On the National Cowboy Poetry Stage

Happy Friday everyone! In honor of the sunshine, weekend I thought I’d share a performance of one of my songs on the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering stage earlier this month.

On Sunday I plan to hopefully wrap up the vocal tracks on a new album I’ve been working on that celebrates the music that I grew up singing. It features my dad and all of the songs he brought into my life playing his records and tapes and red guitar. I can’t wait for you to hear it.

So I need to channel this song right now in so many ways to get me through the to-do list and plans, and on to the fun parts. Turn it up. Loud. And get to work.

If you’re looking for where I’m performing this spring and summer, check out my website at jessieveedermusic.com. More dates will be added as CD release shows as the album gets closer to completion. If you want me in your town, give me a call!

Thanks for the love and support! Now pull on your pants girl, and get to work!

To be a cowboy

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To be a Cowboy
Forum Communications

In a few short weeks, I will pack up my guitar and head for the desert in Nevada for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

It will be my second invite to this event that features cowboy singers, entertainers, makers and poets from across the country, each looking like the plains and valleys, mountains and foothills they were born to and all trying to answer and ponder the question — what does it mean to be a cowboy?

I close my eyes and I see him, my Great-Grandpa Veeder. I see him as a kid who came to settle this area with an ill father and a mother who had seven other children to care for. And so he took to it, helping to break up land, grow vegetables and raise horses for farming and threshing

I like to think that he was a man who, like the Badlands full of rocks and rattlesnakes, was not so easily tamed. And so he became the 50 mph winds, the biting, relentless horse flies, the dropping temperatures, the green grass and the rain that eventually fell with a promise that this all might work out if he was brave enough to endure it.

He couldn’t have known then that the work he was doing might someday be revered as sort of glamorous. He just took to it, like I said, and at barely 21, he bought his own place down the road and the rest is a history I walk by on my way to catch my well-broke horses or give my daughters a ride on their pony.

History like his old threshing machine that sits as a relic among the tall grasses and thorny tangle of prairie roses.

Threshing Machine .jpg

History like that humble red barn he moved in and rebuilt with his two sons, one of them my grandpa.

Barn in snow

Time has passed us by enough now that we are wondering what to do with it. Should we tear it down or rebuild it? Has there ever been a truer metaphor for this generation of ranch families?

A relic that reminds us we have entered another realm entirely. A realm where steel siding and roofing and concrete would serve us much better, just like the new tractors with GPS and Bluetooth connections that we will likely never be able to afford, no matter how hard my great-grandfather, and my grandparents and my parents, worked to get us to this place where we can ponder.

Are we cowboys? Not like him. Not like Great-Grandpa Eddie.

Cowboy

As a kid, I spent my winter nights sitting on the pink carpet of my room inside the walls of my parents’ house tucked in the hills and oak trees of a ranch that has now been in my family for over 100 years. Behind my guitar, with a pen in my hand, I would attempt to work out the mysteries of the place in which I was raised, and will myself to understand how I was meant to belong here.

guitar

I wasn’t strong enough to open gates on my own. I wasn’t patient enough to break the horses my father broke. I wasn’t gritty enough or savvy enough or ballsy enough or grown-up enough to do the very thing that I wanted to do, which was to jump in and be brave.

But I love the sound a horse makes when she’s clipping the green grass from the ground. And the smell of the clover and the way a hay bale rolls out in the winter snow behind an old feed pickup and the black line of cattle following it.

feeding

I love the creak of a saddle, the scum on an old stock tank and the bite of the wind on the hilltop and the weather that changes up here like the light and the seasons and how it feels to really be out there in it.

Knowing it. Working it. Caring so desperately about it.

winter barnyard

And so on that pink carpet, I wrote it all down. These cattle. These horses. This land and the big sky and this overwhelming sense that this might be our purpose, no matter how completely uncertain it is.

To be a cowboy.

See ya in Elko.

Click herefor a full line up of performances and where you can catch my dad and me performing.

 

Diners, Fenceposts and Cowboy Poems: Road Trip to Elko

1,037 miles, 16 hours, seven thousand fenceposts, one overnight snowstorm,

two or three little hometown diner meals

one night in a Comfort Inn in Idaho Falls and a couple of tourist moments later…

Twin Falls, ID

and we finally made it all the way down to Elko, Nevada from the great white north to participate in the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

There’s cowboys here from all over the country, but it turns out I’m the only one with red scoria still stuck to her car and a good ‘ol Northern, kinda sounds like you’re from Canada, accent.

And I’m the one hanging around with this guy.

I can’t tell you what it means to be here surrounded by all of this talent, all of these stories of ranch living, all of these expressive people in hats and boots and some really great mustaches. Last night I met a hat maker with a leather-tooled neck tie and vowed I’d find one and start spreading his style-sense back in North Dakota.

Would it be weird if I wore a leather tooled neck tie?

Maybe.

Anyway, last night was my first gig at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Martha Scanlan sound check

I took the stage at the Convention Center for a show called “Straddling the Line,” with landscape storyteller and accomplished musician Martha Scanlan and sage rocker and cowboy Brenn Hill.  In its 30th Anniversary the gathering is focused on the next generation of cowboy poets, singers and storytellers so we each took our turn talking and singing about what it means to be out here loving our land and the work we do.

Watch the full concert here: 

The audience and the people here are warm and inviting. We’re from all over the country, but we have things in common and so much to learn from one another. Wednesday night we rolled into town and bought tickets to a Ranch Radio Show where Stephanie Davis sang about the magic of baling twine, and besides the leather-tie promise, I promise to learn all the words to that song, because I swear it was written about Pops.

Today the streets and concert halls will fill up again, a sea of cowboy hats and the buzz of information, stories and music being passed around.

This morning we will walk down the street for a fresh donut and I’ll take the stage with my friend D.W. Groethe before heading back to the Convention Center to join other forth and fifth generation ranchers to talk about what it’s like to be back on the ranch.

Tonight we will see Ian Tyson and dance at Stockmens.

And tomorrow we’ll do it all over again before heading back up north to the horses taking in the winter sun on the top of the hills outside my window.

Music has given me so many gifts in my life, this week is one of them.

Grateful to be here. Grateful to tell my story.

Grateful that you all are listening and sharing yours too.

Peace, Love and Happy Trails!
Jessie

Cowboy Singing

We’re looking ahead out here in the arctic tundra. Every day Pops is getting stronger and more antsy and our biggest job is to keep him from taking the keys and heading out the door without us.

I keep reminding him that it’s only been 2 weeks since they cut him open and rearranged his heart, but it doesn’t matter.

He’s ready to move on.

And so we are. Moving on and looking forward, me in particular to next week when I’ll be loading up my guitar and my husband and all of my boots to head on down to Elko, Nevada for the 30th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

It’s a big event and my first visit as an entertainer, so I’m excited.

And then I saw my name in the Western Horseman Magazine and I got even more excited.

North Dakota. Montana. Close enough.

Then I got nervous.

And I’ve been going back and forth between those two emotions for a few months.

But it’s going to be a good trip and I’m happy to be a part of an event that celebrates and lifts up Cowboy culture with poetry, art, music, dancing and lessons on things like leather-working, two-stepping and cast-iron cooking.

It’s our kind of party, I tell you what.

I’ve always been thankful for the opportunity to grow up in these hills so I’m thankful for the opportunity to tell my story a few state’s over.

And I’m thankful for the music.

If you’re in the area, stop on over. Here’s my schedule:

Thursday, January 30

Straddling the Line

With Brenn Hill, Martha Scanlan & Jon Neufeld
8:30-10:00 PM
Elko Convention Center Auditorium
$35/$30
Fusing deep rural experience with diverse musical influences, 29-year-old troubadour Jessie Veeder demonstrates that the younger generation doesn’t really leave the ranch behind–but they may find themselves straddling the line. The musical outcome is electrical and enthralling.  

Friday, January 31

Jessie Veeder & DW Groethe
10:45 – 11:45 AM
Flag View Auxiliary

Back on the Ranch
With Meghan O’Toole Lally and others
1:00-2:15 PM
Gold Room, Convention Center

Saturday, February 1

Across the Medicine Line
With Doris Daley & Rodney Nelson
10:00 – 11:00 AM
Gold Room, Convention Center

Being Cowboy in a Digital World
with Jessica Hedges & Jolyn Young
2:30-3:45 PM
Gold Room, Convention Center

Here’s a link for more information about the gathering. 
www.westernfolklife.org

And here’s a link to a little interview and a few songs I played on a North Dakota Morning show. I woke up at 4 am to get there in time, so please take that into consideration with your critique 🙂

Music with Jessie Veeder
NBC North Dakota Today

For more information about my music visit:
www.jessieveedermusic.com