I met Kerry Grombacher almost twenty years ago when I joined the WMA (now the IWMA) and over the course of that time, he has become one of my favorite Western songwriters. His songs are authentic, lyrical and literate. It’s a mystery to me as to why he’s never had a song named Western Song of the Year, nor has he been acknowledged as Songwriter of the Year. I’m hoping that will change with the release of his latest musical effort, “Range of the Buffalo.”
There are twelve songs on the album and each one is a gem. Some of them are favorites of mine, having been in his repertoire for a while now…”We Rode the River ‘til the River Ran Dry,” “Harvey Girls,” “The Outlaw Trail” (which I recorded in 2018). Others I hadn’t heard before, including the magnificent “Trovador,” which Kerry reports he hasn’t even had a chance to perform live yet. The songs describe the breadth and depth of the Western experience over many years, past and present, and while some are about cowboys, he also chronicles the experience of Native Americans in the West as well as highlighting the Southwestern/Hispanic culture. There’s great production from the recording crew in Austin with whom he has worked for many years. I especially liked the presence of the accordion on so many tracks, it gave the songs a feeling of authenticity.
Kerry’s songs are full of “fanciful ideas” and literary references…we don’t often hear mention of Willa Cather and James Joyce in Western songs but maybe we should. Kerry dares to suggest that not all cowboys spoke in grunts and that in fact, many were well-read and well-spoken. As he says, there’s “a little Plato, a little Chuck Pyle and a little self-reference too.” For me, this is an album that I’ll be listening to on a regular basis as I get back out on the road. You should check it out at the link below and by the way, Hey IWMA, don’t ignore Kerry this year!! https://kgrombacher.com/