HAMILTON – An Afternoon of Cowboy Music and Poetry will be celebrated at the Ravalli County Museum on Saturday. The relaxed outdoor event is planned with layers of presentations, music and Western food.
Tamar Stanley, executive director of the museum, said the afternoon will be an experience to remember.
“It is really to celebrate the Western lifestyle and legacy that we have here in the valley,” Stanley said. “It is to showcase the rich heritage of ranching and farming and timber. These traditions were developed because you were often out there working solo and you had to entertain yourself. You’d write a song and create poetry and you’d share it when you had someone to share it with. A lot of the cowboy traditions were a solitary pursuit, and if you had a guitar or could write lyrics you were a valuable part of any sort of team that was out there.”
The Ravalli County Museum has more than 100 pieces of cowboy music and poetry recorded since the 1960s. The genre is part of their collection and has been revitalized with great local talent jumping on board to save the tradition.
“Doug Hogan and Charla Bauman have done this for us as a fundraiser,” Stanley said. “We love doing fundraisers that hit a niche in our mission.”
The performers are Baxter Black, Doug Hogan, Charla Bauman, Ellie Nuno, Rob Johnson, Wil Wilkins, Tim Huls, Jacob Zirbel, Krysten Perkins and Niki Perkins.
“Baxter Black will be doing a video introduction,” Stanley said. “He feels strongly about this genre and that people need to sit and listen to it. It is about the life on the range and that which we love in Montana. He feels these events keep that disappearing lifestyle alive. He credits Johnny Carson with bringing cowboy poetry back into the public eye and he has some sound bites of him and Carson and that video will be interspersed with the rest of the performances.
“Doug Hogan will be here, and Rob Johnson has started to open up about the muse inside of him and he’ll be performing. Tim Huls will give what he calls Dairy Cowboy poetry. Wil Wilkins will give poetry and stories about years in the saddle, packing and guiding as a fly fisherman. Ellie Nuno who is always an amazing artist on the fiddle will bring her young protégé Jacob Zirbel. It will be great to have him back. Niki Perkins also will be great.”
Charla Bauman is a fifth-generation Montanan who has been singing and playing since she was given her first guitar at age 12. She performs across the West and in Canada.
“With this event we’re trying to keep alive the history and authenticity of our Western heritage through music and poetry, using local talent,” Bauman said. “We’re especially interested in young people knowing this genre through the arts, which is music and poetry. We strive for aestheticism, meaning the music and poetry in this show comes from a real place and the performers have personal experience with the material. It is their life, and I think that is important. We also have a goal of supporting our local museum, which is all about keeping alive the history of the area and Western history that brought us to that point. Music and poetry has been a large part of that.”
As a performance musician, Bauman plays popular hits that span the decades.
“Although I cover many genres, my love of old cowboy music makes this a very fun show to do,” Bauman said. “My current music life is very active, both locally and throughout the state. It’s been a real delight.”
Stanley said the museum is layering on something new with Kristin Perkins, age 14, performing original pieces.
“It’s a relaxing afternoon and the performers will present from the bell tower which we love using,” said Stanley. “We put out flags from all 50 states, and it is colorful and bright and really American.”
The Afternoon of Cowboy Poetry and Music will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Ravalli County Museum, 205 Bedford in Hamilton. For more information call (406) 363-3338 or online visit brvhsmuseum.org.