Gail Steiger to host 7th annual Cowboy Christmas Concert

There’s going to be a lot of storytelling, a lot of singing and guitar playing going on at the seventh annual Cowboy Christmas Concert, an afternoon performance of several musicians and hosted by cowboy poet and singer Gail Steiger. Musicians include Nancy Elliot, Western poet, singer, musician and author; Garrick Rawlings, Ramblin’ Jack’s old tour manager, with his little bit of outlaw country style; and the Generation Band of local young people who have evolved into a tight folk-bluegrass-rock kind of style that will probably close the show, Steiger said.

The concert starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Prescott Center for the Arts, 208 N. Marina St., Prescott. Tickets are $18.

Steiger, as master of ceremonies, will scatter a few of his poems and songs throughout the concert. The musicians will have about 30 minutes to play, and there’s enough variety in their styles that everyone should leave happy.

Elliot provides a mix of historical stories, cultural stories, and contemporary experience of the Southwest. She calls her music “Southwestern Americana.”

“I write primarily about the people and the life of the Southwest. My music is quite a bit of storytelling,” she said, adding that one story she may tell is about the time she and her young daughters were caught in a bad snowstorm at Christmas. Sometimes her stories stand on their own, sometimes they lead into songs.

Elliot has played music for most of her life, she said, beginning on the organ and moving to guitar at 13; she was playing folk festivals at 15. She loves her Baden guitar with a cedar top.

“It has a beautiful sound,” she said. “It’s not a common brand of guitar. I frequently get people coming up to the stage afterward asking about it.”

Rawlings and Steiger have known each other since the 1980s when Rawlings came to visit one night and stayed two weeks. He plays locally at some of the “rowdier places in town,” Steiger said, describing Rawlings’ music as “in between folk and rock – there’s no telling – with a little country thing going on too.” He will, no doubt, have some stories to tell, too.

“There should be enough variety in the show for everybody to like,” Steiger said.

Generation Band is made up of Prescott young people who have being playing together now for four years. They cover the Western tunes of Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton as well as more contemporary artists such as The Punch Brothers and the Decemberists.

Stieger had good things to say about the Generations band, which played early on in the Cowboy Christmas Concerts. “We’ve been watching them. They’ve just gotten tighter and tighter. They’ve come so far, and are really doing well,” he said.

“Music is one of those things that tends to give back what you put into it. And they’ve certainly put a lot into their music,” Steiger said.

For more information or tickets, call 928-445-3286, or visit pac-az.net/.