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The Celtic Roots of the American West, with Skip Gorman and Kate McCleod - Grafton

  • East Grafton Union Church 124 Turnpike Rd E. Grafton, NH 03240 USA (map)

The music of the American West has emanated from a variety of traditional and contemporary sources with Celtic ballads and tunes clearly being at the forefront of the flow. From the “Streets of Laredo” and  “The Gal I Left Behind Me” to new compositions such as Kate MacLeod’s, "Riding the White Horse Home  or Skip Gorman’s “ The Donegal Cowboy”, the flavor and nuance of Celtic tradition shines brightly in the music of the American West.

Join us at the historic East Grafton Union Church for a unique program of old and new ballads and and searing and plaintive fiddle instrumentals by Utah’s Kate MacLeod and New Hampshire’s Skip Gorman backed Gordon Peery.

Admission $15, at the door.



Gorman is one of the most savvy and authentic cowboy folk artists in the country.  His 1994 recording “ A Greener Prairie” is a ‘folk masterpiece’.
- Boston Globe

Through his music, Skip Gorman brings back to life the workaday world of the old “waddie” cowboys of the American West.  His music is the simple yet poignant songs performed around campfires by cowhands and westward settlers in the late 19th century. Since the early 1970s, as a member of Utah's Deseret String Band, which culminated in his seminal recording of "Powder River" for Folk Legacy Records in 1977, Gorman has brought to western music a scholar's knowledge of the cowhand's Spanish, African-American and Celtic roots. Along with an exquisite touch as a singer, guitarist, mandolinist and old time as well as Celtic-style fiddler, Gorman brings to his music personal experience gained as a working cowboy on Wyoming ranches and extensive touring in Ireland, Scotland and Australia. 

Gorman has performed on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and filmmaker Ken Burns has featured Skip’s music in his PBS documentaries, Lewis and Clark, National Parks, Dustbowl Days and Baseball.  Gorman has several award-winning CDs on his own Old West label, as well as the Rounder and Folk Legacy record labels. His musical accolades include an INDIE Award and a 1999 Top Ten folk pick on Amazon.comas well as being cast as the cowboy singer, Roy Faulkner in the award-winding film” Home On The Range".  His latest releases are “Trails , Rails, Hills and Tales, the Donegal Cowboy” ,  "Dogie Music”, " Mandolin in the Cow Camp”, and "Fiddles In the Cow Camp."
Skip has performed at folk and bluegrass festivals and cowboy gatherings (including Elko, Arvada, Monterey and Santa Clarita) throughout the American West and in Europe, for the US Embassy in Santiago, Chile and World Fiddle Day in Co. Kerry Ireland.
Wyoming’s Pulitzer Price winning author, Annie Proulx, says of Skip Gorman’s music:  "The lonesome ache that is in the core of Skip Gorman's voice and fiddling fits close to the bones of the slope country, the rough breaks, the bunchgrass high plains. These traditional cowboy songs, unadorned, openly sad, sometimes lively or gritty, carry the distance and solitude of the West in them.”


" Kate MacLeod’s music is an unbreakable link between traditional music and cutting edge songwriting.”  -  Bob Franke

Kate’s MacLeod is a fiddler, guitarist and songwriter who has been immersed in traditional American and Celtic music that can be clearly heard in her performances and compositions. Her voice is said to sound as pure as water from a mountain stream,  and her musicianship is greatly influenced by the folk music of the American West. Originally from the Washington DC area, she has lived in Utah for decades and performs throughout the United States and Europe. 
Kate’s music of the West includes historic icons such as Butch Cassidy and events that have impacted communities and writings from personal memoirs about living there. Her musicianship has been used in documentaries about the West including: 
-   We Sagebrush Folks: Annie Pike Greenwood's Idaho.
-   My Canyonlands: Kent Frost.
-   The Emmy Award-winning Red Rock Rondo: Zion Canyon Song Cycle.
 Her song "The Grand Staircase Escalante “ was chosen as the theme song for the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Partners, and she has a large repertoire of original music  inspired by the region in which she lives. Her most recent recordings are:
-  "Deep in the Sound of Terra: fiddle music inspired by landscape."
-  "At Ken Sanders Rare Books,"  a collection of songs based on books.