Why the Cowboy Sings

This is a short preview trailer. You can watch the entire film at no charge on the Folkstreams website. Folkstreams is a nonprofit whose mission is to find, preserve, contextualize, and stream documentary films on American folklife.

Watch the entire film at Folkstreams

The cowboy's job has always been dangerous, lonely, dusty, gory and low-paying. So why do cowboys make music, and why do they need to tell their story? Why the Cowboy Sings is a journey across the open West to explore this unique genre of folk art. Co-producer Hal Cannon has been chasing this question for 30 years. He is a founder of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, and has played cowboy music in a traditional band since the early 1970s. In this journey he travels to four ranches, in the middle of winter, to visit cowboys during a season when they have more time to sing.

  • Film by: Hal Cannon, Taki Telonidis
  • Produced by: Hal Cannon and Taki Telonidis, Executive Producers: Scott Chaffin, John Howe, Elizabeth Searles, A Western Folklife Center Film produced in association wit KUED
  • Cinematographer: Douglas Monroe, Bill Brussard, Taki Telonidis, Hal Cannon, Nancy Green
  • Sound: William Montoya
  • Editor: Bill Lauer with Taki Telonidis
  • Other Credits: Written by Hal Cannon.Featuring The Larry Schutte Family, Glenn Ohrlin, Henry Real Bird, and Stephanie Davis.Consultants were Nancy Kelly, Nancy Green, Chris Simon, and Robert Hawk.Recorded by Taki TelonidisOriginal Concept Sherry Kafka Wagner
  • Funding: George S. and Dolores Dore Eceles Foundation, R. Harold Burton Foundation, Dick Burton Foundation
  • Original Format: DV Mini
  • © Western Folklife Center 2002
  • 58mins, Color