Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Road Trip Music: Nevada

Nevada: though you might perhaps first think of resorts or casinos, the very name of the state comes from the Spanish name for part of its wilderness, the Sierra Nevada mountains, the snowy range. As the Great American Road Trip winds through Nevada, our soundtrack will come from from a man who knows and lives with that wilderness.

As half of the duo Ian and Sylvia,
Ian Tyson had been at the top of the folk music revival scene in the 1960s and 1970s, writing and singing songs including the enduring classics Four Strong Winds and Someday Soon.

As that time waned and after he and Sylvia came to a parting of the ways, he returned to the plains of western Canada to work at ranching. “ I always kept my hand in music, gigging with a little band around Alberta on the weekends," he says. He was invited to perform at one of the first Cowboy Poetry Gatherings, a project of the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada which celebrates poetry, music, crafts and life ways of the mountain west. It opened up a whole new world for Tyson. “These people didn’t know anything about Ian and Sylvia, but they liked our band,” he says. “and I saw, in that way of life, what I could write about. Leaving the whole movie cowboys image behind, write about the real life of the west. I could reinvent the cowboy song.” He did, and now in his eighth decade of life, continues to do so. As the road trip travels through Nevada take a listen to songs inspired by life in the rocky mountain west on Eighteen Inches of Rain.

you may also wish to see
Music Road: Ian Tyson: Yellowhead to Yellowstone
Ian Tyson: songs of the Rocky Mountain West
Music Road: Best Music, 2010
patrick season: music and mist
Music Road: looking forward, looking back

This is part of The Great American Road Trip, in which I originally partnered up with A Traveler’s Library to add musical ideas to the book and film suggestions for journeys through the regions of the United States which you’d find there. The Library is closed now, but I think you will still find the journeys through music interesting.
For more about the road trip (and a look at some great road songs) see Great American Road Trip: Music begins

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Blogger Anjuli said...

I love how he says he could reinvent the cowboy song.

5:12 PM  

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