Montana Cowboy Poets and Musicians to Perform

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2009
 
Contact: Darcy Minter 406.522.3906 or 775.340.4240
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Montana Cowboy Poets and Musicians Play Benefit Concert
for
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Silent auction of historic and contemporary cowboy photos will support
Gallatin Historical Society's Pioneer Museum

Bozeman–Some of the nation's finest cowboy poets and musicians will perform a concert in Bozeman to benefit Elko's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. The June 26th concert will take place at the Emerson Cultural Center and will feature Montana poets Wallace McRae and Paul Zarzyski, Montana singer/songwriter Stephanie Davis, and Wylie Gustafson and his cowboy band Wylie & The Wild West. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at www.westernfolklife.org, by calling toll free to 888-880-5885, or in town at Cactus Records and Borders Books and Records. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the show.

Come early for a silent auction of historic and contemporary cowboy photographs and art prints to benefit the Gallatin Historical Society's Pioneer Museum. In addition to nearly 30 historic photographs from the museum's collection, the auction will feature prints from professional photographers of the West, including Barbara Van Cleve, Will Brewster and Jessica Lifland, as well as artwork from Ted Waddell, Larry Pirnie and Walter Piehl. Doors open at 6:00 pm for the Pioneer Museum's silent auction and a no-host wine and food reception by the Emerson Grill. The concert begins at 7:30 pm. There will be an autograph session following the concert at 9:30 pm. Silent auction bidding will close at 9:45 pm and the winners will be announced at 10:00 pm.

The Western Folklife Center is the national repository of cowboy poetry, music, story, gear and craft, and the producer of the renowned National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. The Folklife Center partners with communities across the American West to celebrate cowboy and ranching culture and to keep its traditions thriving. Since 1985, Elko's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has provided a powerful and unique forum for talented writers and musicians of the American West. From modest beginnings, it has grown to become the premier event of its kind, attracting visitors and performers from across the country and around the world. In 2000, the United States Senate recognized the cultural value of this event by renaming it the "National" Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Every January, the Gathering attracts an audience of roughly 8,000 from both rural and urban communities. Artists and attendees who share a love for the American West and its artistic traditions return to the Gathering year after year.

Says poet Wally McRae, "Each of these artists owes a dept of gratitude to the Western Folklife Center and the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, for giving us a place to perform and hone our art over the last 25 years. Each of the artists has agreed to perform for free in Bozeman because we want to support an organization that has supported us for so long, and that has brought cowboy poetry and music to so many people across the West and the country."

About the Artists:

Wallace McRae is a nationally known cowboy poet and a third-generation Montana rancher from Rosebud County. He has been reciting poetry since he was four years old. He began writing poetry and prose to record the value, humor and plight of the cowboy occupation, and he leaves no subject uncovered. He has recently published a book of stories, Stick Horses and other Stories of Ranch Life, that is receiving critical acclaim. Wally is the recipient of the prestigious National Heritage Award Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Governor's Arts Award for Folk and Traditional Arts, and was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the National Council of the Arts in 1996.

Polish hobo rodeo poet Paul Zarzyski was a bareback bronc rider for 15 years and has been a rodeo poet for 35. In 2005 Paul was selected as recipient of the Montana Governor's Arts Award for Literature. His 10 books and chapbooks include Wolf Tracks On The Welcome Mat, winner of the Western Writers of America 2004 Spur Award for Poetry. He has co-written songs with Ian Tyson, Tom Russell, Wylie Gustafson and others, and has recorded five spoken-word CDs. He attributes everything he knows about writing to his two mentors, Richard Hugo and Wallace McRae. For more information about Paul visit www.paulzarzyski.com.

Singer/songwriter Stephanie Davis is a fourth-generation Montanan who was raised on a ranch near Columbus. She spent several years in Nashville, honing her craft and having her songs recorded by such artists as Garth Brooks, Roger Whittaker, Shelby Lynne, Martina McBride, Maria Muldaur, Trisha Yearwood, and Don Edwards. She is respected as a soulful vocalist and talented multi-instrumentalist, and is a regular entertainer on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion. Stephanie has just released two new western swing CDs, Western Bling and Western Bliss, which feature ace guitarist Rich O'Brien. For more information about Stephanie, visit www.stephaniedavis.net.

Wylie & The Wild West are self-described as "a good-time cowboy band," and nothing could be closer to the truth. Wylie Gustafson, the world-famous Yahoo® yodeler, and his band play a blend of western swing, classic country, cowboy and folk music that makes the audience want to get up and dance. Wylie grew up in Montana listening to his father play music to the family, and spent much of his childhood on horseback. He and his wife Kimberly breed, train and show cutting horses. Wylie & The Wild West recently released their 14th album, Hang -n- Rattle!, which joyously offers the jump-and-kick of the band's more rollicking sounds, and features poet Paul Zarzyski. For more information about Wylie & The Wild West, visit www.wylieww.com.

The mission of the Western Folklife Center is to enhance the vitality of American life through the experience, understanding, and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the American West.