Michael Martin Murphey starts his 19th Cowboy Christmas Tour on November 25: ‘The Cowboy Christmas Ball is steeped in everything I hold dear of growing up in Texas at Christmas time.’
‘This is my favorite season of the year…’
Murph Saddles Up for 19th Cowboy Christmas Tour
Ebenezer Scrooge is not the only person who knows how to keep Christmas well. Mr. Scrooge, however, is a completely fictional character. Michael Martin Murphey—honored not once, not twice but three times on the cover of this publication—is a flesh-and-blood human being who knows better than most how to keep Christmas well. In fact, he’s been keeping Christmas well for the past 19 years, by way of his Cowboy Christmas Ball.
2011 is no different: Murph’s Cowboy Christmas Tour, recreating the sprit of the original Cowboy Christmas Ball, begins Friday, November 25 and continues through 18 cities before Christmas. (See itinerary below.)
William Lawrence Chittendon
Being a student of history, Murph has fashioned his Christmas show after the Cowboy Christmas Ball of 1885 held in Anson, Texas, and soon immortalized in the famous cowboy recitation “The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball” by an Eastern newspaper reporter named William Lawrence Chittendon, who became known as the “Poet-Ranchman of Texas” after relocating to the Lone Star State from his native New York City. In Chittendon’s time, dancers in costume would come from hundreds of miles away to celebrate the Yuletide in true Texas fashion. The tradition went dormant for many years, but was revived in Anson in 1934 and has been going strong ever since. When Murph ventured to his first Cowboy Christmas Ball in Anson, he was impressed with the locals’ efforts at keeping the tradition alive.
"I was floored that the community had worked so hard to keep it going," Murphey says. "I fell in love watching the older couples dance and the dances being passed on to the younger people. It reconnected me to the tradition."
Modeling a show after the annual Anson event, Murphey took the celebration on the road, and has over the past two decades, performed the ball in such prestigious venues as Bass Hall (Ft. Worth, TX), The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City, OK), the National Hispanic Cultural Center Journal Theater (Albuquerque, NM) and The Performing Arts Center at Texas A&M University (Austin, TX).
The 2006 ‘Cowboy Christmas Ball’ performance by Michael Martin Murphey and the Texas State Symphony Orchestra at Texas State University.
"The Cowboy Christmas Ball is steeped in everything I hold dear of growing up in Texas at Christmas time," Murphey says. "All the old dances are here...the waltzes, the mazurkas, the Paul Jones, the Virginia Reel...all these dances are still done here. The women make their own costumes and clothes and the men still wear string ties and frock coats. It's a family reunion of friends.
"This is my favorite season of the year," he adds. "We remember our fathers and mothers. We celebrate our children and we treasure our friends and the many blessing given by our Lord. It really brings out the very best in all of us."
Murph has been a major part of America's musical landscape for four decades. His hits include "Wildfire," "Carolina In The Pines," "Long Line of Love," "What's Forever For," "Geronimo's Cadillac" and "Cowboy Logic." A multiple Grammy nominee and an inductee into the Western Music Hall of Fame, the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and winner of the Texas Music Award for Best Album, his most recent release, Tall Grass and Cool Water, is the third in a series of his exploration into the similarities between American cowboy music and bluegrass music, called "Buckaroo Bluegrass.” His previous releases in that series are Buckaroo Blue Grass II: Riding Song, the 2009 Grammy nominated release, Buckaroo Blue Grass. He has released three Christmas-themed albums, the most recent being Acoustic Christmas Carols: Cowboy Christmas II on Rural Rhythm Records. He has been inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame, the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Country Music Hall of Fame and the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame. He is the world’s best selling cowboy music artist.
Michael Martin Murphey’s Acoustic Christmas Carols: Cowboy Christmas II is available at www.amazon.com
Michael Martin Murphey Cowboy Christmas Tour
Friday, November 25
Union Colony Civic Center, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 26
Sunday, November 27
Cailloux Theater, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, November 29
Paramount Theater, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 20
Heartlight Conference Center
Thursday, December 1
Belcher Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 2
Love & War in Texas
Saturday, December 3
Pearson Auditorium, 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 4
Cactus Theater, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, December 6
Corpus Christi, TX
Texas A&M, TIME TBA
Saturday, December 10
Bell County Expo Center, 8 pm
Monday, December 12
Fort Worth TX
Bass Performance Hall, 7 pm
Tuesday, December 13
Thursday, December 15
Pioneer Hall, 8 p.m.
Friday, December 16
Oklahoma City OK
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, 8 pm
Saturday, December 17
Texas Crown Performance Hall, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, December 20
Historic Crighton Theatre, 8 p.m.
Friday, December 23
Grand Junction, CO
Avalon Theatre, 8 p.m.