By Frank J. Buchman
Roy Rogers won't be there. Neither will Gene Autry, nor Patsy Montana.
Rumors that Baxter Black might show up have been denied.
But, it'll be real cowboy music, poetry and story-telling presented by those who've lived it, and are excited to sing and recite about it.
"The Kansas Chapter of the Western Music Association has released a two-disc recording of cowboy music and poetry and will celebrate with a show this Sunday afternoon at Cottonwood Falls," says Jeff Davidson, Eureka, real-life cowboy performer of song, rhyme and historical recitation, serving as president of the diverse cowboy entertainment organization.
"It's a debut. Not exactly with red carpet, spotlights, and paparazzi, but it is a debut. In this case, it is a debut of a compact disc featuring western artists from across Kansas and beyond," said Ron Wilson, Manhattan, another cowboy performer known best for his poetry, along with leadership roles.
"The celebration will be at the Emma Chase Music Hall in Cottonwood Falls, Jan. 19, beginning at 3:30 p.m., with performances by several of the artists featured on the compact disc," Davidson explained.
"We are excited and honored to have the Kansas Chapter of the Western Music Association coming here for their debut celebration," said Sue Smith, owner of the Emma Chase Café and Musical Hall located at 202 Broadway Street.
In January 2011, Davidson agreed to serve as president of the Kansas Chapter of the Western Music Association.
Promoting the western genre
"The WMA is an organization of performers and fans of western music and cowboy poetry. The Kansas chapter was meeting to discuss various ways to promote this particular genre of musical performance," Davidson noted.
"One of the ideas that surfaced was for the Kansas chapter to produce a compact disc which would include a compilation of samples of work, primarily songs, produced by its members. This seemed like a good idea, but I wasn't sure just how we could get it done," Davidson continued. "Then, when WMA member Jim Farrell volunteered to record and produce the CD, that's what made this all work."
Jim Farrell of Towanda is a longtime performer, recorder and producer in the western music industry. A member of the award-winning group, the Diamond W Wranglers, Farrell operates his own recording studio.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
So, the Kansas Chapter of the Western Music Association invited each of its members to submit the best of their western songs or cowboy poems for use on the CD.
"Jim recorded, produced and mastered the CD, and WMA member, western musician and radio personality Orin Friesen added brief narrative tracks among the music and poetry to give a little history or background information about the music and the performers," Wilson pointed out.
The result is a one-of-a-kind, "double-barreled," two-disc recording called "Kansas Cowboy."
"This new unique CD features 29 tracks with 20 artists or groups performing their best music and poetry, most of which was penned by the artists themselves. Several of the tracks have never before been recorded," Davidson said.
"It's a good project," Davidson contended. "This is a way to strengthen our membership and bring us together. Participating artists are donating their work, and proceeds from the sale of the CD go to the chapter."
"Featured performers are from all across Kansas and several states, representing ages from early 20s to mid-80s," said Roger Ringer, Medicine Lodge, Kansas WMA vice president.
"While all of the songs are of the western genre, there is as much diversity found in the music as you will find in the varied landscape of Kansas. This is just the thing to get 2014 started off with a song in your heart," Ringer said.
Featured artists include Marshall Allen Bailey, Dodge City; Judy Coder, Topeka; Geff Dawson, Alma; Kerry Grombacher, New Orleans; Brad Hamilton, Topeka; Fred Hargrove, Monte Vista, Colo.; Raleigh Lackey, Wichita; Ed LeValley, Wellington; Del Shields, Humboldt; David Smart, Olathe; Tallgrass Express String Band, Elmdale; Three Trails West, Kansas City; Barry Ward, Elbert, Colo.; Johnny Western, Mesa, Ariz.; Annie Wilson, Elmdale; and Zerf, Manhattan; along with Davidson, Wilson, Ringer, Orin Friesen's Prairie Rose Wranglers of Benton, and Farrell's Diamond W Wranglers at Wichita.
Buchman is a Flint Hills blogger and freelance writer and a frequent contributor to Kansas Farmer.