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Posts Tagged ‘Gatherings’

Cora Rose Wood

Cora Rose Wood

I first met Cora at the Western Music Association Awards and Festival where I was serving as an official photographer in 2007 when she was just approaching six years old. There was a crowd in the lobby of the host hotel and when I made it to the center to see who was singing, there was this little gal with a guitar as big as she was belting out a western song. When she stopped singing and the crowd moved away I introduced myself to Cora and her Mom, Laurie, and asked if I could make a portrait of her. I knew she would be more animated if I let her sing, so asked her to sing me a song she made up herself about her pony. She cocked her head, took a deep breath and lit right into a song…eyes on mine, she sang some of the cutest lyrics about how much she loves her pony(made up on the spot, by the way). She punctuated the end of the song with an exclamation point of the brightest smile. The photograph here is of that exclamation point. I’ve since come to know Cora and Laurie and count them as friends and have learned to brace myself when I see my Cora-kins at gatherings as when she sees me she runs to me and jumps up into my arms and wraps those cowgirl legs around my waist.

This year at a gathering in Sierra Vista, Cora was the only one brave enough to come outside on a cold, blustery day so I could photograph her by the blooming trees. Although her hat kept blowing off and she had to chase it, we persevered and created this wonderful portrait of her (complimented by the buckle she won in barrel racing competition). When she was ready to release her first CD, I had the cover image ready. I’m honored that the Wood family chose me to provide the photography and CD design for Cora’s Cowgirl Yodel. Cora has a big voice tucked into a little gal, and she has been tutored by Janet McBride (who tutored a young LeAnn Rimes and also the grand-children of the Von Trapp family). I encourage you to give Cora’s CD a spin.  Cora’s Cowgirl Yodel , which includes seven songs and three poems, is available for $13 postpaid from: Wood Western Music, c/o Laurie Wood, HC 63 Box 18C, Saratoga, WY 82331. Read some of Cora’s poems and more about her here  on the cowboypoetry.com website and visit her web site, www.woodwesternmusic.com, Cora’s Page, which includes audio and video clips.

 Cora Rose Wood's CD Cover
Cora Rose Wood’s CD Cover

 

 

 

 

    

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William Merritt in Sedona

William Merritt in Sedona

This picture is of my husband, William, yet not at the Kearny Gathering. The picture here is him by the Red Rock Crossing stream in Sedona and since he is singing a song he wrote called Where the Water Runs, I figured it fit. I’m in Ruidoso having my first week of “soul charging” in many long years and he is up in Kearny, AZ, performing “officially” for the first time at a western music gathering.  In his first set he included: Cowboy’s Prayer written by Badger Clark, Calling Out Your Name by Rich Mullins, The Saddle (a song we co-wrote), and the Rillito Song (name pending: a song about the historic Rillito Racetrack in Tucson being sold out to become soccer fields). For his second set he performed: Where the Water Runs, High Chin Bob (which I call “the kitty-cat song), Julio Robledeo (by Eddy Harrison), and Hurryin’ Back Home (another William Merritt original).

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Gathering of Nations Tiny Tots

Gathering of Nations Tiny Tots

I was the guest photographer at this years Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, NM. The gathering only has one guest photographer per year and last year’s was a Rolling Stones Magazine photographer. Rick Huff, who I’ve known through the Western Music Association, has been affiliated with the Gathering for the past 30 years and he introduced me to Derek, Lita, and Melonie Matthews (the gathering’s producers). I sent over a web portfolio of images I created at Na’ii’ees ceremonies up at the San Carlos reservation in AZ and was accepted based on those images. I will write more posts on the Gathering soon, yet how could I not put the children in the first post. Serious, silly, independant, hanging on their mother’s dress fringes like apron strings, delightful, and interested in every sound and sight swirling around them…they are truly the future of the people.
I uploaded 20 images of the Tiny Tots onto my myspace page in the photo galleries. I’d love for you to take a look! myspace.com/photographybyfaith1
 

Gathering of Nations Tiny Tots

Gathering of Nations Tiny Tots

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William Merritt, my talented husband

William Merritt, my talented husband

My husband, William, has been coming forward in the western music world…first in the audience, then at the fringes of the jam sessions then singing in them, and in the last year he has participated in some open mic sessions at the western gatherings. This weekend, while I’m in Ruidoso, NM, he is performing at the Kearny gathering in AZ. He is a singer and a songwriter with a passion for traditional western music and it’s culture. We have co-written a song, The Saddle, that he’ll be perfoming this weekend and that you can hear on his website, williammerritt.net(as well as other songs). I’m hoping that his good friend Jon Messenger adds some harmonica accompaniment to his song Where the Water Runs. I am so proud of my very talented husband!

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