By JACKIE NANCE
“My music is the reflection of the life that I’ve led,” said Miss “V,” a Wyoming-based songwriter. “I travel all over the country, gathering stories about different people, lifestyles, pieces of history and walks of life — anything that’s not right on the surface of American culture.”
In true troubadour fashion, the Gypsy Cowbelle employs both music and anecdotal charm to conduct a cross-sectional odyssey of the nation’s history and culture. She has appeared at numerous Cowboy Poetry Gatherings around the west, including the national gathering in Elko, Nev., where she shared the stage with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Baxter Black. The Gypsy Cowbelle has been dubbed “Wyoming’s quintessential singer/songwriter” and has performed at music festivals, banquets, dude ranches, movie sets, museums, libraries, concert halls and for historical societies.
Miss “V” grew up with horses and calls herself a country gal.
“I was always in the country even if the house itself was in the suburbs,” she said.
For 14 years, “V” was a caretaker on a remote homestead ranch in the Wyoming Rockies, where cooking on woodstoves, driving teams, and hauling water were all part of the day’s work. She put up hay, gathered firewood, built irrigation dams, hunted, built saddles, skiied a mountain, entertained around a campfire and canned elk.
“V” first met music through her singer father, and after becoming a musician herself she created her own instrument, the “Plank Banjo,” when she was a young adult. Crafted from a pine plank, a coffee can, and a deer hide, the Plank Banjo has worked with the Gypsy Cowbelle and her trusty guitar for years.
And where did her nickname come from? “V” likes to keep it simple.
“Years ago, when I was hitchiking the land and the rivers, I learned that the trick was to follow the “v” down the river as the path of least resistance,” she said. “A hitchiker has to have a solid handle, so I chose that nickname. Everybody calls me “V”, even my parents.”
There’s no point to wrestle down a first and last name, “V” said, because that just ruins the story.
Gypsy Cowbelle will play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Uniontown, where she promises music that is “nothing fancy, but guaranteed authentic.” Tickets are $10 at the door. “V” will also be on the air with Tommy Tucker on KRLC 10 a.m.-noon Friday.
Contact Nance at email@example.com or (208) 883-4640.
-If you go:
WHAT: Gypsy Cowbelle performs
WHEN: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Dahmen Barn, 419 N. Parkway, Uniontown
COST: $10 at the door