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In 2007 at the end of a lengthy career as a university professor, I became fascinated with cowboy and western music and cowboy yodeling. The focus of my repertoire is primarily on cowboy yodeling songs and traditional cowboy and western songs from the first half of the twentieth century. I have performed as a cowboy and western singer and yodeler at a number of venues in and around my home in western Tom HawkMaryland as well as in twenty states and four foreign countries. I also have performed annually since 2008 at the Western Music Association’s Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My first CD, Yodeling Familiar Trails, in collaboration with Greg Latta of Frostburg, Maryland, came out in November 2010. I released my second CD, Earning My Spurs, again in collaboration with Gregg Latta, in Februaury 2018. I am a member of the Western Music Association, the Association of Western Artists, the Cowboy Poets Society, and Pro Cowboy Country Artist Association.

I would not be yodeling cowboy and western music today if it were not for two yodelers. The first is Taylor Ware, whose amazing yodeling captivated my imagination in 2007, she has been my inspiration. The second is Margo Smith, whose yodeling instructional tape and booklet were a perfect fit for the way I learn and whose clear, melodic, bell-like yodeling has been the quality touchstone I have sought to achieve. Since learning how to yodel, there are two other yodelers who have had a significant influence on my yodeling; Roy Rogers and Yodeling Slim Clark. The warmth and ease of their yodeling have provided additional standards for me to seek.

There are, however, two other earlier influences that have played a direct role in being open to the appeal and possibility of learning how to yodel. During my grade school days in the late forties and early fifties in southern California, I, like many other kids my age, went to the movies on Saturday afternoons to watch black and white cowboy movies starring Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, Ken Maynard, and other singing/yodeling cowboys. Gene Autry was my favorite and I learned probably a dozen standard western songs, including his Back in the Saddle Again, from watching those movies and the reruns on the days of early television. Those are fond memories for me and ones that have lasted to the very present. The second Tom Hawkinfluence is that I have been singing in church and college choirs as well as occasional solo work in the community throughout all of my life. I also have taken about 50 formal college credits of music courses for the fun of it during my thirties and forties. So music is a big part of my life.

I would like to acknowledge the on-going encouragement and support for my cowboy and western music CD's from Terri and Steve Taylor, who are the western group Stampede, Janet McBride of Mesquite, Texas, KG and the Ranger of Madison, Wisconsin, all members of the Western Music Association, and Mike Johnson of Washington DC, a fine yodeler in his own right and a very good friend. At the same time, I want to thank the many western music artists and poets, past and present, of the Western Music Association, the Association of Western Artists, and the Cowboy Poets Society who have introduced me to the amazingly rich repertoire of western music and cowboy poetry in general and the western yodeling songs in particular through their compositions, live performances, and CD’s. Since beginning this yodeling journey in August of 2007, I have purchased over sixty CD’s that contain multiple western yodeling songs and from which I have found many to learn and more that I want to learn. I hope that I have continued the western singing and yodeling traditions in a way that brings credit to all of those artists and to the art form that it so richly deserves.


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