January 30 - February 4, 2017
Mike Beck - Monterey, CA
Mike Beck is a professional musician and working cowboy whose songs reflect his experiences in California, Montana and Nevada. Born and raised in Monterey County, California, he was a student of legendary horseman Bill Dorrance and now travels extensively in the U.S. and Europe, making music and conducting horsemanship clinics. Known for his guitar wizardry and western songwriting, Mike’s mellow sound combines real cowboy experience with a unique blend of western, rock and Americana styles. Two of his songs--In Old California and Don’t Tell Me--were listed in Western Horseman’s “13 Best Cowboy Songs of All Time.” http://www.mikebeck.com
Luke Bell - Cody, WY
Luke Bell grew up in Wyoming and was never crazy about school or being organized into things in general. He spent the summers on his grandparent’s ranch working from age 13 or so -- lots of hot days, Randy Travis tapes, and old pick-up trucks with broken door handles. Luke went to college at the University of Wyoming, still not crazy about school. After a couple of semesters he started playing at the Buckhorn Bar with the folk crowd. He got a little band going for a while, dropped out of school, and moved to Austin to play music. Luke ended up back in Wyoming with a stray pit-bull doing ranch work for a while and writing songs for a second record. Now he’s living in Nashville making music -- you’ll most likely catch him at Santa’s bar down of Bransford playing Honkey-Tonk songs with Santa’s Ice-Cold Pickers on Sunday Nights from 7-9. Luke takes it all one day at a time. He likes work, cowboy culture, just plain good songs, honky-tonks, New Orleans R&B, his dog and his 95 Buick LeSabre. http://www.lukebellmusic.com/
Cowboy Celtic -Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada
Hard to believe, but Ireland, Scotland and Wales had working cowboys long before North America was, well, North America. When those buckaroos from across the pond headed this way looking for greener pastures, they brought their music along and unknowingly gave their newfound cowboy friends a wonderful gift - templates for the soundtrack of the Old West. And it took Canadian band, Cowboy Celtic, to really figure that out. David Wilkie and his group have spent years exploring this connection and crafting their arrangements of traditional and original compositions to reflect the bond between chaps and tartan. Beautiful vocal harmonies backed by guitar (Denise Withnell), mandolin (David Wilkie), fiddle (Joseph Hertz), Celtic harp (Keri Lynn Zwicker) and bodhran, or Irish drum (Nathan McCavana), will take you from the rolling hills of Ireland to the dusty trails of Texas and many places in between. As David says, "We don't play traditional cowboy music and we don't play traditional Celtic music. We play the kind of music that you'd have heard if you pushed back the swingin' doors at an Irish pub in Tombstone or Dodge City." Plus, they wear some really cool hats. http://www.somagency.com/cowboy-celtic/
Don Edwards - Hico, TX
Don Edwards is a GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter, well versed in cowboy lore and musical traditions, which gives tremendous depth to his performances. A member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Don celebrates over 50 years as a musician and performer. He has been influenced by a wide cross-section of American music and has recorded numerous award-winning albums of original and traditional songs that express the realities and romance of cowboy life. His most recent album is Just Me and My Guitar. Don is one of the great cowboy troubadours. http://www.somagency.com/don-edwards/ or
Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Marshall, CA
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, chose the cowboy way at the age of 14, trading life at home for one on the rodeo circuit. By age 20, Elliott’s rough-edged enthusiasm and musical instinct drew the attention of his avowed idol, Woody Guthrie, initiating a close, invaluable and lifelong association. He was also a good friend of Johnny Cash. Ramblin’ Jack became a latter-day troubadour, whose love for a good song is equaled only by an abiding respect for his fellow man and a profound contempt for injustice. Along the way, he inspired several generations including a young Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. This National Medal of Arts recipient and two-time GRAMMY winner is a truly unique American treasure.
Dom Flemons & Brian Farrow - Hillsborough, NC
Dom Flemons, “American Songster,” sings and plays banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum and quills. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Dom was a major producer and performer in the Arizona folk music scene, as well as a slam poet and founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a North Carolina-based GRAMMY-winning African-American string band. Dom focuses on music rooted in history, but with a contemporary approach, creating old-time folk music with a new sound. In July 2014, Dom released his third solo record, Prospect Hill, an informed and invigorated take on ragtime, spirituals, jug band music, Piedmont blues, fife and drum music, country music and ballads. He is joined by his duo partner, Brian Farrow. https://theamericansongster.com/
DW Groethe - Bainville, MT
DW Groethe is the son of pioneers. He was born and raised in the west of Dakota and has lived the past twenty five plus years across the border in Montana. It is the same land...same folks...same weather...same heartbeat. The lyrics may change but the rhythm stays true. He is a ranch hand, he is a poet, he is a songster. His songs and his poems sing of who he is and where he comes from. When you’re in Elko, feel free to stop DW any old time and ask him whatever needs asking. Coffee's on him.
Kristyn Harris - McKinney, TX
Kristyn Harris, of Collin County, Texas, is noted for her shimmering vocals, swing rhythm guitar style, unique songwriting, award-winning yodel, and captivating stage presence. Her singing has been praised as "timeless” with “the warmth and power of Texas sunshine.” The now 22-year-old started playing and singing when she was 14, drawn to songs of the Western lifestyle because of her passion for the land and livestock. Along with horsemanship, she has ventured into the cattle business via a small herd of black angus, and these facets of her life commonly seep their way into her songs and shows. Her musical style finds heavy inspiration from the vintage arrangements, captivating chord structures and uplifting melodies that cornerstone the Western swing genre. Kristyn’s love of what she does is evident and contagious. As one venue put it: "This bundle of energy and talent is 'the rage' on stage... and if you can stay seated when she finishes her performance you're prob'ly 'bout ready for the grave!!" http://www.kristynharris.com/
Andy Hedges - Lubbock, TX
Andy Hedges is a songster, reciter and guitarist. His varied repertoire includes classic cowboy recitations, obscure cowboy songs, dust bowl ballads, and blues. Andy taught himself to play the guitar when he was 14 and began collecting classic cowboy poems and traditional cowboy songs. He has released nine albums including four joint projects with songwriter Andy Wilkinson. His latest album Cowboy Songster Vol. 2 is a recording of Andy performing old-time songs in the solo tradition with only guitar accompaniment. Andy lives in Lubbock, Texas with his wife and children. Don Edwards said that Andy “makes no claim to being a cowboy but he has the cowboy spirit, integrity, and the heart that makes his music so undeniably real. Andy could very well carry on the traditions when all us old guys are gone. I'd feel assured in knowing the music of our great American West was in good hands." http://andyhedges.com/
Brenn Hill - Hooper, UT
Brenn Hill is a singer/songwriter who doesn’t just sing about the West, he reveals its heart to anyone who will take the time to listen. He is not just an observer or narrator of western lore, but one of its strongest interpreters. The cowboy’s trials and tribulations are his raw material. Brenn’s career spans twelve recordings of mostly self-penned music and over two decades on the road. His most recent release is How You Heal. Like all of his prior recordings, it serves as a pathway through his own personal journey. Brenn is an artist who gives great insight into the West that he calls Heaven. He lives with his wife and three children in Hooper, Utah. http://www.brennhill.com
Daron Little - Encampment, WY – NEW!
Daron Little cowboys on the TA Ranch north of Saratoga, Wyoming, where he lives and writes music about the cowboy life. He is married with three daughters, which take up quite a bit of time and energy. His musical influences include Guy Clark, Tom Petty and Jack Johnson, as well as Westerners Mike Beck, Gail Steiger and of course Ian Tyson. He hopes that folks will identify with the realness of his music and leave a performance thinking "I never thought of cowboy music like that!" Daron is a proud endorser of the Great Basin Hat Company. http://www.ranchcowboymusic.com/
Daron is the recipient of the 2017 Singin' Sam & Frederica Agins Scholarship.
Corb Lund - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Corb Lund was born and raised in rural southern Alberta and comes from four generations of Canadian ranchers and cowboys. He grew up riding horseback, chasing cattle and rodeoing on the prairies and in the foothills of the Rockies. Lund’s Western heritage stays with him, no matter where he roams. “My whole life is sort of a dichotomy between being a cowboy kid and living in a city,” says Lund. “I guess that informs my music too.” His newest album is Things That Can’t Be Undone (2015). http://corblund.com/
Doug Moreland & the Flying Armadillos - Manchaca, TX – NEW!
Originally from the Fort Davis mountains in West Texas, Doug Moreland performs a fresh twist of Texas and Western swing music, with his original songwriting and dandy band The Flying Armadillos. Being the eldest son of a wainwright, blacksmith, and fiddle-playing ranch hand, Doug set out in 1992 for a career in the music business. After a short stint in Ruidoso, New Mexico as a funny man in a dinner show, he then toured with various acts around the country as a fiddle sideman. During this time, he recognized his desire to front his own band and write his own songs, and also discovered the art of chainsaw carving, which all brought him to Austin in late 1999. There he progressed from a comedic, solo act with a singing dog as the finale, into a full dancehall band with his wit and charm playing right back into a familiar instrumentation of twin fiddles, upright bass fiddle, swing guitar and mandolin. Doug is joined by Randy Roberts (upright bass), Wes Holtsford (fiddle, mandolin), Johnny Konya (drums), and JD Pendley (guitar).
Brigid Reedy - Boulder, MT
Brigid Reedy first entertained the Elko crowds by yodeling at the Pioneer Saloon at the age of two. She has attended every Gathering since (this is her fourth as an invited performer) and her appreciation of Western music, poetry and culture has only deepened along with her love of the performers and friends who have inspired her. An accomplished singer and fiddler, Brigid's musical repertoire runs the full gamut of the American West, from the most traditional cowboy tunes to new and original songs. Brigid also recites and writes poetry that reflects her life and experience as a young woman growing up in the contemporary rural West and her beloved Montana.
Martha Scanlan & Jon Neufeld - Birney, MT
Martha Scanlan’s long-awaited third release, The Shape Of Things Gone Missing, The Shape Of Things To Come, is already being heralded as her best work yet. Given the beloved status of her first two records, that’s a tall order to fill. The album is the result of a relative hiatus from the road; five years spent immersed in working and living on a 120-year-old small family cattle ranch in a remote corner of southeastern Montana. Says Scanlan, “There’s a beautiful congruence in music and working with cattle and horses- it’s all about the flow, finding the current in things.” Producer and long-time musical collaborator Jon Neufeld joined her in the studio and joins her on stage. The gift of a great storyteller is the bringing of the listener into the story, and the story into the listener. It’s not just the words of the songs that provide that rare lasting transformative alchemy that has become so characteristic of Martha Scanlan’s work, It’s the space between the words, the current of things, the sound of the place itself.
Trinity Seely - Cascade, MT
Trinity Seely grew up in the heart of cow country in the Chilcotin region of British Columbia. Inspired at an early age by this rugged sea of jackpine forests and grasslands, she learned to work hard from kitchen to corral on the family’s guest ranch. As a teen, Trinity moved to California to attend The Thacher School and her love affair with the vaquero way was born. With humbling honesty and a honey-smooth voice, Trinity sings about loving cowboys and horses, and living “in the middle of nowhere.” Trinity was awarded the Western Music Association and Academy of Western Artists’ Song of the Year. She flourishes as a cowboy’s wife and mother to three buckaroos and a buckarette. http://trinityseely.com/
Sourdough Slim and Robert Armstrong - Paradise, CA
A performance by Sourdough Slim & Robert Armstrong is a hoot to say the least. With a repertoire of original songs, western classics, country blues and string band favorites from the 1920s and 30s, they share a passion for America's rich musical heritage and know how to communicate that feeling to an audience. You'll hear raucous and often heartfelt singing, virtuoso yodeling and humorous stories, accompanied by a dizzying array of acoustic instruments including accordion, guitar, banjo, ukulele, jug, national steel, musical saw and harmonica. All dished up with a hearty dose of vaudevillian stagecraft making for a delightfully entertaining experience. "Sourdough Slim and Robert Armstrong are flat-out-entertaining fun....with perfect comedic timing and showmanship....outstanding abilities on a variety of instruments, they dazzle audiences. Performances are always fresh and different....something for everyone." says Margo Metegrano of cowboypoetry.com, and Sacramento Magazine calls their show, "A rollicking evening of outrageous humor and song." Sourdough Slim hails from California's gold country and is the recipient of the Academy of Western Artist's "Yodeler of the Year" and a four time nominee for the Western Music Association's "Entertainer of the Year." String instrument wizard Robert Armstrong is a founding member of the infamous "Cheap Suit Serenaders" and an in-demand studio musician and illustrator who makes his home in Winters, California.
Dave Stamey - Orange Cove, CA
Dave Stamey has made it his life's work to celebrate the rural American west. In the past two decades he has recorded eleven albums of original music, travelled literally hundreds of thousands of miles and performed thousands of shows doing just that. He lives in the farthest north-eastern corner of Tulare County, and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains begin just outside his back door. http://www.davestamey.com/
Gail Steiger - Prescott, AZ
Gail Steiger is a songwriter, filmmaker, cowboy and foreman of the remote Spider Ranch in Yavapai County, Arizona, since 1995. He has been playing guitar and writing songs for over 30 years, and often recites works by his grandparents, Delia Gist Gardner and Gail I. Gardner. Gail also collaborates with his brother Lew on various film and multimedia projects, including the acclaimed documentary, Ranch Album. He’s released two CDs, The Romance of Western Life in 1999, and A Matter of Believin’ in 2015. Gail is a member of the Western Folklife Center’s Board of Trustees.
Rod Taylor - Cimarron, NM
Rod Taylor, originally from Lubbock, Texas, has been playing music for more than 30 years. Rod started his cowboy career while in high school at both the C Bar and Philmont ranches. Rod left Texas Tech to pursue the cowboy life and has worked at the Vermejo Park/WS, TO, UU Bar and Little Horn ranches. He currently cowboys on the Philmont Ranch, which is owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America. http://www.rodtaylormusic.net/
Ian Tyson - Longview, Alberta, Canada
Ian Tyson is 82 years old and he’s still going strong. Still touring. Still running the Tyson ranch in Western Canada. Still writing about love, horses and the landscape he loves. Now recovered from a torn and damaged voice that drastically changed his vocal sound in 2008, and open heart surgery in 2015, he’s singing with the strength and range of his earlier years, when he had the hits, “Four Strong Winds,” “Someday Soon,” “Summer Wages,” “Navajo Rug” and more. Tyson doesn’t look backwards at five decades of a career that’s earned him countless awards, the Order of Canada, and a devoted following; he faces the future with a mixture of optimism and resignation. “Your 80s,” Tyson tells people, “is not a time for sissies.” http://www.iantyson.com
Andy Wilkinson - Lubbock, TX
A poet, songwriter, singer and playwright whose particular interest is the history and peoples of the Great Plains, Andy Wilkinson has recorded 12 albums of original music and has written eight plays: among them Charlie Goodnight’s Last Night, a one-man show performed by Mr. Barry Corbin; the musical drama “My Cowboy’s Gift;” and “The Soul of the West” (written with Red Steagall). His work has received several awards, including the Texas Historical Foundation’s John Ben Shepperd Jr. Craftsmanship Award, six National Western Heritage “Wrangler” Awards in four different categories, and the Will Rogers Medallion Award. He is Artist in Residence at the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University, where he is also visiting assistant professor in the School of Music. In addition to his writing and teaching, he continues to perform.
Banner image: Charlie Ekburg