Curly Fletcher Rendezvous to bring local classics and new talent to Laws

Staff Writer

The Curley Fletcher Birthday Poetry Rendezvous is scheduled for September 27-29. Full schedule and tickets are available at lawsmuseum.org. Call 1 (800) 838-3006 for tickets by phone. For information call (760) 920-6008. All proceeds benefit Laws Railroad Museum and Historic Site.

Walt “Bimbo” Cheney
Walter James Cheney II was an active five-year-old in Holbrook, Arizona, when he tagged along with a family friend to sing a song at the local radio station. The song was “Bimbo” and the nickname was born.
When he was in his early teens his family moved to the Midwest, but when he was eighteen he returned to Arizona where he found work as a cowboy. He subsequently rode rough stock in rodeos and worked as a cowboy in New Mexico, Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada.
Walt began writing poetry 45 years ago, behind bucking chutes in rodeos, continued writing as he worked as a cowboy, and later discovered that other cowboys had done the same for over a century. Over 35 years ago, when he and other cowboys had a day off, they would gather at a park in Elko and tell each other their poems. Now, they gather everywhere.
“Quakie Braille,” a poem he wrote after visiting the scene in a recurring dream, has become a cowboy poetry standard – written by a cowboy, with a cowboy setting, it illustrates the universal appeal of cowboy poetry. A poet, a philosopher, and a Western storyteller, Walt’s poems transcend their settings, relating to people of all ages and all walks of life.

Larry Long and Fiddlin’ Pete
When Larry Long and Fiddlin’ Pete Watercott were in their twenties, they lived the life of Woody hitchhiking, hopping freight trains and passing the hat from bar to bar across the western states and the High Sierra Mountain range playing and writing songs for the people.
Larry went on to write and perform hundreds of ballads giving voice to struggling farmers, embattled workers and veterans for decades.
Author Studs Terkel called Long “a true American Troubadour.”
When Pete Seeger was told that Larry is often referred to as the Pete Seeger of Minnesota, Pete replied, “I would be honored to be called the Larry Long of New York.”
Inspired by Seeger’s work to clean up the Hudson River Larry founded the Mississippi River Revival. Long also assembled the first hometown tribute to Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma in 1989, which today has evolved into the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival.
Now a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist, Long has sung at major concerts and festivals throughout the United States and world, including Awesome Africa Festival (South Africa), Winnipeg Folk Festival (Canada), at the Hollywood Bowl with Kris Kristofferson, and at Madison Square Garden with Joan Baez and others for Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday Celebration.

Connor and Dalton Promocion de la Millpondinista
Connor and Dalton first played in Bishop at the Whiskey Creek in the fall of 1976. They quickly developed an enthusiastic fan base and continued to play at the Creek and Paradise Lodge through the summer of 1981.
Dan Connor is a Bishop-based singer/songwriter/guitarist and is one half of the local duo String Theory. Bass-player Larry Dalton lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin and performs regularly with a bluegrass band, a gypsy jazz trio and a symphony orchestra. Dan and Larry developed a distinctively percussive style – “a lot of sound for just two people.” In addition to being a high-energy dance band, they drew in their audience with musical finesse and sensitivity, and they were always good for a laugh.
Though they haven’t played together in four decades, they’ve each continued playing professionally and have had a blast dusting off old things and polishing up new ones in preparation for being back in Bishop. Although many people in Bishop share a history with Connor and Dalton, it’s not required in order to enjoy this outstanding group.

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