Why The Cowboy Sings (2002)

About the Film

The cowboy's job has always been dangerous, lonely, dusty, gory and low-paying. So why do cowboys make music, and why do they need to tell their story? Why the Cowboy Sings is a journey across the open West to explore this unique genre of folk art.

Co-producer Hal Cannon has been chasing this question for 30 years. He is a founder of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada and has played cowboy music in a traditional band since the early 1970s. In this journey he travels to four ranches, in the middle of winter, to visit cowboys during a season when they have more time to sing.


For licensing, film rights and permissions, contact Hal Cannon, Taki Telonidis, the distributor Western Folklife Center, or Folkstreams.

Film Details

  • Film by: Hal Cannon, Taki Telonidis
  • Produced by: Hal Cannon and Taki Telonidis, Executive Producers: Scott Chaffin, John Howe, Elizabeth Searles, A Western Folklife Center Film produced in association wit KUED
  • Cinematographer: Douglas Monroe, Bill Brussard, Taki Telonidis, Hal Cannon, Nancy Green
  • Sound: William Montoya
  • Editor: Bill Lauer with Taki Telonidis
  • Original Format: DV Mini
  • ©Western Folklife Center 2002
  • 58 mins, Color
  • Categories:
    MusicNative AmericanRural LifeWork