When most Americans think of the west, they think of Wyoming, or Colorado, or California. The Wagon Tracks
of Red Steagall
's westward journey, however, begin in Ireland, where thousands left in search of a dream or simply a bite to eat. Many never stopped moving ("Through the Cumberland Gap") while others settled until conflicts, like the invasion of the south by carpetbaggers following the Civil War, pushed them onward ("Gone to Texas"). While Steagall
's musical vision of the west doesn't abandon the romance of chasing the setting sun, he does remember the displacement of the Native American and the genocide of the buffalo ("The Last Buffalo"). After a long stop in Texas ("Out on the Texas Plains" and "Texas Bein' Texas"), Wagon Tracks
heads for Nebraska ("My Nebraska Homestead") and up the Oregon Trail ("We Danced on the Oregon Trail"). Steagall & the Boys in the Bunkhouse
rely on fiddles, acoustic guitars, and light percussion to deliver spare, tasteful arrangements. They reach the end of their 6,000 mile trek with "My America," a nice variation on "This Land Is Your Land." Wagon Tracks
offers an in-depth portrait of westward expansion and will be warmly embraced by lovers of the open plains.