Life of a singing cowboy | SummitDaily.com

Life of a singing cowboy

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI

DILLON – It all started December, 1980.

One minute, Rick Devin sat, an unknown musician, on a porch at Sunshine Village ski resort in Canada playing guitar. The next minute, he was sitting next to Tanya Tucker and Loretta Lynn, playing in Glen Campbell’s televised Christmas special.

After Campbell picked him to be an extra in his show, he invited Devin to tour. Within a year of performing with Campbell, people noticed Devin’s talent – people like Tucker, Lynn, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Michael Martin Murphey, Joe Cocker, The Dixie Chicks, Dan Fogelberg, Clint Black and Johnny Cash. He performed with them all.

Now Devin, a Dillon resident, performs Western music at events throughout the world, from Brazilian rodeos filled with 18,000 people to European and Asian markets.

This year, the Academy of Western Artists nominated him in six categories: entertainer of the year, Western music, male artist, Western album of the year, yodeler of the year, best Western song and the rising star award.

He’s honored to run against such artists as Murphey, George Strait and Don Edwards. The award ceremonies take place July 13 in Fort Worth, Texas.

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His rendition of Steven Foster’s “Oh, Susanna” will appear during two 30-second spots in the feature-length film “Hobbies,” which will be released in July, 2004, throughout Europe.

“Rick’s music piece is an integral part of the scenes in which the characters, dressed in Western attire, are dancing to the music. We are pleased to have the piece in our film,” said German film producer and director Matthias Luthardt.

This December, he will travel to the Bolivian Andes to take part in the BBC and Discovery Channel’s reenactment of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s trail ride. The show is scheduled to run in 2005.

But before Western academy awards, films and television shows, Devin returns to Southern Colorado for the Old Spanish Trail Ride in June, which features a June 22 concert in Del Norte.

The five-day wagon train re-enactment includes eight to 10 covered wagons, horseback riders, campfires and, of course, cowboy music. The ride celebrates a trail that ran from Colorado to Los Angeles, a trail as important as the Pony Express.

“There’s growth in the Academy of Western Artists and a growth in cowboy music,” Devin said. “I think everybody still has an interest in the mystery or the romance of the cowboy, and I don’t think that will ever die.”

In fact, the ranching culture in South America – where Devin spent much of March – still thrives.

“Brazil is similar to what you would envision on the ranches toward Fairplay or even north of Silverthorne – free-range cattle, not big lots,” he said in a phone interview from Brazil. “The lifestyle is very similar to American cowboys – a very traditional picture of what it was like 100 years ago in the U.S. – covered wagons, chuck drives.”

As Devin continues to spread Western music and cowboy tunes worldwide, he plans to continue releasing albums.

So far, five of his solo albums and two compilations have enriched people’s visions of the American West.

“The songs, the lyrics are about Summit County lifestyles,” he said. “The lyrics are very much about the environment, the mountains, the trees. It’s a simple life.”

And Devin walks the talk – wearing a cowboy hat and boots, driving his pickup truck and writing ballads that paint landscapes of the life and emotions of cowboy culture.

For more information or a sample of his music, visit http://www.rickdevin.com.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.