Heber Valley celebrates ‘The Cowboy Way’ with Suzy Bogguss

Tony Toscano and Suzy Bogguss. Courtesy photo

HEBER CITY, Utah, Nov. 1, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — The 22nd Annual Heber Valley Western Music and Cowboy Poetry Gathering has bid a fond farewell for another year.

The event took place at Wasatch High School and spanned four days, ending Oct. 29 after hosting cowboy musicians and cowboy poets from all over the world.

The Cowboy Poets included Waddie Mitchell, who also served as master of ceremonies, Doris Daily (2004’s Best Female Cowboy Poet in North America by the Academy of Western Artists), Andy Nelson, Jeff Carson, DW Groethe, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Ross Knox and Walter James Cheney II.

Musical performers included Michael Martin Murphy, Wylie and the Wild West, The Highwaymen Live, Dave Stamey & New West and the Bar J Wranglers. The gathering ended on a high-note with a special performance by country star Suzy Bogguss, whose crisp and clean vocals stunned the audience.

Bogguss, who can be heard on the soundtrack for the Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster film “Maverick,” offered up a show-stopping rendition of “Shenandoah.”


Suzy Bogguss at the Loveless Cafe Barn for Music City Roots, April 20, 2011

I chatted with Bogguss briefly after her performance. The singer told me performing at the Heber Valley Western Music and Cowboy Poetry Gathering was one of the yearly highlights of her touring schedule. The singer has been coming to the Heber event for about seven years.

“I love these people and these events. This is where the heart of what I do is and will always be,” the singer told me amidst the large crowd surrounding her for autographs and photos. The singer gladly obliged, taking her time with each fan.

AllMusic.com, an informational website, describes Bogguss as one of the most acclaimed female country singers of the late ’80s and ’90s. She was able to balance country tradition with a contemporary mainstream sensibility, thereby satisfying both audiences and critics, the site says. More of her allmusic.com biography follows below:

Bogguss was born in Aledo, Illinois, in 1956, and began singing in her church choir at age five. Encouraged by her parents, she learned piano and drums as a child, and took up guitar as a teenager.

She moved to Nashville in 1985 and worked as a demo singer while playing in clubs by night; she later took a job singing at the Dollywood theme park and sold tapes of her own music, one of which got her signed to Liberty/Capitol when a label executive heard it.

She rose to country stardom in 1991 with the gold-selling album “Aces,” which spun off a total of four hit singles: “Someday Soon,” “Letting Go,” “Outbound Plane,” and the title track.

Suzy Bogguss took a hiatus to raise her son, but in 2003, Bogguss returned to the airwaves with “Swing,” a stylish collection of pop, jazz, and swing tunes from the likes of Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, and Duke Ellington, followed by the holiday set “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” later that year.

In 2007 she released a collection of all new tunes, “Sweet Danger,” on the Loyal Dutchess label. No longer on the major-label carousel, Bogguss used Kickstarter to finance her self-released next album, “Lucky” — a set of Merle Haggard songs — that appeared seven years later in 2014.

For the 25th anniversary of her debut album, “Aces,” Bogguss has released “Aces Redux,” and re-recorded the album with new arrangements.

The Heber Valley Western Music and Cowboy Poetry Gathering is an annual event to promote the cowboy way of life through music, poetry and art by holding an annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair and by giving back to the community along the way.

For more information go to www.hebervalleycowboypoetry.com/

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