336 pages, 6 x 9
29 b&w illus.
Release Date:15 Apr 2022


University of Texas Press

Renowned for A Ballad of the West, his epic trilogy about the American West from the era of mountain man Jim Bridger to the closing of the frontier, Bobby Bridger has had a career in show business that spans the rockabilly-to-"Music City, USA" era in Nashville, the cosmic cowboy scene in Austin, the flowering of folk music, and even Broadway theater. His multifaceted talents have found expression in singing, acting, writing, painting, and sculpting. In this engrossing account of the personal and artistic journey that led him to create a new American art form, the epic ballad, Bridger touches on almost every major musical, entertainment, and cultural movement of the second half of the twentieth century, with a cast of characters that reads like a "Who's Who" of American popular culture.

Bridger's story begins in a small town in northeast Louisiana, where he first experienced the twin attractions of painting and music. He recounts his early efforts to become a successful Nashville singer-songwriter and his growing awareness that the commercial music business would never support his evolving desire to become a historical balladeer. Bridger recalls how his interest in folk music and folk ballads fired his ambition to tell the story of the American West. He movingly describes how this dream eventually became A Ballad of the West, an epic trilogy about Jim Bridger, the Lakota Sioux, and Buffalo Bill that has taken form in an acclaimed cycle of songs, a one-man show, books, full-cast stage performances, and other media.

Included in the book is a DVD that offers songs from A Ballad of the West and a sample from the forthcoming documentary Quest of an Epic Balladeer, based on Bobby Bridger's life and work.

In addition to his masterwork A Ballad of the West, which he performs in repertory across America, Bobby Bridger is the composer of "Heal in the Wisdom," the anthem of the internationally famous Kerrville Folk Festival, and author of Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull: Inventing the Wild West.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Prologue. The Remuda
  • Chapter One. Coyote in the Catbird's Seat
  • Chapter Two. A Painter's Portal
  • Chapter Three. When the Pupil's Ready, the Teacher Will Appear
  • Chapter Four. Like a Rolling Stone
  • Chapter Five. Hunters and Farmers
  • Chapter Six. Three Chords and the Truth (As Long As It's Cowritten)
  • Chapter Seven. The Sounds of Silence
  • Chapter Eight. Scale
  • Chapter Nine. Merging of Our Minds
  • Chapter Ten. A Hill on the Moon
  • Chapter Eleven. The Big Tent
  • Chapter Twelve. And I Wanted to Sing for the People
  • Chapter Thirteen. Juxtapositions
  • Chapter Fourteen. Beyond the Fourth Wall
  • Chapter Fifteen. How to Spell Guru: Gee-you-are-you!
  • Chapter Sixteen. A Dance in the Desert
  • Chapter Seventeen. The Medicine Wheel
  • Chapter Eighteen. Luminescence
  • Epilogue. Digital Balladeers
  • Notes
  • Index
Find what you’re looking for...

Free shipping on Canadian orders over $40

Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters

Current Catalogue
Fall 2022 catalogue cover
Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.