Iffen we don’t compare cowboys to Santa, p’raps we could compare them to three men who rode far to deliver unto the Lord some stuff.
Most strange, a one-act play ‘A Cowboy’s Christmas‘ hit Philadelphia in 1944. The operatic finale “A Cowboy Carol” featured three rangers figuring out how the world was about to become a better place right at a manger around Christmas time. Nate Tripp leads us to the new world beginning tonight. This musical is a worldwide sensation. Not so much here.
“Riding the Range for Jesus” is a vocal exercise of some dubiousness. Of the many gospel place-fillers to choose from i’ll click on father son duet Byron and Slim Whitman. ‘Cuz of the yodeling.
The best metaphor for the wise men a la cowboys is “Corn, Water, and Wood,” a magic realism mirage on the December badlands. This is best done by Michael Martin Murphy. Riders in the Sky do a pretty, subdued version with haunting harmonies. Bryndle adds a percussive ethereal quality. But i want to feature Barry Ward and his rough hewn throatiness. Sounds like prayer.