Wanted: Lovers of the West

by Sharlene Irete


Brenn Hill's new CD "Equine" appeals to cowboys, cowboy wannabes, people who love the West or people who just love the idea of the West.

The Western singer/songwriter plays Friday at the CVIC Hall as part of the Carson Valley Arts Council's 2010-11 concert series.

"I'm honored to be coming back to Carson Valley," said Hill. "This is a good area, an important area, for me. There's a lot of history and a lot connected to land and livestock, and the foundation of my music is horses, livestock and that lifestyle.

"I feel inspired here. It feels a bit like home for me - Great Basin country," said the Hooper, Utah, native. "I feel a sense of responsibility to connect with the fans and put on a good show."

Hill's show will include songs from "Equine," his first CD since 2007's "What a Man's Got to Do."

"'Equine' has been a monumental project for me," Hill said. "It's on its way to become a bestseller. Good music is a catalyst to opening doors for you, and 'Equine' is laying new trails."

Hill writes and sings about family, horses, buckaroos and ranchers, a wife's patience, his son's battle with cancer, and the power of prayer.

He said he finds release riding horses and writing songs, and finds inspiration from his life experiences.

"I turn to my music and write about them," he said. "And I have a four-legged therapist in my backyard. Animals have a window to your soul. Even challenging horses make you dig deeper into yourself."

Hill's life experiences include having a 4-year-old son who is in remission from spinal and brain cancer.

"Briggs is doing physical therapy trying to get back walking again. It's one of the last hurdles," he said. "He started preschool with his class. We're trying for him to be a little boy again, let him ride his mini horse and try to keep him physically active.

"The remission time is 36 months and it's been 24 months. We feel blessed to still have him. I call Briggs my 'little walking miracle.'"

The whole family was going to a Chicago Bears football game this month as part of Briggs' wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"Briggs is named after (Chicago linebacker) Lance Briggs so he'll get to meet him," he said.

Joining Hill in Friday's concert at the CVIC Hall will be fellow Utah musicians Mike Iverson from the Blue Sage Trio and Ryan Tilby of the Rubber Band. Iverson plays clawhammer banjo and mandolin, while Tilby plays dobro, banjo, or as Hill said, "anything with strings."

Hill said the group will play music from his six previous CDs, as well as new music from "Equine."

"We hope to hear people shout out their favorites," he said.

Hill said the fans are loyal and dedicated because the music fits their lifestyles, and that the band strives to make music appealing to their audience.

"We've found new listeners outside of traditional Western music," he said. "There are horse lovers and cowboy and cowgirl wannabes all over the world who are enthralled with the West.

"Our music doesn't have the shelf-life of pop music, and that fits my style."

To find out more about Brenn Hill and to hear some of his music, go to brennhill.com

The Carson Valley Arts Council hosts a free children's outreach program with Brenn Hill, 1-2 p.m. Friday, at the Copeland Cultural Arts Center. Hill performs and instructs children on the power of musical expression and poetry. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The Brenn Hill concert is Friday at the CVIC Hall, 1602 Esmeralda Ave., Minden. A wine reception hosted by Tahoe Ridge Winery, Marketplace and Bistro is 6 p.m., concert at 7 p.m. Admission is $20, or $17 for Carson Valley Arts Council members. Children, $10. Tickets may be purchased at cvartscouncil.com or 782-8207.

Next in the series is Vishten on Jan. 15, Red Chamber on Feb. 25, Robert Mirabal on March 25 and Hot Club Cowtown on May 13.


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