Chuck Pyle, renowned "Zen Cowboy," will return to Chautauqua County in May to host a performance and workshop.
Pyle will appear at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 3, to perform at Trinity Guitars' Back Room in Jamestown. He will then present his acclaimed "Free the Thumb; Fire the Band" fingerstyle guitar workshop on Saturday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
According to Bill Ward, who helped organize the event, area residents may remember Pyle as a feature performer of the Mayville Bluegrass and Folk Festivals, which Ward founded.
"This is not my first time in the area at all," said Pyle. "I've done that Bluegrass show that Bill Ward has had over in Mayville, some concerts and several workshops over there."
According to Pyle, he hopes the reason he keeps coming back to this area is because the people of Chautauqua County like him and enjoy his music.
"You can only hope," said Pyle. "But, yes, I think I have a bit of a following there."
Pyle has a special treat planned for that following, he said. He'll be performing several new tunes in addition to the classics that his fans have come to expect when they see him. Some of classics Pyle has planned include: "Chickadee," "Here Comes The Water," "My Grandpa's Hands," "Cadillac Cowboy," "Jaded Lover," "Texas Mosey," "Keep It Simple" and "Step By Step."
"If I have what I think I'm going to have for an audience, it'll be people who have bought my albums and they want to hear some of the old stuff because it's their favorite," said Pyle. "One of the songs I get a lot of requests for is 'Chickadee,' a song that I wrote on my last album. It is like a children's song, but it's got a funny story in front of it - like most of my songs. It's got a universal appeal in that it has a repetitious kind of refrain at the end of each line that mimics the voice of a chickadee."
Another song Pyle gets a lot of requests for is "Here Comes The Water," a tune about a flood that happened in Colorado in which a patrolman lost his life.
"He was headed down the canyon with his bullhorn going on and a huge wall of water caught him," said Pyle.
"My Grandpa's Hands," another fan favorite, is about a Native American chieftain who was an avatar, or shaman, that the cavalry soldiers were so afraid of that when they killed him they divided him into seven different parts and buried him in seven different places.
Pyle's song "Cadillac Cowboy" has been recorded more than 30 times. "Jaded Lover," the first song Pyle ever had recorded by someone else, was recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker. And, for the fingerstyle enthusiasts, Pyle said he'll also perform several instrumentals, such as "Texas Mosey."
Pyle's "Free the Thumb; Fire the Band" fingerstyle guitar workshop will also be geared toward enthusiasts, he said.
"The whole idea of fingerstyle is to make it sound full like a piano," said Pyle. "So, firing the band means that you don't need the bass player or the drummer. Hopefully you keep time well, and sing in tune because my workshop is geared toward people who want to sing at the same time. So, it's more towards embellishing between lyrics, and having that rhythmic freedom to keep the beat while doing the embellishments that add to the sound. You can self-accompany yourself and sound professional - imagine that."
Pyle has performed for the Colorado legislature, Austin City Limits and at Bill Gates' home. He's had his songs recorded by John Denver, Chris LeDoux, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Jerry Jeff Walker. He is currently working on a Christmas album, which will be released later this year, as well as a new studio album that will be released early next year.
"You gotta stay busy," said Pyle. "I've got bunches of friends who have 20 albums and I'm as old as they are. So, I'm trying to catch up - maybe two greatest hits in a row will just about bring me up to speed."
Tickets to the concert are $20 and reservations to the workshop are $65. They can be purchased at Trinity Guitars, 800 W. Third St. in Jamestown, by calling 665-4490 or by visiting www.trinityguitars.com.