Charlie Goodnight: His Life in Poetry and Song Awes Crowd
The Lone Star Cowboy Poetry Gathering filled the Morelock Auditorium on the SRSU Alpine campus for the Saturday Night Show on Feb. 18, 2023. Ticket sales ended on Saturday morning when the hall reached capacity.
This western opera about the life of Charles Goodnight, comprised of 15 poems and 14 songs written and composed by Andy Wilkinson, is considered a masterpiece of Texas music and literature. Noted author John R. Erickson wrote an appreciative essay about the work in the Fall 2022 issue of the National Ranching Heritage Center's Ranch Record. He said, "Andy's songs and poems don't just rhyme, they are built of sentences that deliver emotional content that speaks to every age about danger and courage, the vastness of the prairie, and the power of the wind." He continues, "'White Women's Clothes' captures the wrenching story of Cynthia Ann Parker better than anything I have read or heard." You can read the complete article here.
Barry Corbin, known for his portrayal of Charles Goodnight in a one-man play called Charles Goodnight's Last Night and in this show, said, "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 featured 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 were joined by others new to the piece: Jim Bradley, Dale Burson, Pipp Gillette, Maggie Rose Hedges, Don Richmond, Dave Stamey, Ian Wilkinson, Pixel Wilkinson, and Sterling Wilkinson.