EVANSTON — Seventy adults and children brought their lawn chairs and umbrellas to the parking lot of the Uinta County Library on Friday, July 31. They came to hear Buffalo Bill Boycott and Joanne Orr play western music and tell stories of the Old West. The free concert began at 10:30 a.m., and in spite of the already hot temperature and the parking lot providing little or no shade, the audience remained throughout the hour of entertainment.
A few audience members chose to sit back on the sidewalk in the shade of trees while most placed their chairs close to the musicians. Some of the audience wore hats and some had brought umbrellas. The audience didn’t appear to mind the heat as they gave the musicians their full attention. Boycott and Orr kept them tapping their feet and clapping their hands for an hour of cowboy and western American folk music interlaced with historical facts.
“Can anyone tell me the name of the famous Indian woman who was on the trail with Lewis and Clark?” Boycott asked, receiving the answer “Sacagawea” shouted by many children’s voices.
Throughout their performance, Boycott and Orr gave interesting tidbits of history accompanied by songs including “Sweet Betsy from Pike,” “Turkey in the Straw,” “Wagon Train” and “Border Café.” Boycott had everyone singing the tune “You Are My Sunshine.”
One of the history lessons had to do with Wyoming firsts: the first to have a national park — Yellowstone; the first national monument — Devil’s Tower; the first woman to serve on a jury; the first woman governor and the first state to give women the right to vote. Boycott encouraged the children to read the history books and pioneer journals in the library.
Boycott has been a full-time entertainer and world-class yodeler for over 30 years and was a member of the Grammy-award-winning New Christy Minstrels from 2005-08. He sings and plays the fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar.
Orr performs on vocals, banjo and guitar. She was a strolling minstrel for years with the Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village Players in Dearborn, Michigan, when she met Boycott. Together they have been performing and touring nationwide for the past 14 years. The singer/songwriters are the winners of a Western Music Association Harmony Duo Award.
For their closing numbers, they sang two songs specifically about Wyoming: “Walking Room” and “Wyoming 100 Years Ago.” Boycott said “Walking Room” is about Sinks Canyon and the Wind River, which is near his home in Lander. He said the song was originally a poem given to him and he wrote the music for it.
Children’s librarian Michelle Kallas has been bringing the duo to the Uinta County Library for 20 years. The concert was supported in part by the Wyoming Arts Council through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature and from the Uinta County Library Foundation.
Kallas had made plans to bring the couple to the library earlier in the spring but had to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The duo has been so popular that Kallas decided to bring them for an outdoor concert when the health orders for gatherings allowed it. The duo also provided concerts for the Lyman and Mountain View libraries.