Western singer and advocate Michael Martin Murphey will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his nearly 50 years producing celebrated Western music. He will be …
As reported on February 28, Western singer and advocate Michael Martin Murphey, 73, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his nearly 50 years producing celebrated Western music. He will be honored during the 59th annual Western Heritage Museum Awards, set for April 12-13 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
"In the Old West," Murphey, a former Taos resident, said, "songs were shared by pioneers, cattlemen, ranchers, painted ladies and even gunslingers as a way of keeping the West alive. I have always been drawn to songs about the love of the land, the strength of the prairie folks, the dusty trails, the mythic tales and the legends of a bygone era. I have always admired Westerners for their stubborn determination and deep love of life. That's what I celebrate in my music."
Although Murphey first gained national attention on the pop music scene, according to a publicist's statement, he has remained true to his Western roots with hits like "Wildfire" and compositions like "Land of Enchantment." The former was a major commercial success and the latter is the "official state ballad of New Mexico."
Born in Dallas, Texas, Murphey began his musical career in folk, pop and "outlaw" country music. Following a successful beginning as a songwriter in California where his songs were recorded by the likes of Kenny Rogers and The Monkees, Murphey returned to his native Texas where he, along with Jerry Jeff Walker, Gary P. Nunn and others, gave rise to the Austin music scene. Known as the "Cosmic Cowboy Movement" (named for Murphey's popular song "Cosmic Cowboy"), the movement set the stage for the Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings-led Outlaw Movement. His current release, "Austinology • Alleys of Austin," is a nod to the music that made Austin an American music center. Today, Murphey maintains his relationship to Taos County through his annual summer music series at the Rockin' 3M Chuckwagon Shows in Red River, north of Taos.
Others being recognized by the museum this year include Hollywood actor Kevin Costner, who will be inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers; three-time world-champion steer roper (and father of country music icon Reba McEntire), Clark McEntire; and cowboy and former slave who first discovered the Folsom, New Mexico, archaeological site, George McJunkin (1851-1922). Noted cowboy entertainer and musician Dave Stamey will be presented with the Chester A. Reynolds Award, bestowed on a living honoree who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to Western values and ideals.
The museum's Western Heritage Award was established in 1961 as the pinnacle commemoration of the American West by honoring the legacy of men and women for their works in literature, music, film and television, a press release states. All award recipients receive "The Wrangler," a bronze sculpture of a cowboy on horseback representing an iconic symbol of the American West's determination, persistence and pride.
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