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MP3 Dolan Ellis - Tall Tales, Lost Trails & Heroes

Arizona''s Official State Balladeer, with his beautifully resonant baritone voice and his 12-string guitar, tells you about the Arizona he knows and loves, with nine original songs plus Ghost Riders in the Sky.

10 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, COUNTRY: Western

Dolan Ellis has served as Arizona''s Official State Balladeer (a governor-appointed position) since 1966. Arizona was the first state to have an official balladeer, and Dolan was the first (and still the only) for Arizona. He describes himself as a singing poet laureate (or, as he may quip, lariat), but in reality he is much more. His 12-string guitar and his exciting vocal techniques, combined with his songwriting skills, his storytelling and humor, and his audience rapport, make his one of the best one-man shows one could ever see. Add to that combination the large-screen photography that is often included, and you get a great entertainment package.

Dolan was an original member of the New Christy Minstrels and is touring and recording with them again, more than 40 years later, to the excitement of audiences around the nation. Ghost Riders in the Sky (a track on this CD) is usually the solo he sings with the Christies, and he often gets a standing ovation for that song.

Seeking a place for Arizona and Western folk music and other art forms to be presented with dignity to interested audiences, Dolan founded the Arizona Folklore Preserve in Ramsey Canyon in Cochise County (just south of Sierra Vista). Since its opening in 1996, the Preserve has now featured more than 200 folk and acoustic artists. The AFP is now owned by the University of Arizona. Dolan remains as Artist-in-Residence and performs there one weekend each month.

This CD was a product of the Arizona Folklore Preserve, recorded in Dolan''s home adjacent to the AFP property. Dolan''s epic song, Geronimo (The Life of Geronimo), resulted from a class he took at Cochise College, writing a verse each week and surprising the instructor and students wth the completed song at the completion of the class. A more powerful and dramatic song about any subject is hard to find, and Dolan shows his understanding of what drove the warrior to fight to try to preserve his way of life.

The Bombing of Naco is based in Cochise County, about 20 miles from the AFP near Bisbee, Arizona, where the towns of Naco, Arizona, and Naco, Sonora (Mexico) share a border. It''s the true story of a barnstormer who, in 1929, decided to help the Sonoran rebels in their fight against the Federales. Luckily, no real harm was done and the story is actually funny, especially as Dolan Ellis reenacts it in his song.

There are seven other original tracks on the CD, all of them outstanding, all of them telling wonderful stories that make them great for active listening vs. background music. This CD is perfect for driving those long stretches of highway one often finds in the West, when other vehicles are rare. Time flies when you''re listening to Dolan Ellis.

The only cover song is Ghost Riders in the Sky, especially meaningful for this recording because Stan Jones, who wrote the famous song, was an Arizona cowboy inspired by the awesome and mysterious thunderstorms you''ll find in the mountainous Cochise County, especially in July and August during the "monsoon season."

If you like this CD, you should see Dolan in person. There are several video clips on his Web site, most of them about 45 seconds to 90 seconds in length. Click on the Cover Songs page to view two different parts of Ghost Riders.

Then click on Original Songs and watch videos of these songs from this CD: The Bombing of Naco, Camino del Diablo (includes Dolan''s large-screen photography), Frank Murphy''s Railroad (includes historic photographs of the railroad), Geronimo, Hereford Redneck, Lady of the Ledge, Magic Mountain, and The Old Crook Trail.

People who are interested in The New Christy Minstrels should consider this download.
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