Bobby Bridger: "The Call”,  from Vagabond Heart

bobby bridger house concert

Who is Bobby Bridger?

From long-time friend and fan, Dr. Bill Wicheta, host of this year's concert:

Hello to my fellow fans of live music! After our last two events earlier this year, I hope this note finds you well and eager for more!  Here is the news on our special guest this July. 

On Thursday night, July 18, 2019, we will be hosting my dear friend of near 45 years, Bobby Bridger. I was 20 years old when I met him in my home town of Austin.  

He still lives in Texas but was in Washington state in 2013 as he had been invited to be the keynote speaker at the annual Northwest Indian College Vine Deloria Jr Indigenous Studies Symposium in Bellingham. Learning that he would be in the area, I leapt on the chance to host him.  He was my first house concert performer. It was that event, in fact, that ignited my love of hosting house concerts. He has not been in Washington since, but this summer he was invited back to the Northwest Indian College’s annual symposium to do a benefit concert and to speak to students. 

A number of you on this list were at the first house concert with Bobby, and I was told by some afterwards it was one of the most moving concerts they had ever attended. This will likely be the last chance to see him, as after this year Bobby plans to retire from public performance except for rare charity events. 

Bridger is many things:  a western historian who has written books, an actor, a painter, and singer/songwriter first released by RCA, but best described as a balladeer.   He was one of the original Austin, Texas music scene artists in the 1970s, a contemporary of Jerry Jeff Walker, Michael Martin Murphy, Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings, Steve Fromholz and others.  His bright clear voice, artistic acoustic playing and skillful songwriting made him a hit on the local music scene. During this time, his interest in western history and especially the treatment of the native peoples, with the inspiration of works as Black Elk Speaks and A Cycle of the West by John Neihardt, lead him to develop his seminal work, a three part epic titled A Ballad of the West. For several decades he performed this work as a solo performer or with other musicians in the US but also in places as diverse as Australia and Asia. 

At this year's concert, Bobby will spend one set doing a variety of his folk genre songs, but for the other set will perform Lakota, one of the three parts of the Ballad of the West trilogy.  It is a one hour long epic ballad song, chronicling the Indian wars from the viewpoint of the Lakota Sioux holy man Black Elk. This original epic has narration of various characters against a background of music interspersed with songs that trace a time period from the mid 1800s to the massacre at Wounded Knee in December 1890. Bobby wrote all the music and lyrics. It is a riveting work. 

House Concert Details, as usual, are:

Thursday July 18, 2019

Social Hour starts 6 PM, music 7 PM in two sets with short intermission, ending 9- 9:30 PM

Admission is by suggested donation of $20/person, (but more is always appreciated!), as this supports and makes these live music events possible.  All donations go to the artist. No one formally keeps track of who gives how much. 

Food and drink are provided, but feel free to help by bringing potluck if you can of snacks, drinks, desserts, or savory, but do not forgo coming if you cannot bring something.  We always have more than we need. 

This is adults only, but if you have a mature child that you would like to bring, contact me and ask.  The material will be appropriate for all ages. 

I do hope for a full venue, and seating is limited and is available on a first come, first serve basis.  Please RSVP as soon as to you can, yes or no, if you will or will not be able to attend.  If you do RSVP that you wish to attend, please specify for how many persons.

Also - feel free to forward this to any music loving friends you know who may be interested.  


Bill Wicheta & Lesley Allan

509-662-9067 house

509-679-4449 my cell

A special thanks to Learn From the Masters Music Outreach ( ) and Larry Birger for assistance with Bobby’s travel expenses. 

Additional accolades and information about Bobby Bridger:

Long term performer and board member of the renowned Kerrville Folk Festival

Past artist-in residence Yellowstone National Park

First poet/balladeer in residence Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, WY and the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center in Waterford, CT

Past performer on Austin City Limits, Good Morning America, A & E, and National Public Radio

10 years on Board of Directors of The American Indian Theater Company

Past teacher at University of Texas, interdisciplinary course Manifest Destiny and the Environment: Fur Trade to Globalization

Author of books including Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull: Inventing the American West (UT Press)

“I sincerely doubt that anyone will so completely capture the spirit of time and place as Bobby Bridger has done in A Ballad of the West. It is a triumph over time and space as all spiritual synthesis must be”   -  Vine DeLoria, native American author, Custer Died For Your Sins, God is Red, Red Earth, White Lies

“…it blends history, music, poetry and fundamental values. Most important, it tells us something of who we are and how we got here.”  -  Sam Stanley, Center for the Study of Man, Smithsonian Institution 

“Bridger is a Shakespeare of the American West!” - George C. White, Founder and President, The Eugene O’Neil Theater Company, First Chairman of the Board, Sundance Institute

“A major work . . . a unique historical presentation of monumental dimensions.” - The Buffalo Bill Historical Center

“Bridger’s songs and text are splendid.” - Dee Brown, Author, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

“Bobby Bridger has carved out a unique and captivating place for himself in our culture. A dramatist and a songwriter, an actor and a singer, a historian and a contemporary recording artist;  Bridger speaks and sings with the many voices of the west, old and new. A Ballad of the West makes you listen, makes you learn and makes you dream.” - Alan Menken, Playwright/Composer, Little Shop of Horrors, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules

YouTubes -   “Absaroka”  from Vagabond Heart (singing with his son)   “The People Carry On”  from Seekers of the Fleece   “Heal in Wisdom” which for decades has been the Official Anthem of the Kerrville Folk Festival    “I Had a Vision”  The song of Hugh Glass, from Seekers of the Fleece   “The Call”  from Vagabond Heart