SHE NEEDS TO RIDE by Deanna Dickinson McCall

jsshesahand“She’s a Hand,” © 1993,  Joelle Smith (1958-2005)


by Deanna Dickinson McCall

She watches cows on the hill thru the window pane,
thru the drizzling rain
Looks to see if there’s calves by their sides,
thinks maybe she should ride

Been told again it is time to go eat,
she needs to find her seat
She notes the green has begun,
it just needs some sun

She wonders if they are her cows,
or maybe her daddy’s, she allows
Can’t see a brand from here,
or any mark on the ear

Go catch her horse in a bit,
she never did like to just sit
Her slicker was in the saddle shed,
right by the cat’s bed

The walker’s wheels begin to slide,
she’s thinking she’ll ride
There’s a tug on her sleeve,
someone telling her she can’t leave

She decides to try ol’ Dunny today,
she doesn’t care what they say
When she needs to ride, she’ll ride,
they can’t keep her inside

Supple leather in her hands,
a communication she understands
His willingness to always please,
that unity ‘tween her knees

She wonders if that’s right,
the memories begin to fight
A sorrel, a paint, a buckskin, a bay,
who’d she ride yesterday?

Smell of institutional food is in the air,
it seems to hang there
A tv blares from the wall,
there’s handrails in the hall

She hears the laughter and some clangs,
singing and some little bangs
She knows the sound of pans and tin,
the smell of coffee drifting in

Knows she’s expected at the table,
but, her mind’s at the stable
Wondering about the horse eating,
not silly place-name seating

The cattle on the hill are black,
she tried to think back
Red necks only came to mind,
she didn’t remember that kind

She stares down at the wrinkled hand,
at the worn thin wedding band
Tries to conjure up his face,
to only find an empty place

He’d been gone for so darn long,
she was alone but strong
The visions were so bleary,
recollecting made her so weary

She found a seat facing the hill,
eyes closing against her will
Rest a bit ‘fore going outside,
she really needed to ride

No one thought anything of her nap,
hands slowly sliding off her lap,
The gentleness of her smile
as she rode her very last mile.

© 2020, Deanna Dickinson McCall, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Multi award-winning poet and writer and fifth generation rancher Deanna Dickinson McCall considers “the women who ride no more” in her new poem.

She has some exciting things in the works, including two forthcoming publications, to be announced, and New Mexico’s Timberon Western Experience, June 26-27, 2020 with Jim Jones, Randy Huston, and Jim Wilson.

Find more about Deanna Dickinson McCall at and at her web site,

A frequent featured performer at many gatherings across the West, Deanna Dickinson McCall is a part of the new Lone Star Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which takes place February 21-22, 2020 in Alpine, Texas. The gathering has been created by an enthusiastic, hard-working group of people who came together after the announcement of the end of the venerable Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering last year. The first annual program’s outstanding lineup includes Mike Blakely, Dale Burson, Craig Carter, Allan Chapman & Rodeo Kate, Doug Figgs, Jack George, Pipp Gillette, Jeff Gore, Amy Hale Steiger, Andy Hedges, Randy Huston, Jim Jones, Jill Jones, Jarle Kvale, Deanna McCall, Terry Nash, Andy Nelson, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Gary Prescott, Jean Prescott, Mike Querner, Vess Quinlan, Brigid & Johnny “Guitar” Reedy, Randy Rieman, Jake Riley, Trinity Seely, R.P. Smith, Jay Snider, Red Steagall, Gail Steiger, Michael Stevens, Rod Taylor, The Cowboy Way (Jim Jones, Doug Figgs and Mariam Funke) Andy Wilkinson, and Jim Wilson. Get down there and support this new gathering!

This painting, “She’s a Hand,” is by much-missed artist and horsewoman Joelle Smith (1958-2005). It was the subject of a 2010 Art Spur. The painting was inspired by Oregon cowgirl Mindy Kershner’s participation in the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo. It was also the image selected for the 2009 “Cowboy Keeper Award” from the National
Day of the Cowboy organization. Find more about Joelle Smith at

Joelle Smith was our first Cowboy Poetry Week poster artist and her niece, Clara Smith was the 2018  poarwe artist. Find more about her at and find her impressive work at

Thanks to Sally Smith, mother of Joelle Smith and grandmother of Clara Smith, for her generous permissions.

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

OLD ONES by Deanna Dickinson McCall


by Deanna Dickinson McCall

Before most life begins to stir
The music of bit and spur
Would sound and carry on
In the early light before dawn.

Voices floated on the air
Like a melody hung there
Soft Texas drawls
Held in by canyon walls.

The Old Ones readied to ride
Grass ropes coiled at their sides
Split reins in gloved hands
They rode for their own brand.

On strong horses they rode away
Into the foothill mist of day,
I cried in vain for them to wait
As they trotted out the gate.

They turned and I saw their eyes
And knew this was the final goodbye
Dad and Granddaddy riding away
Me pleading for them to stay.

With my heart pounding
I heard their words sounding
And felt the crash in my chest
As mere words pierced my breast.

I woke with deep regret
Soaked with stale sweat
For they had spoken true
And I knew what I must do.

The Old Ones were gone again
The last of clan and kin
Men of horses and stock
My shield and my rock.

Their message was clear
“Go on without fear”
They had taught me well
And in my heart would dwell.

We still run a cow outfit
And all the old ways still fit
In a different land and time
Taught by the Old Ones of mine.

Before most life begins to stir
The music of bit and spur
Sounds and carries on
In the early light before dawn.

© Deanna Dickinson McCall
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

Fourth-generation rancher and award-winning poet and writer Deanna Dickinson McCall has received numerous accolades. Earlier this year, her CD, I’ll Ride Thru It, was awarded the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Museum. Her writing has also been recognized with awards from the Academy Of Western Artists, the International Western Music Association, Women Writing The West, the Will Rogers Medallion Award, and the New Mexico Book Co-Op New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.

She also has a highly praised book of stories and poems, Mustang Spring, three other books, and an another award-winning CD of her poetry, Riding. Her work appears in many anthologies and magazines and she’s a popular performer at gatherings. She is currently at work on a novel.

As her bio tells, “Besides ranching in several states, she’s ridden for paychecks, sold feed and received cattle at sales yards to make ends meet when necessary.”

Back in 2006, Deanna Dickinson McCall shared this circa 1912 photo of her grandfather. It became the cover photo of The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three.


Deanna told us about the photograph, “The picture was a post card—that was quite a fad—of my grandfather Perry Preston Dickinson. He went by ‘P.P.’ He was born in Denton County, Texas in 1896 to a ranching family. He got itchy feet and rode to Arizona at the age of 12 and stayed there quite a while. He “courted” my Granny back in Texas and had the card made for her. The picture was taken in the vicinity of Grand Canyon. It is signed ‘The 10X Bronc fighter,’ as he was the rough string rider and was working on the 10X ranch at the time. (Men weren’t boys for very long in those days!) He was a great influence in my life and taught me many of the old stories, songs, and how to ride.
He later was a Marshall and a special agent of the Texas Rangers.”

Find more about Deanna Dickinson McCall at; at her web site,; and on Facebook.

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

COW FOLKS KNOW-HOW by Darrell Arnold

davemPictured: David McCall; read more below


by Darrell Arnold

The task we perform is not simple
The way to learn how long and rough
We’re men of the land, that’s for certain
Hard working, God fearing, and tough

We’re ranchers, we’re cowboys, we’re people
God blessed with a love for the land
With horses and cattle we use it
With God’s help we rise and we stand

By readin’ the sky in the distance,
By catchin’ a scent in the air
By hearin’ and feelin’ the wind pickin’ up
We know that a storm’s comin’ near

We know how to study the grasses
We know by their color and look
The unprinted signs to change ranges
Writ large in the great cowboy book

We know what a range cow is sayin’
When she glances back toward the brush
Her baby’s back there somewhere, hidin’
Get close and she’ll charge in a rush

We know that a cow might be ailin’
But her step or the droop of her head
That brindle cow’s bag shows mastitis
Come mornin’ she’ll prob’ly be dead

We know to match pairs before leavin’
After movin’ the herd to new ground
Or they’ll try to go back to the old place
Where last a calf’s drink could be found

We understand how to read horses
Who talk just by licking their lips
Or cocking one ear your direction
Or clamping their tails ‘gainst their hips

Start a colt in a hack or a snaffle
But don’t ride him much till he’s four
Let his mind and his body develop
Have a good horse for many years more

We have to know somethin’ ‘bout shoein’ —
Hang iron but don’t cripple your mount
At the gate don’t lose track of the tally
On the palm of your hand write the count

We know just enough about vet work —
C-section a cow in distress —
Or doctor a wound on your pony
He’ll heal if you give it your best

We know that these critters will hurt us
There’s no doubt that our turn will come
Scars and broke bones are a given
It happens to all, not just some

The cows feed our bellies and bank rolls
The horses are good for the soul
We first tend the needs of the critters
Then care for ourselves last of all

But, slowly, the cattle and horses
Will teach us the knowledge we need
Their lives are what we all depend on
All part of the cowboy’s creed.

© 2019, Darrell Arnold
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Darrell Arnold, poet, photographer, and the editor of the much-missed Cowboy Magazine, shares this recent poem. We asked him to tell us about the inspiration for the poem and to bring readers up to date on what he’s doing now, and he replied:

I set out to write a poem about the highly exalted cowboy. It included a few verses about vaqueros and Californios and buckaroos, all told in first person cowboy and kinda braggin’ about being an elite kind of person that other men wanted to be. I soon realized that what I had was two poems in one. I extracted the braggin’ verses and made it into a cowboy-around-the-fire drinkin’ song called “We Are The Highly Exalted.” The verses I had left became “Cow Folks Know-how,” about the knowledge one gains while tending cattle. Noted cowboy poet Terry Nash said the poem was “stocked with truth.” I took that as a high compliment.

As for myself, I’ve moved from Colorado to northern Arizona and am editing The Corriente Corresponder, a newsletter of the North American Corriente Association. I am also writing poems in a style that makes them easy to set music to, and am then sending them to friends who are cowboy/cowgirl singers. Those singers are turning them into songs. I currently have eight works out with Randy Huston, Jean Prescott, and Tom Hiatt. Tom recorded “Cow Work” for his Goodnight from Texas album, after reading it at and realizing it fit in with his other two tribute songs to noted Nevada buckaroo and author Mackey Hedges. The trilogy appears on that CD.

Jean Prescott and I won the Western Writers of America 2018 song- of-the-year award for “The Pitchfork Grays.” That same song garnered a song-of-the-year award from the International Western Music Association in the same year. It is my hope that, a hundred years from now, there might be a cowboy singer out there somewhere singing one of my songs and wondering, “Who in the hell was Darrell Arnold?” I have also written a lot of poetry that isn’t song material, and I hope, eventually, to publish that collection in a second book of poems.

Find more about Darrell Arnold and Cowboy Magazine (with a comprehensive list of issues; there are complete sets and some single issues are available) at He also has a book, The Cowboy Kind, which he says “…contains photos and interviews with cowboy folks I’ve written stories about for both Western Horseman and Cowboy Magazine,” and a collection of 49 poems, Cowboy Poultry Gatherin’.

Pictured above is popular cowboy and New Mexico rancher David McCall. In this 2011 photograph, he is shown on Pardner, son Rusty McCall’s (1986-2013) horse, and with Blue. The McCall family comes from a long line of cowboys and ranchers, and all current generations, including award-winning Deanna Dickinson McCall, write and recite cowboy poetry. Read her poem written about the same time as this photo was
taken and mentions Pardner, “For Rusty,” at

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

I’LL RIDE THRU IT, by Deanna Dickinson McCall


by Deanna Dickinson McCall

I seek out the strong broad chest
Sweet breath and gentle eye
Strong neck where my head can rest
On the horse’s strength I rely.

I’ll ride thru it.

When the cold makes my bones ache
But there’s work to be done
For those cows’ and calves’ sake
I’ll finish what’s begun.

I’ll ride thru it.

When struggling to understand
Life’s peaks and falls
My soul seeks the range land
I answer her siren call

I’ll ride thru it.

When dreams fill me with pain
Of loved ones now gone
Tears fall like a soft rain
In the early light of dawn

I’ll ride thru it.

When dust sticks to my sweat
Heat bouncing off the ground
Horse’s shoulders dripping wet
No breeze is to be found

I’ll ride thru it.

When my life’s fading away
I’m about to be set free
I hope on that last day
In that saddle I’ll still be

and I’ll ride thru it.

© 2017, Deanna Dickinson McCall
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Congratulations to poet, writer, and fourth-generation New Mexico rancher Deanna Dickinson McCall, whose CD, I’ll Ride Thru It, has been awarded the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Museum. The awards will be presented at events April 12 – 13, 2019 at the museum in Oklahoma City. Among others, popular songwriters Dave Stamey will receive the Chester A. Reynolds Award and Michael Martin Murphey will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Deanna McCall comments about this poem, “Riding has always gotten me through tough times; the important part is to keep riding, and not to stop. Horses have always been healing to me, and we have traveled life’s roughest trails together.”

See a track list from the CD and our review from last year.

Deanna McCall has two recent collections of stories, Rough Patches and Rough Patches II, and a book of poems accompanied by JaNeil Anderson’s paintings, Split Range.

She also has a highly praised book of stories and poems, Mustang Spring and an another award-winning CD of her poetry, Riding. Her work appears in many anthologies and magazines and she’s a popular performer at gatherings.

Find Deanna McCall next weekend at the 33rd annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, February 22-23, 2019 in Alpine, Texas.

Performers include Apache Adams, Gary Allegretto, Amy Hale Auker, Eli Barsi, Floyd Beard, “Straw” Berry, Mike Blakely, Dale Burson, Don Cadden, Bob Campbell, Craig Carter, Zack Casey, Allan Chapman & Rodeo Kate, Justin Cole, High Country Cowboys, Doris Daley, Mikki Daniel, John Davis, Kevin Davis, Doug Figgs, Ray Fitzgerald, Rolf Flake, Ryan & Hoss Fritz, Belinda Gail, Pipp Gillette, Jeff Gore, Kristyn Harris, Andy Hedges, High Country Cowboys, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Randy & Hanna Huston, Chris Isaacs, Jill Jones & Three Hands High, Jim Jones, Linda Kirkpatrick, Ross Knox, Daron Little, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Pat Meade, Glenn Moreland, Terry Nash, Joel Nelson, Sam Noble, Kay Nowell, Jean Prescott, Gary Prescott, Mike Querner, Luke Reed, Randy Rieman, Gary Robertson, Trinity Seely, R.P. Smith, Jay Snider, Gail Steiger, Michael Stevens, Caitlyn Taussig, Rod Taylor, Doug Tolleson, Keith Ward, and Jim Wilson.

Find more about Deanna Dickinson McCall at; at her web site; and on Facebook.

This photograph of Deanna Dickinson McCall is by respected photograph Walter Workman. Find more about Walter Workman at, where there are impressive photo galleries, and also on Facebook.

(Please respect copyright; you can share this poem and photograph with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)

ADVICE, by Deanna Dickinson McCall


by Deanna Dickinson McCall

The corrals were full enough to bust,
And we’d all had our share of dust.
But, we’d got all the pairs in
And the separating was about to begin.

Our new son-in-law was working the gate
Trying hard to discriminate
When an angry mama came charging up
Mad over the hold up.

Hearing the commotion I rode through the dust
And shared some advice he could trust,
“Son, don’t crowd her, whatever you do,
When her head is held high she’ll take the fence or you.”

Better off to just let stand, cool down a bit
She’s not afraid of horse or man, let her have her fit.
It’s Nature’s way to attack or run, fear and anger is part of life.
I know it’s not exactly fun, but, remember she is your wife.”

© Deanna Dickinson McCall, used with permission.
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Fifth-generation rancher and writer Deanna Dickinson McCall never lacks for inspiration for her poetry and writing; her family is a great source. She and husband Dave, who just celebrated 43 years of marriage, have given the West new generations of ranchers and of cowboy poets and reciters, as well.

See Deanna Dickinson McCall at the 30th annual National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration, September 7-9, 2018, in Lubbock, Texas.

The full list of entertainment includes Gerry Allen, Rusty Battenfield, Robert Beene, Jack Blease, Dr. Heidi Brady, Broken Chair Band, Norman Brown, Jimmy Burson, Bob Campbell, Michael Carlton, Craig Carter & Zack Casey, Billy Cate, Jim Cathey, Allan Chapman & Rodeo Kate, Fort Concho, Henry Crawford, Nathan Dahlstrom, Janice Deardorff, Mike Dunn, John Erickson, Doug Figgs, Karen Casey Fitzjerrell, Pip Gillette, Carol Glover, David Hansford, Sid Hausman, Prairie Heirs, Chris Isaacs, Washtub Jerry, Jim Jones, Leroy Jones, Legends of Texas, Stan Mahler, Kenny Maines, Deanna Dickinson McCall, “Straw” Berry, Pat Meade, Bob Miller, Mike Moutoux, Glenn Moreland, Joel Nelson, Ballet Folklorico Nuestra Henricia, Bill O’Neal (Texas State Historian), Quanah Parker Society, Mike Querner, Stan Paregien, Jane Pattie, Gary “JC” Penney, Donnie Poindexter, Jeff Posey, Prairie Moon, Wayne Thompson, David Waddle, Dr. Scott White, Jim Wilson, Bob Wyre and The Fence Post.

Her recent CD release is I’ll Ride Thru It.” See a track list and review here at She has two recent collections of stories, Rough Patches and Rough Patches II, and a book of poems accompanied by JaNeil Anderson’s paintings, Split Range.

Deanna also has a highly praised book of stories and poems, Mustang Spring, and an another award-winning CD of her poetry, Riding. Her work appears in many anthologies and magazines and she’s a popular performer at gatherings, often appearing at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, where she appeared earlier this month; and the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where she is featured at both in 2019; and other events.

Find more about Deanna Dickinson McCall at and at her web site,

This 2017 photo of the McCalls branding in a trap is courtesy of Deanna Dickinson McCall.

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




photo courtesy of David and Deanna Dickinson McCall

by Jane Morton

My mother said she realized
with my Dad the cows came first.
If cows and she both needed drinks,
she knew who’d die of thirst.

In any contest with the cows,
Mom came out second-best.
She never gave up trying, though,
To that I can attest.

If Mom had planned a dinner,
or if they’d been invited out,
Dad promised he’d be on time,
but she had cause to doubt.

So many different happenings
had spoiled what she had planned,
She came to think that fate itself
might well have played a hand.

It wasn’t fate, it was my Dad.
He’d start a task too late.
And thinking he had time enough,
he didn’t want to wait.

He’d run into some problem there
he hadn’t counted on,
And sure enough, before he knew,
the daylight would be gone.

By time he got back to the house,
my mom would be irate.
She knew not which excuse he’d use,
but could anticipate—

“I drove out to the pasture where
my Chevy truck broke down.
Before a neighbor came along,
I’d walked halfway to town.

“That ornery Angus bull I bought
went through the fence today.
Of course I had to get him home.
He fought me all the way.

“I stopped to check a windmill,
and I found a stock tank dry.
The cattle have to drink you know.”
I’d hear my mother sigh.

“A calving heifer needed help,
so sure, I had to stay.
I promised I’d be home, I know,
but couldn’t get away.”

He had to pull a windmill
or he had to pull a calf
Mom heard it all so many times
she almost had to laugh.

Dad said he thought that Mom had ought
to take things in her stride.
That proved impossible for her,
no matter how she tried.

And when the two got on in years,
Mom was the first to go.
She’d asked for flowers on her stone,
but did she get them? No!

Dad bought one stone for both of them,
and he had it engraved.
A cow and the windmill took the place
of flowers she had craved.

When Mother said the cows came first;
she knew my dad too well.
Above her final resting place,
that cow will always dwell.

© 2003, Jane Morton, used with permission.

Colorado poet and writer Jane Morton often writes about her family’s ranch history, which began with her great great grandfather, Joshua Eaton Ambrose, a circuit-riding Baptist minister who left Illinois and headed to Colorado in 1872. She wrote this poem about her father, William Ernest Ambrose (1904-1994). She has commented that she really began to “know” her father when she stared writing about him.

She writes, “He loved his land, and he loved his work. His satisfaction with his life was reflected in his face. Perhaps that was why, when many his age had retired to rocking chairs, he was still going strong. Occasionally someone suggested that he retire and take it easy. Usually, he didn’t bother to reply. He’d said it once, and once was enough. ‘Someday,’ he said, ‘they’ll probably find me wrapped around one of these fence posts, but I’ll never quit.'”

Find more about William Ernest Ambrose in a feature at  This poem is included in a feature about Jane Morton’s mother, Eva Lena Wolowsky Ambrose (1904-1988). Find more about Jane Morton at

This photo by New Mexico rancher David McCall was taken last week at their Timberon-area ranch, an area experiencing a serious drought. Poet, writer and the other half of the McCall operation, Deanna Dickinson McCall, a couple of generations ahead of the Ambroses and a woman who has always worked her ranch alongside her husband, commented on the photo, “Waiting for rain, praying it comes soon! David McCall and the boys. I learned at an early age you can’t starve a profit into a cow.” What hasn’t changed: the cows come first. She told us, “We are just hoping the monsoons will arrive on time, or early. The spring that feeds the pipeline is almost dry, too low to feed the line, so we will begin hauling water. This has been the driest, windiest spring/summer we have seen, and the fire threat is so frightening.”

The McCalls have many generations of ranchers before them and generations of cowboy poets and reciters in front of them, in their children, including the late Rusty McCall, Katie McCall Owen, and Terri Anne Knight and grandchildren. Find more about the family and more about Deanna Dickinson McCall and her poems and stories at

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IT’S 5 O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE by Deanna Dickinson McCall

ww111916photo © Walter Workman,; request permission for use.


by Deanna Dickinson McCall

I hear them clatter off the hill
Hooves scattering rocks
Acting silly like horses will
Sliding down on hocks.

The day is over and they’ll arrive
Snorting and playing at the tank
Almost take a nose-dive
While acting mean and rank.

Like good Baptists or boozers
They gather at the water hole
There are no sinners or losers
From stud to mare to foal.

I see them splash and play
Fight for the best place
‘Fore settling down today
After the wild foot race.

Drawing long satisying pulls
With legs still spread and askew
Sucking a bloating bellyful
Like some folks I once knew.

I believe I saw the stud wink
At the pretty young mare
And I’m sure they do think
It is 5 o’clock somewhere.

© 2016, Deanna Dickinson McCall, used with permission

There are few better representatives of the people of today’s real working West than Deanna Dickinson McCall, a fifth-generation rancher, writer, and poet who currently ranches with her husband Dave McCall on their remote New Mexico ranch.

In recent years, Deanna Dickinson McCall’s artistic output has been a bountiful force of creativity. She has released recordings, books of stories and poems, and a book with artist JaNiel Anderson that pairs poems and paintings. She’s been recognized by organizations and her peers with awards,including the Georgie Sicking Award and the Will Rogers Medallion Award. Earlier this month, she was honored for her life and work with the Heritage Award from the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where she is often a featured poet.


Her latest release is I’ll Ride Thru It, a CD with fourteen strong tracks of cattle, horses, humor, romance, history, and rough country. The poems are fresh, written and presented in in her unique style, authentic, and informed by a life rich with challenges and rewards.

The lead poem is “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” which first appeared in Split Reins, with a painting by JaNeil Anderson. “Last Horse in Dad’s String” comes through with moving sentiment, strong and real. “Cake” starts with wild cattle and ends on a note of humor and good advice. “The Good Years,” which deals with drought, goes beyond nostalgia with a message of faith and gratitude, a way of thinking that has no doubt guided the writer through many hard times. A phrase from “His Queen,” a poem both gentle and powerful, says something about women like Deanna McCall and would delight the late female cowboy icon Georgie Sicking, “…always tender but tough when times are rough.” “I’ll Ride Thru It” is a proud philosophy of true grit:

When dust sticks to my sweat
Heat bouncing off the ground
Horse’s shoulders dripping wet
No breeze is to be found

I’ll ride thru it…

“True Stories” sparkles with humor, an affectionate view of cowboys and their tales. And there’s more.

The widely varied poems are presented with a steady continuity. The flow is further complemented by a particular bonus: the musical accompaniment throughout by Jim Jones and Randy Huston. It is an art to pair music with poetry, an art that is rarely accomplished well. But in this case, the bond among these three artists and friends comes through with a perfect harmony. Jones and Huston create a true soundtrack, filled with imaginative tunes and moods and creative riffs that enhance—but never distract from—the poetry.

I’ll Ride Thru It comes together with grace. At the heart of this CD is the story of survival: of the spirit, of people, of horses and cattle, and of a way of life. Deanna Dickinson McCall’s poetry shines in this satisfying and original project.

Find the CD and more about Deanna McCall at and on Facebook  and at  See the track list with our review here.

This fitting photograph is by respected photographer Walter Workman, taken at Arizona’s Babbitt Ranch. He shot some impressive photographs of Deanna and Dave McCall for a 2016 Western Horseman feature. Find more about Walter Workman on Facebook and at, where there are not-to-be-missed photo galleries.