Noted country-western artist Michael Martin Murphey entertained before a packed house at the annual Farm-City Banquet, hosted by the Lamar Chamber of Commerce this past Saturday, November 14th. Murphey’s career has shown a versatility that has ranged from singing and composing for various musical formats including country-western, cowboy and bluegrass styles. He has garnered top honors in each for over 40 years.
Following the dinner prepared and served by a half a dozen FFA groups in southeast Colorado, Murphey showcased his talents and cowboy philosophies which covered the importance of local farming communities, what makes a cowboy, changes in country-western music, faith and family. Murphey told the audience, “I changed my brand of music in 1989 to cowboy themes and I’ve never gone back.” He was critical of today’s country western styles, stating, “These singers really don’t come from the country anymore. They don’t sing about the country or know anything about the country except for having a party with a six-pack out of the back of a pick-up truck, down by the local watering hole.”
Murphey extolled the virtues of working the land, with crops or cattle and related the tough time several years ago, a producer had, pitching a show about farm families to public broadcasting television stations. “No one thought there would be any interest with their audience, but they got about 10% of the stations signed up.” It caught on, he remarked, and with an audience that doubled every year over the next several years. He said that people do care where their food comes from and appreciated the facts they learned by watching the program, “America’s Heartland” for which he wrote the theme.
Decked out in his traditional buckskin and fringe jacket, Murphey performed as a solo act, singing several of his past hit songs, concluding the evening with what has become his signature selection, “Wildfire”. Following his performance, the entertainer was available for an autograph session, any number of ‘selfies’ with the audience and an opportunity to promote and sell cd’s of his collection of hit songs from over the decades.
Bob Delancey, owner of KVAY radio in Lamar, hosted the event and prior to Murphey’s performance, the beef carcass awards were presented with first place going to Amber Comer whose beef was purchased by Davis Farms. FFA District President, Rayce Coen, thanked the audience for their support. The Lamar High School junior presented an overview of the FFA goals and recent activities.
By Russ Baldwin
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