Bridger and long-time friend, Ol' Max Evans, author of The Rounders and The Hi Lo Country, at the 2012 Western Writers of America Convention in Albuquerque.
Bridger and long-time friend Daryle Ann Lindley. Daryle Ann is the late Slim Pickens daughter and was the star of Max Evans 1972 film, The Wheel, and Bridger sang the film's theme.
Bridger and legendary character actor, L. Q. Jones at the Western Writers of America's symposium/tribute for Ol' Max Evans in Albuquerque.
(Click image to order from Fulcrum Books)
TO BE PUBLISHED IN OCTOBER, 2011 BY FULCRUM PUBLISHING
Weaving the prophecies of the Lakota holy man Black Elk into a chronicle of American Indians in the American cultural psyche from the era of Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull and the Wild West through the creation of the “Western,” John Wayne, Dances With Wolves, Avatar, and modern mythmaking, Where the Tall Grass Grows explores the impact of indigenous American mythology on contemporary identity and the birth and development of modern popular entertainment, particularly the Hollywood film industry. The book also surveys and deconstructs the myth of the "imperialist" cowboy while exploring the American heroic archetype from the Revolutionary era into the 21st century.
Bridger Hanging Up His Buckskins
After thirty-eight years of performances all over the globe, why has Bridger made the decision to hang up his buckskins? Perhaps a well-known lyric from Bridgers Heal in the Wisdom best answers the question: there is a reason, there is a rhyme, there is a season, and there is a time.
The last performance of Bobby Bridgers highly-acclaimed one man shows of his epic trilogy, A Ballad of the West is scheduled to take place at Fort Bridger, Wyoming on July 4, 2011. Whereas Bridger retired performances of his one man show of Pahaska in 2006, the epic balladeer will offer a free final performance of Seekers of the Fleece and Lakota for the general public at Fort Bridger State Historical Site in Fort Bridger, Wyoming. Several days later Bridger will present the very last performance of Seekers of the Fleece exclusively for the annual gathering of the National Bridger Family Association. After that concert the balladeer will deliver his beaded buckskin costumes and coyote headdress, as well as CDs, DVDs, books, posters, and other memorabilia on indefinite loan to the Fort Bridger Historical Association for museum display.
Bridger Productions, in association with London-based, Qube Pictures, and Colorado-based, T-Bone Productions, proudly announce the DVD release of Bobby Bridger's highly-acclaimed epic trilogy, A Ballad of the West. In May, 2004 Bridger, director/producer, Peter Wilson, legendary Texas musicians John Inmon and Bob Livingston (The Lost Gonzo Band), stellar Austin studio musicians Darcy Deville (Austin Lounge Lizards) and Steve Samuel (Natalie Cole), and a crew composed of four cameramen, two sound engineers, and six technical assistants traveled to Nick Meagher's majestic 3,000 acre T-Bone Ranch in Antonito, Colorado. Whether driving or flying, many involved in the project carried video cameras to shoot footage to submit to Wilson's documentary, The Making of A Ballad of the West, that, paired with Wilson's documentary based on Bridger's life and work, Quest of an Epic Balladeer, is also part of the five-disc, boxed-set DVD production of A Ballad of the West.
In addition, Bobby's script for the DVD of A Ballad of the West was a finalist for the Western Writers of America's prestigious "Silver Spur" award for Best Documentary Script.
Also, don't miss!!
Early 2009 Update!
My long-awaited autobiography, Bridger, just arrived. You can order the book from any bookstore in the world now, or from my website). Nevertheless, if you order on line directly from from the University of Texas Press website, you'll receive a very healthy discount. Please note that the book also contains a DVD that features three songs from the forthcoming DVD release of A Ballad of the West, plus a trailer for the documentary film, Quest of an Epic Balladeer, that will accompany the boxed set of the epic trilogy.
I hope you'll order yourself a copy and consider helping me spread the word that the book has been published.
Thank you for your interest and support over the years. Please check my website regularly for any further developments with these new works.
There is a lot of Bobby Bridger news to report for the first half of 2008. In late February Bridger appeared on the popular PBS program American Experiencewith a host of noted scholars discussing the life, times, and legacy of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
Bobby's autobiography, Bridger, is "in the chute" and being prepared to meet its March, 2009 publication date. The DVD production of A Ballad of the West is also in the final stages of post-production and editing is nearly complete. The documentary film, Quest of an Epic Balladeer, based on Bobby's life and work, is also in the final editing stages and being prepared for release with the A Ballad of the West production at the end of the year. (Please log on to either www.qubepictures.com, or www.myspace.com/bobbybridger to view a seven-minute trailer to the "Quest" film.)
On July 4th, Bobby, Lost Gonzo Bob Livingston, noted Blackfeet Indian singer/songwriter, Jack Gladstone, and Montana cowboy singer, T.J. Casey performed as part of Nick's Wild West Show and Freedom Fest for Iraq veterans at Ft Hood, Texas.
July 10-14 Bobby was in Washington DC marching with Dennis Banks, Harry Belafonte, Daryl Hannah, Danny Glover, and Dick Gregory and also performing for scores of representatives from Indian Nations arriving from all over America as part of The Longest Walk Two. The Longest Walk Two was a duplication of the original trek 30 years ago when American Indians, following northern and southern routes, walked across America to present legal and social grievances to Congress. Aside from honoring the original Longest Walk, the 2008 walkers honored departed Indian leaders Vernon Bellecourt, Vine Deloria Jr., and Floyd Red Crow Westerman, and hoped to call attention to preserving sacred sites and healing Mother Earth. Bridger pulled double-duty during the two days of concerts and powwows on the National Mall in Washington serving as a master of ceremonies and also performing original music from his A Ballad of the West.
Bobby with Daryl Hannah
Bobby with Danny Glover
What's Coming Up for Bobby
January, 2008 will start off with a bang for me with the airing of the documentary film, Buffalo Bill, on American Experience on PBS on February 25. I was honored to be invited to participate in the film with such noted scholars and historians as Dr. Paul Fees (former Senior Curator of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center), L.G. Moses (author, Wild West Shows and Images of American Indians 1883-1933), Louis Warren (Buffalo Bill's America), Judi Winchester (Senior Curator Buffalo Bill Historical Center) , Patricia Limerick (Legacy and Conquest), Charles Scoggin, and Guy Dull Knife (great-grandson of Buffalo Bill's friend, Dull Knife). I'm also happy to have submitted the final draft of Bridger: An Autobiography (working title) to the University of Texas Press in late 2007. The book will be published in early 2009. I was also very pleased with the live-performance of Lakota in late October in Morehead, Kentucky on the Americana Crossroads radio program syndicated on 30 NPR affiliates nationwide. Visit the Americana Crossroads websitefor a listing of the NPR stations airing the performance.
Hoka Hey Red Crow! (August 17, 1936-December 13, 2007)
On December 13, 2007 my dear kola Floyd Red Crow Westerman moved camp to the spirit world. As Red Crow and Vine Deloria, Jr. were lifelong friends, Melissa, Gabe, and I planted a spruce tree in his memory in our back yard next to the oak we planted for Vine two years ago. The trees are particularly significant now because they remind me of the last time I saw Red Crow.
Bobby Bridger and Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Kerrville Folk Festival, 1990 photo: Marylou Park
After Vine's memorial services in Golden in November, 2005 Red Crow and I discovered we would both be driving south the next day; he and his wife, Rosie, were taking a pair of their cherished German Shepard's to a dog sitter friend in Amarillo, Texas, so we planned to travel that far together before I headed on to Houston and he and Rosie drove back to Los Angeles. Several miles before we reached Amarillo I signaled a pull-over at the South Canadian River so that we could part after Floyd conducted a personal prayer service for our friend Vine. We drove down to the red, sandy, riverbanks and found a massive Cottonwood. Red Crow pulled Rosie and I close to the tree and said a few soft words in Lakota as he explained that the Sioux always send prayers through trees. Then he burned tobacco and sage and offered prayers in Vine's memory.
Red Crow could turn a swank hotel steam room into a Lakota sweat lodge. In fact he did that very thing on at least two separate occasions when we got together to visit. He was always in intimate communication with the Great Spirit and I believe that motivated his every action - particularly as a representative of American Indian people. As a tribute to Red Crow I have added a 1993 interview I did with him at the Hoka Hey! Section of the website.
Bobby Bridger serenades Lady Bird, Helen Hayes in Stonewall, Texas 1983
America was deep in preparation for her Bi-Centennial celebration the afternoon in winter, 1975 that I received a phone call from beloved Texas humorist, Cactus Pryor. I had known Cactus since moving to Texas in 1970 and we had become close friends as I had appeared several times on his Austin television show. Cactus wanted to know if I could wear my buckskin outfit to represent early Texas pioneers for an event Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson was hosting in Austin to raise funds for Texas's official Bi-Centennial celebration. And so I was fortunate to meet to one of the loveliest spirits I have ever encountered - Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson.
From that evening forward Cactus acted as my "agent" when Mrs. Johnson wanted me to perform for some event in Austin, or for a private gathering she was hosting at the ranch in Stonewall. Mrs. Johnson's vision of a National Wildflower Center was coming into reality, and as her dream evolved I was privileged to frequently be called upon to entertain guests at the ranch. The afternoon this photograph was taken with First-Lady Johnson and the "First Lady" of the American theater, Ms. Helen Hayes, was indeed one I will never forget. Soon after the shot was taken we departed with a small group to a pasture on the ranch. Sitting in a summer field of Mexican hats and Black-eyed Susan's with Mrs. Johnson and listening to Ms. Hayes read wildflower poetry was a moment I will never forget.
Last week when I heard Mrs. Johnson had died, I shed a few tears. I suspect we all wept on some level upon learning of her passing. She truly was an angel among us. Even though we had her with us for ninety-four years, we were right to hold on to her as long as possible. Now she will live forever in the wildflowers.
A Lost Gonzo Reunion
John Inmon, Bob Livingston, Bobby Bridger, and Gary P. Nunn May, 2007, Houston, Texas, Photo: Melissa Tatum
Website News Updates - July 2007
Aside from performing at the Museum of Fine Arts/Houston in December as part of the acclaimed traveling exhibition, The Modern West, most of Winter, 2006/Spring, 2007 has been spent assisting with the editing the DVD project of A Ballad of the West, and Quest of an Epic Balladeer. This has been complicated by the fact that the documentary's producer and director, co-director, co-producer, and editor of A Ballad of the West, Peter Wilson, has been in Barcelona and London. Yet, given the brave, new world in which we live these days, Peter and I have been able to communicate clearly via Email and telephone and both projects are moving along nicely.
Still, many hours have been devoted to seeking licenses for paintings, photographs, and landscape and wildlife scenics to be edited into the performance footage of the one-man shows shot on location at the T-Bone Ranch in Antonito, Colorado three years ago. The performance footage, with a sterling four-piece band, featuring John Inmon, Bob Livingston, Steve Samuel , and Darcie Deville, is edited and the soundtrack has been mixed and mastered in both stereo and 5.1 sound. Filmmaking is a slow process, but well worth the effort. When completed, the package will include the three and a half-hours of A Ballad of the West, the ninety-minute documentary, Quest of an Epic Balladeer, and the thirty-minute documentary, Making of A Ballad of the West.
Much of Winter, 2006 and early 2007 was also spent in near-daily communication with incoming President of the Western Writers of America, Johnny D. Boggs, past-President of WWA, Mike Blakely, and noted author/singer/songwriter, Jon Chandler, as we discussed and created the submission requirements for the organization to offer it's prestigious "Silver Spur" Award for "Best Song". 2007 will mark the first time the Silver Spur will be awarded to a western songwriter and publisher.
In April I lectured and performed at Rice University as part of the "Storyteller Series" offered by the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. Immediately after the lecture at Rice I returned to the John G. Neihardt Center in Bancroft, Nebraska for the 26th annual John G. Neihardt Spring Conference. This year's theme, Neihardt's Heroes, was a great one and I was honored to be included to speak and perform as part of such a splendid symposium panel featuring noted Lakota author, Joseph Marshall (The Journey of Crazy Horse), Dr. James C. Work, and John Mangan. (See photo)
Joseph Marshall, Dr. James Work, John Mangan, Bobby Bridger
My autobiography, Seeking History's Heartsong, has been in anonymous "peer reader process" with the University of Texas Press since November, 2006. The first peer reader report was very positive, and I am anxiously awaiting the final reports. Once the manuscript emerges from this process I hope we'll have a target publication date for the book. I have also submitted my manuscript, Becoming Indigenous: Essays and Interviews, 1989-2007 to UT Press.
My entire Golden Egg catalog - A Ballad of the West, Songs From A Ballad of the West, and Heal In The Wisdom is now available at CDBaby, ITunes, and Amazon.com.
Bobby Bridger part of The American Experience
October 5, 2006 Bobby flew to Boulder, Colorado to be interviewed on camera by the production company creating a documentary film based on the life of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody for the award-winning PBS series, The American Experience. After reading Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull: Inventing the Wild West Rob Rapley of Hidden Hill Productions in New York contacted Bridger and invited him to join Dr. Paul Fees, L. G. Moses, Louis Warren, Judy Winchester, Patricia Limerick, Charles Scoggin and Guy Dull Knife, Jr. to be interviewed for the documentary. The production will air on The American Experience on PBS in the fall of 2007.
Executive Producer Rob Rapley and Bobby Bridger on the set after interviews for the PBS series The American Experience, Golden, Colorado, October,5, 2006
A Note From Bobby - November 2006
This has been a very exciting autumn. In late September I got a phone call from Rob Rapley of Hidden Hills Productions in Manhattan. Hidden Hills produces documentary films for the award-winning PBS series, The American Experience. Rob informed me that his company is producing a film on Buffalo Bill for The American Experience. Rob told me that he had read my book Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull: Inventing the Wild West and loved it. He invited me to Boulder, Colorado to join with Buffalo Bill historians Dr. Paul Fees, Louis Warren, L. G. Moses, Patricia Limerick, Judi Winchester, Charles Scoggins, and Guy Dull Knife for on camera interviews for the film. The program will air on PBS in autumn, 2007.
Readers will want to drop by bobbybridger.com regularly as I will soon be adding an essay on "Ethnoastrology" to the Hoka Hey! archive. I also will add an essay on the very first gathering of global parliamentarians and spiritual leaders to discuss the survival of the planet; an interview with the author/screenwriter of Dances With Wolves, Michael Blake; an essay Women of the New and Old West; and many more exciting essays and features.
There are also a couple of new interviews available. In October, 2006 I did a third interview with Bob Stevenson to complete our series of three interviews on my epic trilogy on Houston NPR affiliate, KUHF's great program, The Front Row. And while in north Louisiana performing at the Louisiana Art and Folk Festival I interviewed with Brad Shelton on NPR affiliate, KEDM in Monroe.
This fall I've also been invited to join an illustrious group assembled by the Western Writers of America to establish criterion to create a new "Best Song" category for the organization's prestigious "Silver Spur" awards for excellence in western literature. I served as a judge for the Poetry Silver Spur in 2003 and 2004, and am one of three judges for the 2006 Silver Spur for "Best Audio Book".
It is with great sadness that we report the death of Vine Deloria, Jr.
Vine Deloria, Jr. March 26, 1933 - November 13, 2005
A Ballad of the West would not exist without the steadfast support of my best friend of thirty years, Vine Deloria, Jr. In 1976 Vine made one-hundred cassette copies of Seekers of the Fleece and sent them out to over 100 noted individuals, organizations and institutions with a cover letter urging them to write letters endorsing my work. Over the years Vine wrote introductions to various releases of A Ballad of the West, encouraged me to develop the literary aspects of the work to augment my recording career, and made me and my family welcome in his home. I will never have a better friend in this life.
Aside from celebrating the life of the most important Native American spokesman of the Twentieth century, the purpose of this section of my website is to make available to visitors a brief biography/obituary of my dear friend, to present an extensive bibliography of Vine's vast body of work, and to provide a link to the scholarship established in his name at the American Indian College Fund. Moreover, I would like to encourage other artists concerned with Native American history, religion and culture to create a link to the scholarship fund at their websites.
The most important "new" thing with me these days is the newly-designed website bobbybridger.com. Over a year ago my friend and colleague Erin Galey started searching for a webdesigner to re-do my site and that led us to Dana Boyd, of SufferinStudios. These two great women have worked together since February plotting and organizing, and the result is this lovely, user-friendly new site. We hope you enjoy visiting, spread the word to your friends, and return frequently to see "What's New!"
In early June I headed north to Wyoming for the Western Writers of America convention in Cody. I was on two panels: "The Fur Trade of the Upper Rockies" and "Writing About Buffalo Bill", had a small part in the film documenting the convention, and performed several concerts with Michael Blakely, WC Jameson, and Jon Chandler and also performed my one-man show Seekers of the Fleece at Old Trail Town. Recently, Michael Blakely had me down to Marble Falls, TX, to perform in his "TexAmericana Tuesday Nights" with Johnny Gringo at the River City Grille and Pub. We had a ball - and I got to play some old favorites for the crowd. He's also booked me for Lukenbach sometime this Fall.
Before the WWA convention began June 13th, however, I flew back to Austin June 10th for rehearsals with the Austin Orchestra, including such players as Will Taylor (from "Strings Attached" fame), assembled for the concert celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Kerrville Folk Festival. My old pal David Amram conducted the orchestra and the concert was a career highlight. As always, we closed the festival with the anthem, Heal in the Wisdom, which you can find here. The festival staff presented me with a lovely marble plaque on which the chorus of my song and the festival anthem, Heal In The Wisdom, was inscribed. There's pictures and more about this event at our MySpace page.
After the WWA convention I headed to some of my favorite Wyoming hang-outs to visit old friends and get a few nights sleeping out under the stars. In late June I arrived at the University of Michigan's Camp Davis just south of Jackson, Wyoming near the Hoback River's junction with the Snake River. My friend Dr. Phil Deloria brought me in to perform Seekers of the Fleece for the eighty students from Ann Arbor. Imagine my surprise when I discovered one of them did a "hip shot" video of me performing Life Is A River and put it on the web on YouTube! Here's the link.
Bobby Invited to Judge 2007 Audio Book "Sliver Spur" Award
Bobby Bridger has been invited to join with fellow Western Writers of America members Mike Blakely and Larry D. Thomas to judge the submissions competing in the Audio Book category for the organization's prestigious 2007 "Silver Spur" award. Bridger previously served in 2003 and 2004 as a judge for the Poetry category for the Silver Spur. Check out the website for the Spur Awards.