Rick Huff’s “Best of the West Reviews,” Spring, 2019

Rick Huff reviews Western music and cowboy poetry releases in his “Rick Huff’s Best of the West Reviews” column in The Western Way from the Western Music Association and in other publications.

Rick Huff considers Western music books and recordings; cowboy poetry books, chapbooks, and recordings;  and relevant videos for review. For other materials, please query first: bestofthewest@swcp.com.

Please be sure to include complete contact information, price (plus postage) and order address information.

From Rick Huff, February, 2012:

Policy of the Column: It should be understood by artists sending material that it is being done for review consideration. Submitting such material does not ensure that it will be reviewed. Also, predominantly religious material is not accepted for review in the column. If further clarification is needed, contact Rick Huff, PO Box 8442, Albuquerque, NM 87198-8442.

Rick Huff
P.O. Box 8442
Albuquerque, NM 87198-8442

Find other recent reviews here and hundreds of previous reviews on CowboyPoetry.com.

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Selections from “Rick Huff’s Best of the West Reviews,” Spring, 2019, below:

•  A. K. Moss The Truth
  Tom Swearingen Language of the Land

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THE TRUTH
A.K. Moss

Beyond her convincing delivery and thoughtful verse, cowboy and poet A.K. Moss and producer Brenn Hill have obviously given a good deal of thought to production values for Moss’s release called The Truth. They frequently use (with permission) applicable clips and excerpts from other Western artists’ songs and verse, providing interesting atmospheric ushering. And acoustic guitarist Wes Aaasnes pops in periodically to finish weaving the sound tapestry.

Moss’s empowering “Wink Nod & Sigh” owes some of its inspiration to Georgie Sicking, and it features the voice of the late lady cowboy and poet in an excerpt from her own piece “Be Yourself.” Same goes for Joel Nelson, whose classic “Breaker In The Pen” is excerpted and serves a setting for Moss’s own “Soft Spoken Man.” In a gift from the effects department, an eerie wind speaks prescient volumes to the attuned in “The Mighty MC.” And a story extension worthy of O Henry stems from Tyson’s “Navajo Rug” in Moss’s work “The KT Diner.” Another CD pick (among the many—this one’s chock-full of ‘em) would have to be “He’ll Never Ride Again” that uses Brenn Hill’s “Into The Wind.”

If you haven’t yet done so, give a listen to A. K. (Kathy) Moss. From her own cowboy life experiences, in well-chosen and well-presented words, she does indeed speak “The Truth.”

Ten tracks. Highly recommended.

CD: available through akmossbooks.com

© 2019, Rick Huff

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LANGUAGE OF THE LAND
Tom Swearingen

Captured here for your enjoyment is another of the live performances from the Oregon cowboy poet Tom Swearingen.  In his latest release, Swearingen again shows his preference for gettin’ in and out quickly in verse, as most of the works make it in under the two-minute buzzer!  Present also is Swearingen’s believable, authentic style of presentation.

Collection picks this time include the title track “Language Of The Land” (one of the better descriptions of ‘range reading’ I’ve heard), “Ropin’ Mama’s Llama” (a yarn concerning his wife’s four-footed yarn supply), “Keep ‘Em Movin’ Slow Parts 1 & 2” (Part 1 is driving the herd into weather and Part 2 is driving them out…only fair), “Oh No You Don’t” (words of advice to a fleeing calf from his pursuer), “In The Shadow Of The Treeline” (a little cattle what-done-it) “Folks Who Do Know Horses” (why they will snow-roll…the horses, not the folks) and “Cowgirl From Nantucket” (talk about your real ‘me too movement’)!  The album closes with [a bonus track]:  Bruce Kiskaddon’s “The Gentle Hoss.”

Sixteen tracks.  Recommended.

CD:  $15 + s/h through oregoncowboypoet.com and downloads through iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby and others.

© 2019, Rick Huff

SONGS LESS TRAVELED by A.K.(Kathy) Moss

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SONGS LESS TRAVELED
by A.K.(Kathy) Moss

When I was young our dad would sing songs,
Of cowboys, horses and love gone wrong.
He’d take us back in time we would hear,
We rode along as he sang knowing he was near.

And we’d ride that Bad Brahma Bull, and the Chisholm Trail,
We went to Cowboy Heaven, tied a knot in the devils tail.
Rode that Strawberry Roan, wore that Continental Suit,
Heard the Jingle Jangle Jingle, saw the one the called The Brute.
We could hear the Coyotes Song and the Cattle Call.
Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle When the Works All Done This Fall.

When it was time for bed, or I was feeling low,
I would ask my dad to sing a song, a song of long ago
Before he would finish a smile would cross my face,
As we rode off together, another time another place.

And we’d ride that Bad Brahma Bull, and the Chisholm Trail,
We went to Cowboy Heaven, tied a knot in the devils tail.
Rode that Strawberry Roam, wore that Continental Suit,
Heard the Jingle Jangle Jingle, saw the one the called The Brute.
We would hear the Coyotes Song and the Cattle Call.
Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle When the Works All Done This Fall.

Now when I am traveling alone and there is nothing but time,
A tune come drifting in and gathers in my mind.
I hum along as those words are unraveled, then start singing a song, songs less travelled.

And I’d ride that Bad Brahma Bull, and the Chisholm Trail,
I’d go to Cowboy Heaven, tie a knot in the devils tail.
Ride that Strawberry Roan, wear that Continental Suit,
Heard the Jingle Jangle Jingle, see the one they called The Brute.
I’d hear the Coyotes Song and the Cattle Call.
Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle When the Works All Done This Fall.

Now times have changed from the wild west then
There is still a magic and a wonder of how it all had been.
So let those stories live and your imagination bring,
A distant memory as the cowboy sing.

And we’d ride that Bad Brahma Bull, and the Chisholm Trail,
We went to cowboy heaven, tied a knot in the devils tail.
Rode that Strawberry Roan, wore that Continental Suit,
Heard the Jingle Jangle Jingle, saw the one the called The Brute.
We would hear the Coyotes Song and the Cattle Call.
Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle When the Works All Done This Fall.

So hum along as those words are unraveled,
Then start singing a song, those songs less traveled.

© A.K. Moss
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Oregon’s Kathy moss comments, “This poem brings back memories of my dad when the radio didn’t work in the old ’63 Ford pickup with 6 kids packed in the cab with our mom. He would start singing word-for-word, never missed a beat. Two of his favorites were “Strawberry Roan” and “Say Hey Good Lookin'” by Hank Williams…great memories shared by so many.”

As varied as her own background—horsewoman, cowboy, poet, novelist, and more—Kathy Moss’s unique new CD, The Truth, presents diverse voices and moods in poems that speak of authentic experience and pay tribute to important influences in her life and work.

On half of the tracks, her original poetry is paired with the voices of other poets and singers. The voice of the late Georgie Sicking, an important inspiration, is heard on “Wink, Nod, and Sigh.” On the title poem, written for her friend Billie Flick, singer Joni Harms offers a complementary message to the title poem with her “Long Hard Ride.” A tribute to a another mentor, “Soft Spoken Man,” honors Joel Nelson and carries his voice, with words from his “The Breaker in the Pen” poem. Brenn Hill joins in on her “He’ll Never Ride Again” with his song “What a Man’s Got to Do.” The US Army Rangers and Wes Aasness chime in on “Partners.”

A tale worth hearing, “KT Diner,” carries on the story of Ian Tyson’s “Navajo Rug.” Kathy Moss’s distinctive voice with its storyteller charm infuses all of these poems.

The CD’s attractive package design is by Anita Crane. Find the CD at CDBaby or directly from Kathy Moss at akmoss12@gmail.com. Visit akmossbooks.com for more.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)