New nonprofit plans to bring in traditional cowboy concerts, poets
Todd, his wife Aimee, and their two kids, Nolan and Cassidy, are long-time fans of Western music and cowboy poetry. During evenings and breaks working the farm, they write poetry, practice their yodeling, and dance to fiddle, guitar, mandolin and harp playing.
But locally, there are not a lot of shows, so they decided to change that and bring in their favorite musicians to play.
"Western music is different from country and bluegrass," Todd King explains. "It is quintessential cowboy tradition. We felt promoting it here was ideal for our local culture."
Montezuma County's first Western music promoter will kick off their inaugural concert event during Montezuma County Fair July 31-Aug. 2 on various stages.
The headline event will be on Friday, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m. featuring national musicians and poets. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for ages 8-14, and children 7 and under are free.
"We brought in our favorites," King says.
3 Trails West is steeped in cowboy tradition, singing songs about cattle drives, riding horses, pretty girls back home, and nature's splendor.
Kristyn Harris, just 19 years old, is the 2014 Academy of Western Artists female performer of the year. She is loved for her singing, songwriting, swing-rhythm guitar style and yodeling. She was the Western Music Association's female yodeler of the year in 2012.
Susie Knight will perform her cowboy songs and poetry about true life experiences. Inspired by rodeo legend Chris LeDoux, Knight's style captures a woman's perspective on rodeo, ranch life, remudas, and romance.
Also on stage will be Peggy Malone, "The little girl with the big voice," a regular at Western music events across the country. Her award winning song "Singin' A Cowboy Song" was featured on the PBS special A Night at the Rodeo.
Many more poets and singer-songwriters will perform throughout the day King said, including poets Yvonne Hollenbeck, Thatch Elmer, and Terry Nash, and singers Ken Stevens, Janice Deardorff, and Deb Bukala.
Free performances by headliners will be held at the Cortez Cultural Center amphitheater on Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to draw in more locals and tourists to the Saturday night concert.
"One of our goals is to attract a lot of youth in the audience," King said. "Several of our performers are younger, and we want to inspire our young people to appreciate Western music and know they can learn it themselves instead of playing video games."
Cowboy Gathering of the Four Corners is a nonprofit that relies on sponsors, community support and local hospitality to house incoming talent. Their first event cost $12,000, half of which was covered by the fair board, and the other half by local sponsors.
"The fair board wanted a concert so we worked together so we can grow together," King said. "We're excited about the good response we had, and feel there is a real interest and market here to regularly host Western music events."
Between producing concerts at the fairgrounds, the Kings plan to host smaller Western music festivals featuring local and regional talent on their Summit Ridge farm.
"This music is in our blood, and we want to share that with the community," King said.
For more information about Cowboy Gathering of the Four Corners, go to www.cg4corners.com