John's mom Teddy, or Fred, or Frederika, had us all up to the main house for dinner on our first night at the ranch. Teddy is in her eighties but tools around the dirt roads of the ranch on a bicycle on a daily basis, miles at a time. She's the presiding matriarch and muse of the place and doesn't look much different from when I first visited it in the early Seventies.
[Photo by Hugh McCarten]
She remembers all the old songs and calls for them by name, and admires them graciously. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that she raised three extremely talented sons — she's the best audience imaginable for creative endeavors.
Every thirty years or so I get a good idea for a song lyric. On my last visit to Wyoming in 2002 I wrote a lyric for a song called “Wyoming Lullaby”. When I got back to California, where I was living at the time, I gave it to J. B. to see if he might have an idea for a melody to go with it. He did, and wrote a song that he performs regularly with his group The Household Gods in Ojai.
It was a fine thing to bring it back to Wyoming, where it was born, and J. B. sang it at Teddy's house after dinner. His vocal is sublime in this performance recorded on video by Corinne, perfectly complemented by Eli's sweet guitar break:
Teddy admired it graciously — a benediction from the original cowboy girl.