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Golden Graham talks with the stars of country music

Boomer McLennan

A Cowboy From The Heart

By Graham Lees

 

The true singing cowboys were the idols of many young boys in the form of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Tex Ritter, portrayed on the silver screen as the white hatted heroes who caught the baddie and won the heart of the girl with a song and at 79 years young, Rex Allen was still putting out albums until his untimely death in 1999 after being accidentally run over in the driveway of his own home in Tucson, Arizona. In fact the true singing cowboy was a completely different type of person who tended to real ranch-work during the day and found their own entertainment at night by sitting round the campfire, singing a few songs or reciting cowboy poetry. One of the best known of the true singing cowboys/cowboy poets is Red Steagall. Another true singing cowboy is Boomer McLennan.

Boomer has been called a cowboy ”from the heart” and “a kind-hearted, humble country boy” who lives his songs and captivates audiences with his heart-wrenching delivery of country songs.

Boomer McLennan’s six-piece band comes over to the UK in August for an extensive tour, appearing at many local clubs and billed to perform at three CM festivals including Buxton CM Festival and the Yorkshire Dales Country & Western Music Festival. Early this year I was offered the opportunity to have a chat with Boomer, who told me a little about himself and his music. 

Living and brought-up in California, Boomer and his band tour extensively around Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia and on Sunday evenings Boomer has his own one hour country music radio program in Los Angeles.

 McLennan’s 6- piece band comprises of Boomer playing rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Mike Farrel dobro, Glen Stiglic lead guitar & mandolin, John Lambdin fiddle & guitar, Dave Shelton bass and Jeff Perez drums. Boomer has been writing his own songs for several years and includes traditional covers from the likes of Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, mixed in with the more contemporary numbers from George Strait and Garth Brooks.

Boomer McLennan has always been around music, showing an interest from an early age. Tinkering with the guitar as an eight year old, he was playing some of his favourite songs by the age of twelve. Like many country singers, Boomer started singing at church and by the time he was in college, Boomer was playing weddings and special engagements. Leading on from these early performances, Boomer made several appearances at concerts and country music video programs.

Between 1994 & 97 Boomer worked on a cattle ranch. Boomer told me that there was a lodge on the ranch with a restaurant and during the evenings he would sing and play guitar to entertain the diners. Shortly after Boomer’s mother past away, he kinda’ took stock of himself and decided that music was the thing that mattered most in his life and the thing that he wanted to pursue. With help from a few friends and contacts in the music business, Boomer and a friend by the name of Doug Banderwayet, a drummer who had played with the likes of the Oakridge Boys, Dolly Parton and the Gatlin Brothers (around 20 years ago), decided to put a band together.  Forming a trio, they took second place at a State music competition and Boomer committed himself to writing heartfelt songs. 

With a saddlebag of songs and dreams, Boomer travelled extensively, playing in many notable venues around the US, including The Palace and The Opryland Hotel in Nashville, the famous Gillie’s, The Country Star and the Palomino Club in Hollywood. The remowned Palomino in North Hollywood was the epicentre of West Coast country music, winning ACM’s best –club trophy every year from 1965 – 78 and again in 1980. Boomer also played The Crazy Horse Saloon at nearby Anahiem, which supplanted the Palomino as ACM Club of the Year in the 90s. Boomer also played on the nationally syndicated radio show Boot Scootin’ Partying Nights. Over the years Boomer McLennan has opened for several notable artistes, including Tracy Lawrence, John Berry and another singing cowboy Chris LeDoux. Chris had to undertake a liver transplant operation last October and Boomer told me that Chris is now well on the way to recovery.

A couple of awards that Boomer McLennan gained and can be seen as a little different, came from a computer company, with Boomer picking up the award for Male Rising Star and for Best Web Page. The band’s busy schedule started again at the end of April and Boomer says that he is very excited at the prospect of performing at Fan Fare this year, being included on the Indie Tracker stage (independent labels) and of course looking forward to his forthcoming UK tour.

Boomer is at present working on his new album, which he hopes will be ready for release early next year. I reviewed Boomer’s current album of self-penned material “Smile”, in North Country Music’s January edition (the review can also be found on my own website www.gpservices38.freeserve.co.uk) citing it as a stylish collection, from the powerhouse of honky tonk to the delicate sensitivity of aesthetic ballads. With just this taste of what to look forward to from Boomer McLennan, I can see him being a sweeping success when his band visits our shores during August and September. I can assure you that he will be one artiste that you will not want to miss. Be sure that you take in one of the many gigs where Boomer McLennan’s 6-piece band will be performing, you wont be disappointed!

Further details can be obtained from Frank Hambleton Promotions 01298 70194

 

 

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