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Come on down to the Old West

‘Don’t Fence Me In’ offers a glimpse of Americana on Feb. 29

Fans of the American West will take a step back in time and enjoy an authentic Old West experience on Feb. 29 when the World Theater Performing Arts Series presents “Don’t Fence Me In” at CSU Monterey Bay. The evening will feature five great acts in the newly renovated University Center.

Hearing the Quebe Sisters sing is nothing short of mesmerizing. – The Washington Post

Few places in the world capture the imagination like the American West. From the range, ranch, reservation and roadhouse, from the valley of the Rio Grande to the Bitteroot Mountains in Montana, "Don’t Fence Me In: Songs, Music and Poetry of the American West" explores the region’s celebrated musical and oral culture.

Cowboy songs and poetry, high plains yodeling, western swing fiddle and vocal harmonies, lively Tex-Mex polkas and rancheras, and Northern Plains pow-wow drum and song are performed by five exceptional artists – all working cowboys and other authentic representatives of today’s Western culture. These artists express the vitality and power of tradition.

Performers include: • Wylie & The Wild West: Five-thirty in the morning is not an hour generally claimed by musicians. Despite his successful career as one of America’s most popular Western entertainers, singer and yodeler Wylie Gustafson still gets up every day at 5:30 to tend his livestock – it’s what grounds him and is the backbone of his art, he says.

Los Texmaniacs, Tex-Mex conjunto: A Grammy Award-winning group emerging from San Antonio’s vibrant Tejano music scene, Los Texamaniacs melds the classic conjunto sounds – rancheras, polkas, waltzes, cumbias and huapangos – with Texas rock, blues and R&B and is putting its own stamp on musical traditions that run deep in south Texas communities.

The Quebe Sisters, western swing and Texas fiddling: The three siblings from Fort Worth, Texas, bring a fresh, youthful energy to the rich musical traditions of the Lone Star State. They not only fiddle but also sing in three-part harmony. They have appeared numerous times at the Grand Ole Opry, and at the 2010 Berkshire-Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, where ukulele player Warren Buffet couldn’t resist joining them on a song.

•? North Bear, Northern Plains pow-wow drum and song: North Bear’s members represent tribes from across the Great Plains. The group performs hand drum songs with youthful energy and style influenced by modern rhythm and blues and hip-hop.

Paul Zarzyski, rodeo poet: Recipient of the Montana Governor's Award for Literature, Zarzyski spent 15 years on the rodeo circuit as a bareback bronc rider before deciding to concentrate solely on poetry. Nine collections of his poetry have been published.

The program is a presentation of the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), a private, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the United States. Founded in 1933, it is the oldest folk arts organization in the nation. ?

NCTA programs celebrate and honor arts that are deeply rooted cultural expressions – music, crafts, stories and dance passed down through time by families, communities, tribal, ethnic and occupational groups. Bring the entire family for this evening of fiddling, song, poetry and Native American drumming. Tickets are $50 for reserved table seats with beverage service; all other seats at first-come, first-seated and range from $35 for general admission to $10 for children. Senior citizens, military and student discounts are available. Tickets can be purchased by calling the World Theater box office at (831) 582-4580 or online. The University Center is located on Sixth Avenue on the CSUMB campus. Driving directions and a campus map are available here. IF YOU COME • WHAT: Don’t Fence Me In, Music and Poetry of the American West • WHERE: CSUMB’s University Center • WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Feb. 29 • TICKETS: $10 to $50; reserve online or by calling the box office at 582-4580 • INFORMATION: (831) 582-4580

Photos (from top) (1) Wylie Gustafson photo by Michael Stewart (2) The Quebe Sisters (3) Los Texmaniacs