names of artists from the region who have been invited to perform in Elko later this month. The doors for the first show open Saturday, January 26, with the last curtain closing on Saturday evening, February 2. In between are workshops, ranch tours, museum displays, daytime sessions, ticketed concerts, and dances.

Among those packing their bags for the trip are poets and singers, perennial favorites, and those making their first appearance. Colorado is represented on all four accounts by the Sons and Brothers Band – Frank Wolking and sons Mike, Joe, and Aaron – from Westcliffe, and Vess Quinlan, Alamosa.

Wyoming is home to four featured poets: Echo Roy Klaproth, Shoshone; Andy Nelson, Pinedale; Georgie Sicking, Kaycee; and Jesse Smith, Cora. The musical duo of Vince Crofts and Mindi Reid, better known as Tumbleweeds, hail from Firth.

Clearfield ranchwife Yvonne Hollenbeck is the lone artist invited from South Dakota. North Dakota is represented by Rodney Nelson, Sims, and Bill Lowman, Sentinel Butte. To the east, from across the Red River of the north, comes Diane Tribitt, Hillman, Minnesota.

Montana could charter a bus for the artists and family members coming from Big Sky Country: Stephanie Davis, Columbus; DW Groethe, Bainville; Mike Logan, Helena; Wallace McRae, Forsyth; New Frontier comprised of Ron Kane, Meghan Merker, and Linda Svendsen, Dillon; Bob Petermann, Wibaux; Henry Real Bird, Hardin; Randy Rieman, Dillon; Sandy Seaton, Emigrant; and Paul Zarzyski, Great Falls. Back by popular demand for the Saturday night dance is Montana native Wylie Gustafson, who fronts Wylie & The Wild West. Although he now lives in Washington state, he maintains family ties to Montana, which proudly claims him as one of their own.

Representing the Plains of Canada with her eloquent and entertaining poetry is Doris Daley, Calgary, Alberta. Also hailing from Alberta is music legend Ian Tyson.

For a complete listing of invited artists, along with photos and brief biographies, visit the Western Folklife Center’s site: Contact the Western Folklife Center at 501 Railroad Street, Elko, Nevada 89801; (775) 738-7508; email:

If you can’t make the trip to Elko to hear these artists in person, there is an alternative. Nearly all of them have recordings. Here’s a sampling of CDs released in 2007 by those mentioned above:

, by National Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee Georgie Sicking, contains 16 poems. Send $18 to Georgie Sicking, PO Box 11, Kaycee, WY 82639. For more information on Georgie, see her honored guest page:

From clear out west comes Andy Nelson’s , with 25 poems and bits of wacky wisdom. Send $18 to Andy Nelson, PO Box 1547, Pinedale, WY 82941; email:

Bob Petermann’s long-awaited gospel collection contains 12 songs. sells for $15. Send orders to Bob Petermann, 942 Pine Unit Road, Wibaux, MT 59353; 406-486-5618; email:

Yvonne Hollenbeck teamed up with Texas singer and songwriter Jean Prescott on . The CD contains 15 tracks of poetry and music. Send $18.50 to Yvonne Hollenbeck, 30549 291st Street, Clearfield, SD 57580; 605/557-3559;

is the title of Sandy Seaton’s 13-track collection of poetry and vocals. Order for $17 from Sandy Seaton; PO Box 117, Emigrant, MT 59027; (406) 222-7455; email:

Diane Tribitt’s latest is entitled . Included are 15 poems and one song. Send $18 to Diane Tribitt, 38034 193rd Street, Hillman, MN 56338; 320-277-3389;


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