Murphey brings Cowboy Christmas to the Ute Theater
Michael Martin Murphey’s love of combining cowboys with Christmas began more than 30 years ago in the small Texas town of Anson, where the annual Texas Cowboys’ Christmas Ball has been held since 1885.
“I fell in love watching the older couples dance and the dances being passed on to the younger people,” Murphey said. “The Cowboy Christmas Ball is steeped in everything I hold dear of growing up in Texas at Christmas. 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.”
Murphey will bring a bit of that cowboy Christmas spirit to Rifle’s Ute Theater tonight in his Michael Martin Murphey Cowboy Christmas show starting at 7 p.m. It is the 26th consecutive year that he has done the show in November and December, and it has increased in popularity every year.
Murphey, who shot to fame in the 1970s on the strength of chart topping hits like “Wildfire,” “Geronimo’s Cadillac,” “What’s Forever For” and “Long Line of Love” said that his show differs from other seasonal presentations because it connects the Christmas story to rural communities, farmers and ranchers.
“God first sent an angel to the livestock people — shepherds in the fields,” he said. “That underscores that Jesus came for all people, all races and all classes.”
“This is my favorite season of the year. We remember our fathers and mothers. We celebrate our children and we treasure our friends and the many blessings given by our Lord. It really brings out the very best in all of us.”
Through the years, Murphey has proven his versatility as a musician, finding success by crossing genres from pop to country, bluegrass and western music. He followed his heart in 1990, returning to the music he loved as a boy with the release of “Cowboy Songs,” which featured reworked versions of classic songs including “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” “The Streets of Laredo,” and “Happy Trails.”
The success of that record spurred Murphey to continue in the cowboy music vein, releasing several more cowboy-themed records, including three “Cowboy Christmas” albums.
In 2009, Murphey took another turn into bluegrass with the release of the album “Buckaroo Blue Grass.” He repeated the formula he used on “Cowboy Songs” by offering new versions of classic bluegrass songs such as “Carolina in the Pines”, “Fiddlin’ Man”, “Lost River” and “What Am I Doing Hanging Around.”
In 2016 Murphey took yet another turn, releasing “Austinology — Alleys of Austin” in which he pays tribute to his time in the early ’70s Austin, Texas, “Outlaw country” music scene that included such country music legends as Willie Nelson, David Allan Coe and Jerry Jeff Walker.
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