FEATURING: Geno Delafose, Dom Flemons, Pipp Gillette + Lloyd Wright, Andy Hedges.
These musician-historians chronicle how African American cowboys have shaped the West. The singing knowledge-holders (and friends) speak to the historical and contemporary impact of Black cowboys as they swap songs. From Charley Willis to Lead Belly to Lil Nas X, African Americans have always had an impact on western culture and music. Fresh off his acclaimed Black Cowboys album release, Dom Flemons brings traditional ditties and original ballads that share deep stories of cowboy history. Pipp Gillette and Lloyd Wright shake the cowboy music repertoire down to the bones. Andy Hedges adds to the chronicling with lore in the form of poetry and song. And Geno Delafose deepens the flavor with musical chemistry, camaraderie, and compositions born where the blues meet the grass.
From the 36th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
"Sitting on Top of the World" - Pipp Gillette + Lloyd Wright (words + music by The Mississippi Sheiks)
"Steel Pony Blues" - Dom Flemons
"Ol' Proc" - Andy Hedges (poem by Wallace McRae)
"Musician's Paradise" - Geno Delafose (words + music by Belton Richard)
"Ain't No More Cane on the Brazos" - Pipp Gillette (traditional, first recording by Mose "Clear Rock" Platt)
"My Baby Said Yes" - Dom Flemons (words + music by Tampa Red)
"Boll Weevil" - Andy Hedges (traditional, popularized with recording by Lead Belly)
"Baby, Please Don't Go" - Geno Delafose (traditional, popularized with recording by Big Joe Williams)
"Singin' the Blues" - Pipp Gillette + Lloyd Wright (words + music by Melvin Endsley)
"He's a Lone Ranger" - Dom Flemons
"Black Snake Moan" - Andy Hedges (words + music by Blind Lemon Jefferson)
"Lacassine Special" - Geno Delafose (words + music by Iry LeJeune)
"Sonny and J.C." - Pipp Gillette
"Charmin' Betsy" - Dom Flemons (traditional, popularized with recording by Henry "Ragtime Texas" Thomas)
"Old Chisholm Trail" - Andy Hedges (traditional, version inspired by recording by Mose "Clear Rock" Platte)
"Le Midland Two Step" - Geno Delafose (words + music by Amédé Ardoin)
"Summer Rain" - Pipp Gillette + Lloyd Wright (words + music by Guy Gillette)
"Black Woman" - Dom Flemons (traditional, first recorded by Vera Hall)
"Spike Driver's Blues" - Andy Hedges (words + music by Mississippi John Hurt)
"Les plats sont tous mis sur la table (The Plate on the Table)" - Geno Delafose (words + music by Canray Fontenot)
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Geno Delafose is from southwest Louisiana, deep in Louisiana’s bayou country. Geno relies on his traditional Creole sensibility for guidance in his music. He divides his time between touring with his zydeco band, French Rockin' Boogie, and operating his Double D Ranch, outside of Eunice, where he breeds cattle and raises American Quarter Horses. Geno’s CD Le Creole Cowboy was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Silver Springs, MD
Dom Flemons is an award-winning musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet. Carrying on the songster tradition, Flemons strives to mix traditional music forms with a contemporary approach to create new sounds that appeal to wider audiences. He began his career as a performer in the Arizona music scene, where he produced 25 albums for singer-songwriters and slam poets in Phoenix. In 2005, Flemons co-founded the Carolina Chocolate Drops; he released his first solo album, Prospect Hill, in 2014. His album, Black Cowboys, was released in 2018 through Smithsonian Folkways.
Pipp Gillette lives and works on the family ranch near Lovelady, Texas, where his grandfather started raising cattle and cotton in 1912. Pipp and his late brother, Guy, received the Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Traditional Western Album of 2011 and the 2013 Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Original Western Composition for their performance of the Waddie Mitchell song "Trade Off.” Drawing on a lifelong interest in Western history and music, Pipp plays traditional cowboy music on guitar, banjo, harmonica and bones. Pipp’s newest CD, Singing Songs by Waddie and Pipp, received the Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Traditional Western Album of 2016. Pipp Gillette is accompanied by Lloyd Wright.
Andy Hedges is a songster, reciter, storyteller, guitarist, and collector of cowboy songs and poems. The son of an Italian schoolteacher and a rodeo cowboy-turned-preacher, Andy grew up in the small community of Tokio, Texas, where his family paid rent on an old farmhouse by looking after a few head of cattle. Andy’s repertoire includes classic cowboy poetry recitations, obscure cowboy songs, Dust Bowl ballads, and blues. He hosts a podcast, “Cowboy Crossroads,” which features in-depth interviews with fellow musicians and poets. Andy’s performance with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott at the 60th Newport Folk Festival was named one of the “10 Best Things We Saw” by Rolling Stone magazine.
Lloyd Wright is a fourth-generation Texan. He and his family were introduced to dulcimers and old-time string band music in the summer of 1994. In 2000 he won the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship at the age of 18. Now settled down with his wife and three kids in the heart of the Davy Crockett National Forest, Lloyd regularly performs Old Time and Country Gospel with his wife, mother, and brother. He first heard Guy and Pipp Gillette perform when he was a teen, and he has followed their music over the years. Lloyd combined forces with Pipp after the passing of Pipp's brother, Guy. This seemed to follow a natural progression as he was familiar with Pipp's repertoire. Lloyd and his family run two music festivals in East Texas, including his very own Old Mill Music Festival.
Filmed in front of a live audience at the Western Folklife Center's G Three Bar in Elko, NV, on Feb. 1, 2020.
Made possible by the multitude of staff, artists, volunteers, and community members working behind the scenes to make this show happen.
Brought to you by the Western Folklife Center, using story and cultural expression to connect the American West to the world.