october 2011
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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.)

chittendon
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."

murphMurph 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

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Michael Martin Murphey Cowboy Christmas Tour

Friday, November 25
Greeley, Colorado
Union Colony Civic Center, 7:30 p.m.
970-356-5000
http://greeleygov.com/UCCC/EventViewer.aspx?ID=390

Saturday, November 26
Amarillo, TX
Kwahadi Museum

Sunday, November 27
Kerrville, TX
Cailloux Theater, 3 p.m.
830-896-9393
www.caillouxtheater.com

Tuesday, November 29
Austin, TX
Paramount Theater, 7:30 p.m.
512-474-1221
www.austintheatre.org

Wednesday, November 20
Hallsville, TX
Heartlight Conference Center
8 p.m.
www.heartlightministries.com

Thursday, December 1
Longview, TX
Belcher Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m.
903-668-2173

Friday, December 2
Plano, TX
Love & War in Texas
972-422-6201

Saturday, December 3
Roswell, NM
Pearson Auditorium, 7 p.m.
575-624-8021

Sunday, December 4
Lubbock, TX
Cactus Theater, 8 p.m.
806-762-3233
www.cactustheater.com

Tuesday, December 6
Corpus Christi, TX
Texas A&M, TIME TBA
361-825-ARTS
http://pac.tamucc.edu/pacnew/bravo.html

Saturday, December 10
Belton, TX
Bell County Expo Center, 8 pm
254-933-5353
www.bellcountyexpo.com

Monday, December 12
Fort Worth TX
Bass Performance Hall, 7 pm
817-212-4200
www.basshall.com

Tuesday, December 13
Odessa, TX
INFO TBA

Thursday, December 15
Anson TX
Pioneer Hall, 8 p.m.
325-537-2589
www.ansoncowboyschristmasball.com

Friday, December 16
Oklahoma City OK
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, 8 pm
405-478-2250
www.nationalcowboymuseum.org

Saturday, December 17
Canadian Texas
Texas Crown Performance Hall, 8 p.m.
806-323-2567
www.texascrownhall.org

Tuesday, December 20
Conroe, TX
Historic Crighton Theatre, 8 p.m.
936-441-7469
www.crightontheatre.org

Friday, December 23
Grand Junction, CO
Avalon Theatre, 8 p.m.
970-242-2188

For updated information, visit Michael Martin Murphey’s website

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