Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

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April 29, 2013
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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow's Ear 4-29-13


There’s fun, and then there’s fun. Pick your pleasure. I pick Songs of the Cowboys held every April in Cody, Wyo. The concerts and day sessions are held in the Holiday Inn Bandana Room. Jam sessions happen in the historic Irma Hotel of Buffalo Bill days. All this happens due to Runumuk Cowgirl Productions the creation of cowgirl, Leslie Keltner.

For a taste of the old west, for an experience to leave you laughing, for a tug at the heartstrings, for genuine cowboy songs and poetry, this is a must-attend event.

Songs of the Cowboys comes out of the chute on Friday night with a concert featuring the Bunkhouse Corral. That would be five guys in tall boots and hats — wearing their age and cowboy occupation on weathered faces and stove-up frames. Stories unfold, wry-eyed jokes bounce off the walls. Songs are warbled to the accompaniment of acoustic guitar.

Two Friday night (after the concert) jam sessions fill the Irma with song, laughter, dancing and adult beverage consumption. One jam in the Governor’s Room is strictly “cowboy” songs. No rock, no roll, no pseudo country-western. Gotta be cowboy flavor which means you’ll hear the old-time nostalgic tunes like “Little Joe the Wrangler” or “Strawberry Roan.” The other jam holds forth in the lounge. Fiddle and guitar music and song shivers the timbers with a motherlode of listening pleasure.

Saturday saddles up at nine in the morning with hourly sessions of song and poetry. Saturday afternoon concert takes place at three o’clock — another don’t-miss- dazzling performance! Ditto the Saturday night concert (wherein yours truly held forth in company with a sterling line-up). More jammin’ on Saturday night after the show. By this time you’ve become reacquainted with old friends and made a corral full of new ones.

The cup of happiness overfloweth ... way into the morning hours. Even after the bar closes, pickers and poets gather in the Governor’s Room and play music, tell yarns and tall tales and spin side-splitting stories till dawn starts waking the world.

The final event of the weekend, regardless of how tired you are, takes place on Sunday morning in the Bandana Room. The Glory Trail Cowboy Gospel is a session wherein thanks to the Almighty is offered through both original and old-favorite songs song and poetry. In some ways, this is the best concert of all.

The traditional finale in Glory Trail Cowboy Gospel features cowgirl, Leslie Keltner and her two daughters, Sage and Kaitlynn, singing — a capella — Alfred Brumley’s hymn “I’ll Fly Away.”

Some glad morning when this life is o’er,

I’ll fly away;

To a home on God’s celestial shore,

I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away).

Chorus

I’ll fly away, fly away, Oh Glory

I’ll fly away; (in the morning)

When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,

I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away).

When the shadows of this life have gone,

I’ll fly away;

Like a bird from prison bars has flown,

I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away)

Chorus

Oh, how glad and happy when we meet

I’ll fly away

No more cold iron shackles on my feet

I’ll fly away

Chorus

Just a few more weary days and then,

I’ll fly away;

To a land where joy shall never end,

I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away)

Chorus

I’ll fly away, fly away, Oh Glory

I’ll fly away; (in the morning)

When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,

I’ll fly away (I’ll fly away). ❖




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The Fence Post Updated Oct 16, 2013 03:56PM Published Apr 29, 2013 11:35AM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.