THE WILD WEST
He announced that he was a country singer, a singer of cowboy songs. Then he strummed his guitar and sang two songs. His legs were comfortably placed apart, in a cowboy singer’s stance. Not surprisingly, the first song was a cowboy ballad from the American West. His second song was about a broken heart, love again gone wrong.
At first his pale complexion and slight build suggested frailty. But his black shirt and trousers gave him a veneer of strength. He confidently introduced his cowboy ballad, saying it was from his next recording, clearly implying that there had been others before.
“I live the cowboy life,” he confessed unashamedly to me later in the evening. “I’m more comfortable when I’m on a horse. I live and breathe the West.” He told me that he sang for a living and fronted a band called The Broken Hearts. They played in the pubs and clubs of the West - not the American Wild West but the western suburbs of Sydney.
“You know the cowboy books you read as a child?” he asked. I nodded, as he continued, “I read them all the time. I even use candles rather than electric light.” The thought that he was joking with me was momentarily dismissed. This cowboy was deadly serious. He meant business.
I looked for his horse, tethered to a hitching rail, as I walked to the car park. I saw nothing.
[From notes (dated 23 February 1998) made after meeting this hombre at Western Suburbs Folk Club in Toongabbie, New South Wales. - 22 August 2003 ]