Cowboy Jam Session: Western Culture News & Reviews | TSLN.com

Cowboy Jam Session: Western Culture News & Reviews

Jeri L. Dobrowski

It’s spring on the Northern Great Plains, the time when a rancher’s fancy turns lightly to thoughts of calving. Among cowboy poets, spring also brings Cowboy Poetry Week, observed this year from April 20-26. The inauguration of Cowboy Poetry Week came in 2002, building upon April’s designation as National Poetry Month in 1996.

Released in conjunction with Cowboy Poetry Week, is an audio anthology showcasing 26 cowboy poetry recordings. The compilation was conceived and orchestrated by the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry. The Center sponsors CowboyPoetry.com, the world’s largest, ongoing cowboy poetry gathering.

If you’re a regular follower of this column, you are likely aware of (www.cowboypoetry.com/cowboyjam.htm#april06) and (www.cowboypoetry.com/cowboyjam.htm#April07). Both received critical acclaim. I expect the same will prove true of .

This year’s collection takes listeners across the breadth of the North American West: from the days of the early Texas cowboy to the Yukon gold rush, from once-legendary cattle ranches to modest, modern-day family outfits. In large part, the collection is a reverent retrospective honoring those who toiled in the West. A sprinkling of humorous selections provides just the right amount of comic relief.

Joel Nelson opens with “Shadow on the Cutbank,” a salute to the “horseback man for hire.” Jay Snider recites Luther A. Lawhon’s “The Good Old Cowboy Days.” Lawhon was a founding member of the Trail Drivers’ Association in 1915. D.J. O’Malley’s classic “The ‘D2’ Horse Wrangler” receives a playful presentation by Ross Knox.

Aspiring cowboys could learn a lot from Wyoming cowboy and octogenarian Georgie Sicking as she recounts what it takes “To be a Top Hand.” You get more “Advice” from Deanna Dickinson McCall.

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Wallace “Wally” McRae, National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow, contributes “Urban Daughter,” a touching piece recorded live in Elko, NV, at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Henry H. Knibbs’ classic, “Where the Ponies Come to Drink,” gets the star treatment from noted Montana reciter Randy Rieman. This is as close to perfection as you’ll get when pairing a classic poem with a contemporary reciter.

DW Groethe, a Montana day hand, calls an endearing roll of horses in “My Father’s Horses.” South Dakotan Ken Cook comes clean about his family’s horseflesh in his spot-on-the-money “Bloodlines.”

“The Memories in Grandmother’s Trunk” by past Texas Poet Laureate Red Steagall should inspire us to leave such a treasure for future generations. South Dakota master quilter and poet Yvonne Hollenbeck showcases her dual talents in “Prairie Patchwork,” a tribute to one woman’s “life out on the plains.” “Fiddleback Headquarters” by Wyoming’s Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns is part family history and part guided tour.

Jerry Brooks recorded Badger Clark’s “The Free Wind” especially for this project. Following on her heels is “Jack Potter’s Courtin'” by S. Omar Barker. Recited by Mick Vernon, it is a delightful rendition of the tongue-tied puncher trying to purpose to his gal.

Others appearing on the collection are Doris Daley, Pat Richardson, Andy Nelson, Paul Kern, Bill Siems, Paul Zarzyski, Buck Ramsey, Smoke Wade, Susan Parker, Hal Swift, and Linda Kirkpatrick.

The final cut – and it’s a dandy – is a 1948 recording of Robert Service reciting “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” Service lavishes more than nine minutes on the tale, infused with a hearty Scottish accent and lengthy pauses. Kudos to the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry for making it available to the public!

A radio Public Service Announcement by South Dakota radio personality and Heritage of the American West producer Francie Ganje brings the collection to a wrap. Wyoming cowboy entertainer Andy Nelson engineered and co-produced Volume Three. A vintage photo of Texas cowboy Perry Preston Dickinson, circa 1912, appears on the cover. Deanna Dickinson McCall, who recites “Advice” is his granddaughter.

sells for $20 postpaid. Order from CowboyPoetry.com, PO Box 330444, San Francisco, CA 94133; or by credit card or Paypal from CowboyPoetry.com.

If you don’t already have the two previous compilations, I encourage you to complete your set now, while the others are still available. and are available for a special price of $35 postpaid. (quantities limited) sells for $20 postpaid.

It’s spring on the Northern Great Plains, the time when a rancher’s fancy turns lightly to thoughts of calving. Among cowboy poets, spring also brings Cowboy Poetry Week, observed this year from April 20-26. The inauguration of Cowboy Poetry Week came in 2002, building upon April’s designation as National Poetry Month in 1996.

Released in conjunction with Cowboy Poetry Week, is an audio anthology showcasing 26 cowboy poetry recordings. The compilation was conceived and orchestrated by the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry. The Center sponsors CowboyPoetry.com, the world’s largest, ongoing cowboy poetry gathering.

If you’re a regular follower of this column, you are likely aware of (www.cowboypoetry.com/cowboyjam.htm#april06) and (www.cowboypoetry.com/cowboyjam.htm#April07). Both received critical acclaim. I expect the same will prove true of .

This year’s collection takes listeners across the breadth of the North American West: from the days of the early Texas cowboy to the Yukon gold rush, from once-legendary cattle ranches to modest, modern-day family outfits. In large part, the collection is a reverent retrospective honoring those who toiled in the West. A sprinkling of humorous selections provides just the right amount of comic relief.

Joel Nelson opens with “Shadow on the Cutbank,” a salute to the “horseback man for hire.” Jay Snider recites Luther A. Lawhon’s “The Good Old Cowboy Days.” Lawhon was a founding member of the Trail Drivers’ Association in 1915. D.J. O’Malley’s classic “The ‘D2’ Horse Wrangler” receives a playful presentation by Ross Knox.

Aspiring cowboys could learn a lot from Wyoming cowboy and octogenarian Georgie Sicking as she recounts what it takes “To be a Top Hand.” You get more “Advice” from Deanna Dickinson McCall.

Wallace “Wally” McRae, National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow, contributes “Urban Daughter,” a touching piece recorded live in Elko, NV, at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Henry H. Knibbs’ classic, “Where the Ponies Come to Drink,” gets the star treatment from noted Montana reciter Randy Rieman. This is as close to perfection as you’ll get when pairing a classic poem with a contemporary reciter.

DW Groethe, a Montana day hand, calls an endearing roll of horses in “My Father’s Horses.” South Dakotan Ken Cook comes clean about his family’s horseflesh in his spot-on-the-money “Bloodlines.”

“The Memories in Grandmother’s Trunk” by past Texas Poet Laureate Red Steagall should inspire us to leave such a treasure for future generations. South Dakota master quilter and poet Yvonne Hollenbeck showcases her dual talents in “Prairie Patchwork,” a tribute to one woman’s “life out on the plains.” “Fiddleback Headquarters” by Wyoming’s Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns is part family history and part guided tour.

Jerry Brooks recorded Badger Clark’s “The Free Wind” especially for this project. Following on her heels is “Jack Potter’s Courtin'” by S. Omar Barker. Recited by Mick Vernon, it is a delightful rendition of the tongue-tied puncher trying to purpose to his gal.

Others appearing on the collection are Doris Daley, Pat Richardson, Andy Nelson, Paul Kern, Bill Siems, Paul Zarzyski, Buck Ramsey, Smoke Wade, Susan Parker, Hal Swift, and Linda Kirkpatrick.

The final cut – and it’s a dandy – is a 1948 recording of Robert Service reciting “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” Service lavishes more than nine minutes on the tale, infused with a hearty Scottish accent and lengthy pauses. Kudos to the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry for making it available to the public!

A radio Public Service Announcement by South Dakota radio personality and Heritage of the American West producer Francie Ganje brings the collection to a wrap. Wyoming cowboy entertainer Andy Nelson engineered and co-produced Volume Three. A vintage photo of Texas cowboy Perry Preston Dickinson, circa 1912, appears on the cover. Deanna Dickinson McCall, who recites “Advice” is his granddaughter.

sells for $20 postpaid. Order from CowboyPoetry.com, PO Box 330444, San Francisco, CA 94133; or by credit card or Paypal from CowboyPoetry.com.

If you don’t already have the two previous compilations, I encourage you to complete your set now, while the others are still available. and are available for a special price of $35 postpaid. (quantities limited) sells for $20 postpaid.