Liz Masterson to close out library’s Winter Lecture Series
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Who: Liz Masterson
What: Winter Lecture Series
When: 7 p.m. on April 16
Where: Glenwood Springs Branch Library
How Much: Free
To close out the Frontier Historical Society and Glenwood Springs Branch Library Winter Lecture Series, musician and poet Liz Masterson will take attendees back to the old West with her cowboy poetry and songs.
Masterson, a Denver native who has a soft spot in her heart for the Roaring Fork Valley, will celebrate National Poetry Month and National Cowboy Poetry Week with singing, yodeling and sharing poetry that tells stories of ranch life. The event takes place at 7 p.m. on April 16 at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library. There will be an informal ukulele jam at 4 p.m. open to players, singers and anyone who just wants to listen.
Sue Schnitzer, branch manager at the library, said she wanted the final installment of the Winter Lecture Series to appeal to valley residents.
“We try to focus on topics of interest in our area,” Schnitzer said. “Since it’s National Poetry Month and Cowboy Poetry Week is the following week, I thought it would be fun to have cowboy music, so I thought of Liz.”
Masterson has been singing, yodeling and playing cowboy music for more than 30 years. While she didn’t grow up on a ranch herself, she had family members who did, and she said she spent enough time on her grandparents’ ranch to know that’s where she should have grown up.
“I remember being at their house as a child, and people would show up in a truck with a trailer on the back full of sheep, and I thought that was the neatest thing,” Masterson said. “My grandparents were from Wyoming, and at family reunions we’d sing a bunch of cowboy songs. I think singing about being outside and riding a horse just appeals to me.”
Masterson has loved Western music since she was a little girl. In elementary school, her teacher would invite a student to pick out a song to play in class, and Masterson’s hand would always shoot up so she could request “Streets of Laredo.”
By 1980, she was taking singing more seriously, and two years later she began performing.
That’s also when she discovered yodeling through a group called The Girls of the Golden West and a singer named Patsy Montana.
“I just threw myself into learning her songs,” Masterson said. “I was just obsessed with her.”
Masterson and Montana started up a mail correspondence that turned into a long-distance friendship. They eventually met and performed together for 14 years before Montana passed away, but Masterson still yodels to this day.
In addition to performances like the one at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library, Masterson plays at agricultural banquets, fundraisers, dances, churches, senior centers, schools and more. She has helped to organize the Colorado Cowboy Gathering in Golden, Colorado, for almost 30 years.
“I like putting Western music wherever people want to hear it,” she said.
Schnitzer is thrilled that Masterson wants to put Western music in the library.
“Liz is the real thing,” she said. “She has a gorgeous voice, great sense of humor, knows more about Western songs and singing than anyone I know, and she can yodel, cowboy-style.”
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