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The songs of the American cowboy and the old West are more than the sounds of Hollywood's Western films for folk singer Skip Gorman. Dressed in a wide-brimmed cowboy hat, spurs and chaps, Gorman sings of campfires, cattle drives, the loneliness of the prairies, and the personalities of the old West.
Gorman has been developing his musical approach for more than a quarter century. Inspired by the songs of the "Yodeling Brakeman" Jimmie Rodgers, Gorman taught himself to play guitar at the age of eight. By the age of 17, he had become equally skilled at the fiddle and mandolin, trading mandolin licks with Bill Monroe at a bluegrass festival in Virginia. While studying for a master's degree at the University of Utah in the mid-1970s, Gorman began collecting 78 rpm recordings of old-time cowboy singers.
Also heavily influenced by traditional Celtic music, Gorman studied Irish fiddling with Johnny Doherty in Donegal and Scottish fiddling with Aly Bain of the Boys of the Lough in Scotland.
Gorman made his recording debut on the multi-artist compilation Old Time Fiddling, recorded at the Northeast Fiddling Competition in 1972. As a member of the Desert String Band, Gorman recorded an album, Land of Milk & Honey, in 1974. In addition to four solo albums, he has subsequently recorded albums with Ron Kane, Rabbit in a Log and the New Hampshire Fiddlers Union.
Although he spends most of his time on his ten-acre ranch in New Hampshire, Gorman continues to spend his summers working as a cowboy and song leader on the High Island Ranch in Hamilton Dome, Wyoming.
Gorman's song "Cowboy Waltz" was used in the soundtrack of Ken Burns' documentary Baseball, while his tune "Buffalo Hump" was used in Burns' documentary Lewis and Clark.