The Man And His Music
singer-guitarist Don Edwards continues to build a legacy that enriches our
vision of the American West. In tales of the day-to-day lives and
emotions of those who have lived it, his ballads paint a sweeping
landscape of both mind and heart, keeping alive the sights, sounds and
feelings of this most American contribution to culture and art. The
quality of this cowboy balladeer's music stems from the fact that he is so
much more than a singer. Bobby Weaver of the National Cowboy Western
Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, summed up Edwards' importance as "...the
best purveyor of cowboy music in America today."
An historian, author, and musicologist, unusually well-versed in cowboy lore and musical traditions, Don brings a rare compliment of knowing and loving his craft. Mostly though, there is the soul of a poet; a man who has never succumbed to the temptations of presenting a glamorized or romanticized version of the West.
Edwards deals with the bad weather and petty motivation, with sadness, nostalgia and longing as parts of the landscape like any other.
The son of a vaudeville magician, Don was exposed as a child to a vast cross-section of music from classical to jazz, and blues to western-swing. Many of the those influences enter his own music as they did some of the music of the West. Edwards was drawn to the cowboy life by the books of Will James and was presented the Will James Society's "Big Enough Award" which is presented annually to someone who personifies the Western and Cowboy way of life and their achievements. He also loved the B Westerns of the silver screen, particularly those featuring "'sure-' nuff cowboys" like Tom Mix and Ken Maynard. He taught himself guitar starting at age ten, and chased the rodeo and worked ranches in Texas and New Mexico during his teens. In 1961, he got his first professional job as an actor/.singer/stuntman at Six Flags Over Texas. Don released his first recording on REN Records of Dallas, Texas.
Don became part owner of the White Elephant Saloon in the Fort Worth stockyards where ballad hunter and historian John Lomax collected cowboy songs. Subsequently, "Esquire" magazine has named the White Elephant one of America's 100 best bars. Edwards also began playing throughout out Oklahoma and Texas, and with the inception of the Cowboy poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada achieved widespread recognition. He has now entertained throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Europe and the Far East.
Don Edwards has two recorded anthologies, Guitars
& Saddle Songs and Songs of the Cowboy, included in the
Folklore Archives of the Library of Congress. These anthologies
have been re-recorded and expanded as the 32-song double CD/cassette
called Saddle Songs. This project took first place as the Best
Folk/Traditional Album of the year at the annual AFIM INDIE Awards
Ceremony held in May of 1998. The collection is on the Western Jubilee
Recording Company's label. He has received Six prestigious
Wrangler Awards for Outstanding Traditional Music from the National
Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Don has also been
selected for the Prestigious CHESTER A. REYNOLDS Memorial
Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for 2010.
This award is named for the founder of the museum honoring Don for his
contribution in perpetuating the ideals, history and heritage of the
Other projects include a book release by the Gibbs Smith Publishing Co. entitled Classic Cowboy Songs; performing on Nanci Griffith's Grammy-winning video and recording. Other Voices, Other Rooms; co-presenter along with Waddie Mitchell on the network-televised Academy of Country Music Awards and featured performer for the prestigious "Golden Boot Awards".
Don has presented educational services at
Yale, Rice, Texas Christian and many other Universities. His
recordings under the Warner Western label, Goin' Back to Texas, Songs
of the Trail and The Bard & the Balladeer have spawned a
new audience for his craft. His Warner recording, West of
Yesterday (1996) was produced by Jim Rooney and features Don's
long-time Ft. Worth-based band, the 7-Bar Cowboys. The summer of
1997 found Don in Livingston, Montana portraying the role of
"Smokey" in Robert Redford's film The Horse Whisperer.
In addition to this acting/singing role, Don is featured on the MCA
soundtrack. In May of 1998, to coincide with The Horse Whisper
theater release, Warner Western compiled and released "The Best of
Don Edwards" while Western Jubilee offered Don's newest recording
"My Hero Gene Autry" recorded live at Mr. Autry's 90th
The richness of Don's voice coupled with his magical stage presentation makes Don Edwards America's number one western singer and concert attraction. The accolades though, have been simply added bonuses for Edwards, who sings what he does out of love and respect for the genre. Don's career continues to blossom, and luckily for all who care about it, he has because of his sincere approach, added much to the literature and music of the West, passing on to the rest of us a legacy rich for his efforts.
Scott O'Malley & Associates, LLC. Artist Representation, PO Box 9188, Colorado Springs Colorado 80932, 719-635-7776, Fax 719-635-9789, E-mail email@example.com