2019 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
January 28-February 2, 2019
Wednesday, January 30
7:00pm – 8:30pm
Wednesday night's high-energy concert showcases the wit, wisdom and yodels of Gary McMahan, the King of Cowboy Singers; the smooth, sultry tones of Western swing from Carolyn Martin and her Nashville-based band; and the get-up-outta-yer-seat Louisiana zydeco rhythms of Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie. Sure to keep you on your toes, just like the jukebox at your local watering hole, these artists draw on an eclectic catalog of tunes. There's sure to be a selection for everyone! (Host: Charlie Seemann. Featured in the still photo: Gary McMahan.) Sponsored by Blach Distributing.
Thursday, January 31
9:15am – 10:30am
Every year, the keynote address sets the tone for the Gathering, featuring speakers whose words and work embody the substance and creativity of living life in the American West. The 2019 Keynote features the profound and personal observations from 35 years of Gathering, by founding director Hal Cannon, with the Elko High School Band of Indians opening the show. Presented with support from the Nevada Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities, in partnership with Great Basin College.
Family Ties: Members’ Show # 1
12:00pm – 1:30pm
An afternoon in celebration of families who have honed skills in working together and playing together. Not always easy! Montana-based songwriters Rob and Halladay Quist have successful individual performing careers but relish the opportunity to share the stage together as father and daughter. No strangers to the Gathering, the Reedy family just gets better and better, currently featuring the singing, guitar picking and fiddling of Brigid Reedy, her brother Johnny and their father and mentor, John. Partners in the saddle and on stage, Gail Steiger and Amy Hale Auker deepen their ties through poetry, prose and song. Ryan Fritz and his son Hoss travel to Elko from their ranch home in Alberta, Canada, where their music making strengthens family and community. (Host: Gail Steiger. Featured in the still photo: Brigid Reedy.)
Chronicling the West: Members’ Show # 2
6:00pm – 7:30pm
It takes walking the walk to talk the talk — a keen eye and a discerning ear to interpret the almost-unseen and frequently unappreciated challenges, sorrows and joys of daily life. Joshua Dugat draws verses from his everyday exploits teaching, firefighting, ranching, beekeeping and two-stepping. Ned LeDoux, heir to the LeDoux family sound, lays down a record in music full of rural flavor and touring know-how. Californian Dave Stamey documents the fine-grained nuances of Western life in his proliferate songwriting, while Trinity Seely logs life and miles from British Columbia to Montana. The performers on this show have beautifully caught the rhythms and cadences of Western life. (Host: Brenn Hill. Featured in the still photo: Joshua Dugat.)
Sponsored by Stockmen’s Casino & Ramada Hotel.
Friday, February 1
A Consternation of Critters
11:00am – 12:30pm
A cowboy's life is all about critters. Four-legged, six-legged, even eight-legged (for all you arachnophobes out there) — and they're all out to get ya and show you who's really in charge. Ride along with us as poets Dick Gibford, Joel Nelson, Maria Lisa Eastman, DW Groethe, Paul Zarzyski and musician Brenn Hill try to explain for you just why this is so. (Hosts: Reed Simmons and DW Groethe. Featured in the still photo: Dick Gibford.)
Gimme Open Roads & Fresh Air
6:00pm – 7:30pm
This is a journey through the Great American West you won't want to miss! The tour bus is outfitted with a sassy and classy crew, fueled by a high octane mix of music and poetry, and headed to western places you'll never forget. Carolyn Martin and her powerhouse band will convince you that "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing." Tish Hinojosa's wanderlust spirit and soaring songs will invite you to "lose yourself to the moon," chase sunsets and the scent of a rainstorm, and "rise from the highway and into the sky and leave all your sorrow behind." With roots firmly planted in northern New Mexico soil, Olivia Romo writes poetry through the eyes of a young woman and delivers it with the passion and hopeful spirit of her generation. A roving party isn't complete without Montana father-daughter duo Halladay and Rob Quist. Both love the open road and their powerful original songs pay tribute to the people, places and experiences encountered along the way. Sponsored by Red Lion Hotel & Casino. (Host: Debbie Fant, featured above with special guest, Mary Gridley.)
Ride & Write ‘Em Pretty
8:00pm – 9:30pm
There are skills that good riders acquire over years of being a-horseback, but the best riders also develop a sixth sense that enables them to communicate with the horse. So when the ride 'em pretty, there's poetry in motion. Paul Zarzyski, Halladay Quist, Ned LeDoux and Corb Lund definitely can ride 'em pretty. But each also writes their musical lyrics and poems thoughtfully and purposefully. Each has transcended the merely skillful to reach the artistic — their goal is to form that delicate link with the audience that results in deep understanding. You'll hear how they write 'em sooooo pretty. So very pretty. Sponsored by NV Energy. (Host: Annie Hatch. Featured in the still photo: Halladay Quist.)
The Ian Tyson Tribute
10:00pm - 12:00am
Who doesn't love Ian? Join Mike Beck, Ramblin Jack Elliott, Brenn Hill, Ross Knox, Corb Lund, Gary McMahan, Michael Martin Murphey, Dave Stamey, Paul Zarzyski and guests R.W. Hampton, Shandee Layne, David Wilke and Denise Withnell they work their way through their favorite Tyson songs. (Hosts: folklorist Dave Stanley and Mike Beck. Featured in the still photo: Mike Beck).
Saturday, February 2
The Western Trail
11:00am - 12:30pm
You know of the Ol' Chisholm Trail, but do you know of the younger, longer, parallel trail that was the backdrop for the epic, Lonesome Dove? At the tail end of the cattle drive era, herds drove up The "Great" Western Trail from Texas to railyards in Kansas and Nebraska, and north to Canada. Joining trodden soil to steel tracks, drovers along The Western Trail faced red dirt, infrequent saloons, grazing tolls and risk of stampeding. Traveling the Trail meant plenty of time to croon to the cows. These three present-day trailbosses will croon to you instead. Nevada poet Waddie Mitchell and Texas songsters Michael Martin Murphey and Andy Hedges drive a herd of trail songs and poems honoring The Western Trail.
Sponsored by Newmont Mining Corporation. (Host: William Matthews. Featured in the still photo: Michael Martin Murphey.)
The Ranch Family Show
3:00pm - 4:15pm
Some might say this show is wholesome, family-friendly entertainment... and it is that... but we like to think the Ranch Family Show is where it gets real. Every year, the performers bring a hard-working, big-thinking sensibility to the stage, along with a desire to share their creative perspective with all generations. This year is no exception. Canadian Ryan Fritz is the kind of songwriter, and guy, whose fellow cowboys pitched in to fund his first record. He is joined by his son Hoss. New Mexico rancher and poet Deanna McCall comes from a long line of Texas ranchers and herself raised a family "off the grid" in remote Nevada. And songwriters Daron Little and Matt Robertson tap into a genuine musical inspiration that stems from living the life. Joining them on stage will be this year's scholarship recipients. This whole ensemble brings you a real experience to delight the entire family. Sponsored by the Elko Convention & Visitors Authority. (Hosts: Jon and Mackie Griggs. Featured in the still photo: Ryan Fritz.)
Bridging the 49th
8:00 - 9:30pm
A border by cartography standards, the 49th parallel north distinguishes Canada from the United States. On maps, anyway. But, try telling these musicians that as they sing themselves from side to side and back again. Jamie Fox's fiddling heals a formerly-fading Métis fiddle tradition. Sid Marty's poetry, storytelling and songwriting travels like the Albertan wind. Corb Lund's musical diplomacy bridges the country and the city. And Colter Wall's songwriting blends the real and the magical. Making beauty out of coexistence, proving that lines are never quite what they seem, these four bards of the borderlands epitomize the artist as ambassador. Sponsored by Barrick Gold of North America. (Host: Kristin Catherwood. Featured in the still photo: Sid Marty.)