Here we have a set of 5 lessons on traditional Cowboy Songs. These songs all have something that sets them apart from the usual beginning level songs as they might include instrumental fills, tags, or more complex chords. These lessons also go into greater depth and detail than is usually found in somewhat simple songs.
Lesson 1: Goodbye, Old Paint, I’m-a Leavin’ Cheyenne - Guitar Lesson
*Goodbye, Old Paint, I’m-a Leavin’ Cheyenne*is a classic Cowboy tune that took on many faces as it evolved in the early days of American Western Music. This lesson looks at an arrangement similar to one done by Andy Parker and The Plainsmen, as well as another similar to a version by Johnny Bond. They are in different keys with different chord progressions and melodies, and each has a fill played on a lead instrument. One was done with the fiddle and the other with an accordion. These fills are incorporated into the lesson for a little extra variety.
Lesson 2: The Streets Of Laredo - Guitar Lesson
The Streets Of Laredo, also known as Cowboy’s Lament, is an early ballad about life in the Old West. There are a few very popular themes for storylines in these songs and this one follows the “young cowboy, done wrong, dying before his time”, theme. This lesson starts with a ‘Work It Out’ approach and some ear training exercises to figure out the chord progression and melody, then gets into a couple of ways to create instrumental arrangements, continues with looking at it in a few different keys, and concludes with a short sing along.
Lesson 3: Home On The Range - Guitar Lesson
*Home On The Range *is one of the most beloved tunes from American history. Originally a poem by Brewster Higley called My Western Home, it was set to music by his friend Daniel Kelley and later documented and modified by music historian John Lomax. This lesson looks at many ways of harmonizing the melody, starting with a basic I-IV-V progression, then adding a few more colorful chords, and continuing with some moving bass lines to create a rich and complex sound.
Lesson 4: The Ballad Of Jesse James - Guitar Lesson
The Ballad Of Jesse James is another song collected by John Lomax in his 1910 book Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads. It tells some of the tales about the legendary outlaw and his cohorts in the James-Younger gang. The lesson goes over the basic chord progression and strumming pattern with the addition of a bluegrass-style instrumental arrangement picking out the melody on the bass strings while continuing to strum the chords.
Lesson 5: Waiting For A Train - Guitar Lesson
*Waiting For A Train*, maybe not so much a Cowboy Song as a Train Song, written by Jimmie Rodgers, aka The Singing Brakeman, is from the early 1930s as Jimmie spent about five years recording before dying of TB at the age of 35. Many of his songs included his trademark yodeling, also very popular in earlier Cowboy Songs. This lesson covers Jimmie’s chord progression with a few fills and an instrumental interpretation of the yodeled tag.