Chuck Pyle, a distinctive singer/songwriter, will be in concert at the Millwood Junction on March 9 at 8 p.m. Pyle, also known as the Zen Cowboy, will play many of his original songs at this concert, which will be opened by Katya Chorover.
Pyle has played in Durango, and knows that area. His good friend, Patty Larkin, has also played at the Millwood in the past.
Pyle has won high praise from both fans and peers alike throughout an inspired performance career of over 40 years. When reviewers first gave him the "Zen Cowboy" moniker, he decided to, as he says, "Always ride the horse in the direction it's going," and took the nickname to heart, shaving his head and blending his upbeat perspective with old-fashioned horse sense. He mixes infectiously hummable melodies with straight-from-the-saddle poetry, quoting bumper stickers, proverbs, world leaders and old cowboys. "I got the nickname 'The Zen Cowboy' from back when I was writing songs about the outdoors. The contradiction about me talking about a new age scenario and songs about the west made me a Zen Cowboy. That was back in 1991. I just kept up the contradiction," Pyle said.
Pyle has had a few of his songs recorded by other people, specifically the late Chris LeDoux, John Denver, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Jerry Jeff Walker. He's been singing since he was about 4 years old - "Before I was smart enough to be embarrassed" - and also started piano about that time. He started playing the ukelele when he was 14 years old, and just played simple folk music. "But that's what got me started on guitar," he said. He didn't start writing songs until 1974. While fans love his recordings, they adore Chuck's live performance. The first time he made an audience laugh, he was "hooked". A nimble guitarist, critics say his sense of rhythm is more like a fine classical, or jazz, soloist, his songwriting musically sophisticated yet full of uncluttered space.
"The songwriting, without exception, produces ecstasy when it's all done and it comes together," Pyle said. "And so does a performance. But CDs endure when a performance is forgotten," he said.
The Chuck Pyle Finger-Style approach to guitar has distinguished him as a true original, earning him invitations to teach at such prestigious events as The Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and The Swannanoa Gathering. His music has made him a favorite of Bill & Melinda Gates who have had him play at their home in Seattle. Since writing the theme-song for a PBS series called Spirit of Colorado, he's attained local fame, and even sings for the opening session of the Colorado State Legislature.
He has recorded 13 CDs all together, and he's working on a Christmas album right now.
Pyle came from Iowa in 1965 when, "Boulder was mostly gravel streets", and resides on the front range of Colorado. He does 100 dates a year all across the country, playing festivals and theaters, coffeehouses and house concerts.
This fundraiser will benefit the Mancos Heritage Project, which hopes to make a series of physical upgrades to Mancos, reflecting our "pride of place."
Tickets are available at the Millwood Junction Restaurant, Southwest Sound in Durango, and Rocky Mountain OneStop in Cortez.