Editor’s Note: The following is courtesy of Bluegrass Journal.)
Christmas is a season of tradition, and no one knows that better than Michael Martin Murphey. For the past 17 years, the iconic cowboy singer / songwriter has worked diligently to keep alive the spirit of the first Cowboy Christmas Ball.
“The first time I came to the annual Cowboy Christmas Ball in Anson, Texas, where the community has celebrated the holidays with this event every year since 1934, I was floored that the community had worked so hard to keep it going,” Murphey said. “I fell in love watching the older couples dance and the dances being passed on to the younger people. It reconnected me to the tradition.”
Arriving in Anson, Texas on Christmas night, 1885, native New Yorker Larry Chittenden chronicled a dancing spectacle unparrelled in those days by composing the rhythmic, rollicking lines of The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball, a six stanza verse that still remembered and anthologized many times in print and song.
Modeling a show after the annual Anson event, Murphey took the celebration on the road, and has over the past two decades, performed the ball in such prestigious venues as Bass Hall (Ft. Worth, TX), The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City, OK), the National Hispanic Cultural Center Journal Theater (Albuquerque, NM) and The Performing Arts Center at Texas A&M University (Austin, TX).
This year’s tour begins Nov. 26 in Benton, KS and will cover stops in at least 15 cities before Christmas.
“The Cowboy Christmas Ball is steeped in everything I hold dear of growing up in Texas at Christmas time,” Murphey said. “All the old dances are here… the waltzes, the mazurkas, the Paul Jones, the Virginia Reel… all these dances are still done here. The women make their own costumes and clothes and the men still wear string ties and frock coats. It’s a family reunion of friends.”
With the new release of his Acoustic Christmas Carols: Cowboy Christmas II (Rural Rhythm), Murphey is more excited than ever about the upcoming holidays. “This is my favorite season of the year,” Murphey continued. “We remember our fathers and mothers. We celebrate our children and we treasure our friends and the many blessing given by our Lord. It really brings out the very best in all of us.”
Michael Martin Murphey is the number one singer / songwriter of American Cowboy Music and has been a major part of America’s musical landscape for five decades. His hits include “Wildfire,” “Carolina In The Pines,” “Long Line of Love,” “What’s Forever For,” “Geronimo’s Cadillac” and “Cowboy Logic.” An inductee into the Western Music Hall of Fame, the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and winner of the Texas Music Award for Best Album, Murphey’s most recent release, Buckaroo Blue Grass II: Riding Song, is the followup to his 2009 Grammy nominated release, Buckaroo Blue Grass.
Michael Martin Murphey Cowboy Christmas Ball Tour Dates
• Nov. 26 & 27 — Benton KS – Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper
• Nov. 30 — Graham TX – Graham Memorial Auditorium
• Dec. 1 — Odessa TX – Ector Theatre
• Dec. 3 — Lake Jackson TX – The Clarion at Brazosport College
• Dec. 4 — San Marcos TX – LBJ Student Center Ballroom
• Dec. 7 — Corpus Christi TX – Performing Arts Center at Texas A&M University
• Dec. 8 — Hallsville TX – Heartlight Conference Center
• Dec. 9 — Longview TX – Belcher Performing Arts Center
• Dec. 10 — Tatum TX – Bar None Cowboy Church
• Dec. 11 — Belton TX – Bell County Expo Center
• Dec. 12 — Texarkana TX – Perot Theater
• Dec. 13 — Brenham TX – W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center
• Dec. 14 — Fort Worth TX – Bass Performance Hall
• Dec. 16 — Anson TX – Pioneer Hall
• Dec. 17 — Oklahoma City OK – National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
• Dec. 18 — Albuquerque NM – National Hispanic Cultural Center Journal Theatre
Posted by: Sam Moore
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