|Darrel Price sings Sierra Peaks at the Emery County Historical Society meeting.|
The weather finally cooperated and Hal Cannon visited the Emery County Historical Society on April 22. Cannon was originally scheduled for the February meeting but had to cancel due to a severe snowstorm.
Cannon began by explaining that he has been traveling around the Southwest portion of the United States working on a new project about the Grand Canyon. He has been visiting the indigenous people and the people who have been making a living in and around the Canyon. "I have spent most of my life traveling around recording songs and stories about peoples lives," said Cannon.
"I have collected many pieces of music and poetry over the years. I have always wondered why the people who had such a hard, unglamorous life, as the cowboys, made such beautiful music, poetry and crafts," added Cannon. He pointed out that no group of people, such as astronauts, teachers or cab drivers have songs about them, but the cowboys, Indians and buckaroos have many songs about their lifestyles.
"Why The Cowboy Sings" has been the focal point of Cannon's work and the title of his 16 minute video about the cowboy life-style. In the video, Cannon has interviewed and photographed four, real life, hardworking cowboys for this documentary. Larry Schutte of Nevada, Stephanie Davis of Montana, Henry Real Bird a Crow Indian cowboy, and Glenn Ohrlin, a rancher from Oklahoma are the subjects of the video.
Cannon explained that video was centered around seven different themes that seem to be in every cowboy's life. The first of these themes being the lone horseman. It signifies the solitary life of a cowboy. The second theme is the love of horses and what they mean to the people they serve. Third on the list of themes is the work and the cattle. Without one, a cowboy would not have the other. Fourth is the partners that some cowboys are fortunate enough to have. This theme emphasizes the reliance the partners have on each other. The fifth theme is the relationships that cowboys have with families and neighbors. The sixth them centers around the role the cowboy plays in the community and seventh is the woman alone. More and more, women are becoming part of the cowboy life other than the spouse waiting at home.
Cannon sang several songs that he had either written or accumulated and played the harmonica, an instrument popular with many cowboys. He also related several stories about local cowboys that he had heard over the past decades of his research. He sang a song named Blue Mountain by a local named Judge Fred Keller.
Another local cowboy that he had met in the past was Fame Price. Cannon played a recording he had made many years ago of Price playing the guitar and singing. Several of Price's family members were on hand and they, along with Cannon sang a song from the past that had been requested from the audience.
On May 15, the Emery County Historical Society will meet at the corral on SR-10, one half mile north of Castle Dale, and continue into the Huntington Creek drainage to visit historic ranches in that area. They will meet at 4 p.m.