We went to the Elko National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in January and I want to pose a question: What is the best undiscovered musical group / performer you have heard?
I found two: J Parsons is a genuine rancher who sings on weekends. He has a wonderful baritone voice and a simple and pure style on the guitar. He sings old traditional cowboy songs like "Little Joe the Wrangler." In person he is better than on his CD.
Quebe Sisters Band: These three girls (20, 18, 16) are wonderful fiddlers and singers and sound more like the Andrews Sisters than the Andrews themselves. We went to the Red Lion in Elko on Friday night to see their lounge show. These girls are so sweet it breaks your heart, and two of them were national champion fiddlers, the middle sister being edged out by her younger sister. They play Texas Swing, Bob Wills sort of stuff.
There are lots of others. There are professional musicians and a fair number of actual cowboys who recite and play as a calling, while still earning their living as real cowboys and gals.
Elko should be a mecca goal for anyone who enjoys cowboy poetry and music. Before you die, you must attend, or you won't get into heaven.
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I've been lucky enough to a) live in L.A. most of my life and b) have a dad who is plugged into the local folk music scene. I know some awesome musicians, and I enjoy them all. I have attended the Annual Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest many times and love it; we have a local bluegrass group that kicks metaphorical bottom and performs at most of the community events. I know local blues musicians who work day jobs as doctors, lawyers, plumbers, teachers, and electricians to make ends meet but love music as much as if not more than anything else they do. It's really pretty neat how much professional-quality music I've been able to enjoy in casual settings in my short life.
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