In full disclosure, I must admit: Western music and storytelling? I can’t. get. enough. I call it my “cowboy complex.” I grew up in Texas and Santa Barbara’s debut of National Council for the Traditional Arts performance of Don’t Fence Me In was music to my ears. The music, the rhetoric, the Western garb, the traditional instrumentation and composition…memories of my childhood bubbled up to the surface and I was reminded of a romanticized Wild West where music was a conduit to express heartache, simple pleasures, and good ol’ odes to the land. It’s music with heart and music with history. From the beautiful fiddle and harmonies of the Quebe Sisters, to the yodeling and steel guitar of Montana native Wylie & The Wild West, to the bone chilling chants of North Bear, to the Tex-Mex tunes from the Texmaniacs, to rodeo poet Paul Zarzyski’s amusing and charming recitations,Don’t Fence Me In covered everything from the “range, ranch, reservation and roadhouse, from the valley of the Rio Grande to the Bitterroot Mountains.” This performance was a re-education and a reintroduction to a facet of American culture that is alive and kickin’ with many more stories to tell and many more songs to sing.
8 years ago