Cowboy Poetry from Alpine, Texas

Gather in Alpine Feb. 17-18, 2023 or watch our films

Charlie Goodnight: Coming to the Gathering in Poetry and Song

The Lone Star Cowboy Poetry Gathering is proud to announce Charlie Goodnight: His Life in Poetry and Song as its Saturday Night Show, February 18, 2023.

This presentation is a true western opera comprised of 15 poems and 14 songs written and composed by Andy Wilkinson, a distant nephew of the famous cattleman and drover. First inspired by the stories told by his grandmother and great-grandmother, Andy was then guided by the history of Goodnight's life and the trail-drive period of the American West. To research each song and poem, Andy made personal trips to the very places where Goodnight traveled, lived, and worked. In addition, he devoted hours of research in libraries, museums, and archival collections. Released in 1994 as an album to great acclaim, the show is rarely performed live.

Born in Illinois in 1836, 9-year-old Charlie rode his pony bareback to the new State of Texas in 1845. After learning to work cattle as a young boy, Goodnight served as a Texas Ranger during the Civil War before setting out with his mentor Oliver Loving in June 1866 on the first drive up the cattle trail that soon bore their names. Over his long and productive life — he didn't die until early winter of 1929 — Charlie established four ranches, was instrumental (at his wife Mary Ann's urging) in saving the American Southern Bison, and experimented with both improving his cattle stock as well as crossing them with buffalo. Essayist and historian J. Frank Dobie said that Goodnight "approached greatness more nearly than any other cowman of history."

Barry Corbin, known for his portrayal of Charles Goodnight in a one-man play called Charles Goodnight's Last Night and in earlier performances of this show, said, "You've heard of people who don't suffer fools gladly. Well, Goodnight didn't suffer fools at all. He was a crusty, cantankerous old man, and he was pretty much the same as a young man. Goodnight would use violence if it was necessary. But he didn't love violence. As a matter of fact, he sort of detested it. And as soon as law and order arrived, he quit wearing a gun." Corbin continued, "What is important today about Charles Goodnight is the man's unshakable belief in right and wrong. He lived by a code, which most people on the frontier did. And that's almost unheard today. . . . When Charlie Goodnight ran his ranch, his first priority was to make sure the hands were fed and could make a living. And in return for that, he had their absolute loyalty."

This production will feature many singers, reciters, and musicians who have performed the work before: Barry Corbin, Alissa Hedges, Andy Hedges, Donnie Maines, Lloyd Maines, Chuck Milner, Waddie Mitchell, B. Byron Price, Rod Taylor, Emily Wilkinson, and Andy Wilkinson. They will be joined by others from the Gathering: Jim Bradley, Pipp Gillette, Maggie Rose Hedges, Joel Nelson, Don Richmond, Larry Scott, Dave Stamey, Ian Wilkinson, Pixel Wilkinson, and Sterling Wilkinson.

This will be a memorable production, for one night only. Don't miss it!

2023 Schedule Highlights

2023 Schedule Highlights

Randy, Rod, and Dale

Joel Nelson

The Legacy Lives On — Our Second Film of Poetry and Music

Hear poetry and music from Gail Steiger and Amy Hale, poetry by Ray Fizgerald, and music from Dave Stamey and Mikki Daniel. Filmed by John and Erika Moore on location in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. Both of our films are available for a 1-year rental for $10 each. Rent or watch now. Already have an account on our site? You can give a film rental to anyone at no cost. Sign in to your account, copy your personal gift link, and send it via your own email to your desired recipient.

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