Monday, August 04, 2008

McRae and Davis

We drove down on Saturday to see Wally McRae and Stephanie Davis perform in a fund-raiser for the Northern Plains Resource Council. What a great show.

I had never seen Davis perform -- only heard her on "A Prairie Home Companion" -- a show on which she has appeared, she said in response to a question, "thousands of times." I had seen McRae once, also on "A Prairie Home Companion," when it originated from the Alberta Bair Theater a few years ago.

They were both great, and the way they played off each other was even better. McRae, in particular, is quite a performer, reciting his poems and reading some of his new prose with great emotion and skill. Every funny thing he does is a bit sad, and every sad one is a bit funny, that cowboy mixture of romance, sentimentality, toughness and fatalism that we've all gotten to know so well.

He also told a follow-up to this story. After McRae told Zarzyski that he had some stories he wanted to tell that he couldn't fit into rhyme and meter, Zarzyski told him to write prose.

"I don't know anything about writing prose," McRae protested.

"You don't know anything about writing poetry either," Zarzyski said, "but that's never stopped you."

Funny that you can go to the Alberta Bair Theater all season and see great performers from around the world. But none of them top a pair who grew up in Bridger and Colstrip. This is blessed country.

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