The 21st Annual Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering, a continuing Stock Show tradition, was held at the Arvada Center last month.
Among the performers were Connie Dover, who accompanied NPR regular Skip Gorman. Despite her hoarse throat, the quality was undeniable.
A sample of her work in the Celtic genre:
The Western half of "Country & Western" has always outperformed the southern Country variety, but its popularity peaked some time ago.
It was unfortunate the Arvada Center performance only attracted an older audience. There were even jokes about Will Rogers' horse Trigger, who died in 1965.
The performers' songs of lyrical landscapes may still have a hold on the outdoorsman crowd, but without a revival the genre will pass into further obscurity. Its last pop culture high point was probably Don Edwards' song "Coyotes" being played at the close of the documentary "Grizzly Man."
Here is Edwards performing live:
Alongside its enjoyable but predictable nostalgia, the genre has too much real emotion and dependence upon rural nature to succeed. Its frequent criticism of our technological, history-hating age isn't exactly a marketer's dream.