COBACH was lit up like a national monument and the
logjam of cars that surrounded the college was a sure
sign that the 2nd Annual Folk Festival and Cowboy Poetry
Reading Event was gaining in popularity. This year (2006)
the attendance topped 150 people, more than twice the
Michael Falk and his wife Darcy, along with brother
Tony and friends Aaron Norris and Bill Vernieu, entertained
at COBACH's nearly-completed theatre.
Four of the five entertainers echoed the theme of the
evening's festivities by sporting western-style clothing.
The exception was Michael Falk, who sang bare-headed
and looked very much like the kind of man his profession
recuits. Michael is a Professor of Mathematics at Northern
Arizona University. His brother Tony contritely carried
the extra burden of Michael's neglect by wearing nearly
every scrap of garment that appeared in the movies Wild
Bill and Billy Jack. When he stepped onto
the stage, the man looked as if he'd just finished wrestling
a buffalo. And won. His grey half-sunburst beard and
tall hillbilly hat spoke of midnight corn stills and
blue porcelain coffee pots over open campfires.
The evening's tunes were much as you'd expect from
a Western venue --songs about bank robbers, gambling,
ranch work, trail riding, stampeding ruminants, faithful
dogs and unfaithful wives. The odd addition to the stock
sound of the ballads was the 8- string mandolin, which
often gave the impression someone's guitar had paused
to inhale helium.
Strangely, there was no fiddle among the instruments.
Still, the group's banjos, mandolins and guitars didn't
appear to harbor any resentment over that deficiency.
The music was lively and often contagious, very likely
implanting in many of the audience the secret urge to
jump up and square dance. Or play the spoons.
After some cowboy poetry and a few stories by Tony
Falk, the group invited San Felipe's Steve Lord, the
evening's emcee, to join them onstage for a song. Then
an ensemble piece was performed that included everyone.
The evening finished with a rendition of Roy Rogers'
Happy Trails. As the audience filed out, some
of them formed a small tibutary to a table that displayed
CDs for sale by Tony Falk.