Balladeer and guitarist, composer, author and Cowboy Hall of Famer, Don Edwards career has spanned over four decades, entertaining audiences worldwide with authentic Western music and his vast knowledge of cowboy history and lore.
This weekend, he’ll bring the rich voice that earned him multiple Wrangler Awards from the national Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, a Grammy nomination and an Indie Award to the SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center. The event is open to the public.
An historian, author and musicologist, Edwards both knows and loves his craft. He has the soul of a poet, and is a man who has never succumbed to the temptations of presenting a glamorized or romanticized version of the West.
Leon Worden of Signal City TV in Santa Clarita, Calif., interviewed the legendary singer:
Worden: A lot of people consider you the premier cowboy singer. But you’re not a country/Western singer.
Edwards: No, Lord, no.
Worden: What’s the difference?
Edwards: If you start at the beginning, “country” meant rural. And now I don’t know what country it’s from. It changes. Country was the rural music of the South, originally. “Western” music was the romantic West. Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Sons of the Pioneers, that was more of the romantic West. And then you had cowboy music, which was basically cowboy folk music, which came out of the old country and into the Appalachians and from the Cumberlands to the cow camps. So that is that difference.
Worden: Those public-domain cowboy songs – when we think about those long trail drives, that was a fairly short time in history, right?
Edwards: Right. Late 1860s, right after the war for Southern independence – about that time, 1865 to about 1890. It was a very short time, maybe about two decades.
Worden: The origins of cowboy music stretch back much farther than the trail-riding days here in America, don’t they?
Edwards: Oh, sure. Most of it – it came from all over Europe, of course – but the majority of it was from England, Scotland and Ireland. It came to the Appalachian mountains in the early days, and the old Irish ballads and things, when they came out West, a lot of those melodies stayed intact – but they put their own words to them to fit their own surroundings. But many of them stayed intact. That’s why I say, a lot of times, (you’ve) gotta know who brung ya.
Worden: How long have you been doing this?
Edwards: Well, 45 years or so.
Worden: Of course, Gene Autry was an entertainer; he didn’t ride the range.
Edwards: I really didn’t either, to that degree. I was born in the East. I came to Texas when I was 17, and I just loved that life of the cowboy. I revere the working cowboy as a person who has a thankless occupation.
If you go
What: Cowboy singer Don Edwards
When: Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.
Where: SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center, 38759 S. MountainView Blvd.
Tickets: $18 in advance, $20 at the door, if available. Open to the public.
For more information, call 825-2818.