National Cowboy Poetry Gathering artists are hitting the road again to bring you that special blend of poetry, music and storytelling that you love. This time, you can raise a glass of your favorite Napa chardonnay as you sit outside at the beautiful Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater in Yountville, California, and enjoy a performance with Gail Steiger, Trinity Seely, Joel Nelson and the legendary Ramblin' Jack Elliott. The show is next Saturday, September 10, at 7:00 pm. Tickets are only $20 (plus a $5 fee) and are on sale now at the Lincoln Theater website. For those of you unfamiliar with these acclaimed artists, here's the skinny.
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott chose the cowboy way at the age of 14, trading life at home for one on the rodeo circuit. By age 20, Elliott’s rough-edged enthusiasm and musical instinct drew the attention of his avowed idol, Woody Guthrie, initiating a close, invaluable and lifelong association. He was also a good friend of Johnny Cash. Ramblin’ Jack became a latter-day troubadour, whose love for a good song is equaled only by an abiding respect for his fellow man and a profound contempt for injustice. He inspired several generations including a young Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. This National Medal of Arts recipient and two-time GRAMMY winner is a unique American treasure.
Joel Nelson has been a cowboy since age six when he helped on a cattle drive to the railroad. For more than 30 years, Joel made his living working on cow outfits in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Hawaii, specializing in breaking colts. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Range Management, has built custom saddles, and served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. He is a founder of the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, Texas, and a 2009 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship. Joel’s poem “Equus Caballus” was selected to be a part of the national Poetry Out Loud program for high school students. He and his wife Sylvia run corriente cattle in the beautiful West Texas ranch country.
Trinity Seely grew up in the heart of cow country in the Chilcotin region of British Columbia. Inspired at an early age by this rugged sea of jackpine forests and grasslands, she learned to work hard from kitchen to corral on the family’s guest ranch. As a teen, Trinity moved to California to attend The Thacher School and her love affair with the vaquero way was born. With humbling honesty and a honey-smooth voice, Trinity sings about loving cowboys and horses, and living “in the middle of nowhere.” Trinity was awarded the Western Music Association and Academy of Western Artists’ Song of the Year.
Gail Steiger is a songwriter, filmmaker, cowboy and foreman of the remote Spider Ranch in Yavapai County, Arizona, since 1995. He has been playing guitar and writing songs for over 30 years, and often recites works by his grandparents, Delia Gist Gardner and Gail I. Gardner. Gail also collaborates with his brother Lew on various film and multimedia projects, including the acclaimed documentary, Ranch Album. He’s released two CDs, The Romance of Western Life in 1999, and A Matter of Believin’ in 2015. Gail is a member of the Western Folklife Center’s Board of Trustees.