Cowboy Music, a living tradition in the American West, is recognized and appreciated world-wide. The songs, stories and poems of the West are the specialty of Justin Bishop and Nancy Bray, professionally known as Horse Sense. Audiences from Asia to Africa, all over North and South America and Europe, as well delight in their lively, authentic performances and appreciate the sense of history they present along with the entertainment.
A Horse Sense show is not merely a concert of music, but truly a cultural experience ... even cross-cultural, with Justin's repertoire of Southwestern songs sung in Spanish and Nancy's expertise in New Mexico-style fiddling. Such traditional old ballads as "The Streets of Laredo" and "The Strawberry Roan," along with lilting lyric songs like "I Ride An Old Paint" gain new life with Justin's and Nancy's personalized presentation. Material from the Horse Sense stable of time-worn favorites, as well as originals, paints a vivid picture of the West, past and present.
Nancy Bray - A veteran of 30 years on the folk music circuit, she toured with her late husband, Jimmy Borsdorf in the duo, Hawks and Eagles. Ms. Bray actually began her music career at age 8 when she started violin lessons, coached by her mother, a Hungarian cafe musician. As she grew, she performed with various orchestras in and around San Diego including The San Diego Youth Symphony and the La Jolla Civic Orchestra. At age 15 she was teaching violin at the Coady School of Music, earning the money to pay for master lessons with Henry Kolar, conductor of the Youth Symphony. While attending UC Davis, she played with University Orchestra and a chamber ensemble. Her affinity with Cowboy Music comes naturally. Her father was born on a ranch in Decatur, Texas, and continued to feed small herds of cattle until the year before his death. Nancy, of course, helped with the work. She also reckons her Western linage back to a founder of the Texas Rangers, Benjamin Fort Terry, whose statue in on display in Austin.
Justin Bishop - Mr. Bishop's experience in folklore programming is broad and varied. After finishing a degree in cultural anthropology, he worked as a field researcher and festival presenter for the Smithsonian Institution's Festival of American Folklife. But instead of continuing the academic pursuit of folk music, he chose to put his skills to work interpreting and performing the traditional music of the West. Living in Colorado when he cofounded Horse Sense, he and his partner, John Nielson, chose to seek out musical mentors within their own community, learning songs and stories from folks close to home. Bishop and Nielson became involved in organizing and presenting the Colorado Folk Festival and taking traditional music and traditional performers into the schools. Bishop's great grandfather owned a ranch in Quay County New Mexico. And his grandfather, Earl C. Mc Cain, was a writer who produced Western stories for the pulp magazines during the '20s and '30s. The name of the band, Horse Sense, was taken from the title of one of his grandfather's stories.
Over the years, Justin also represented the artists' point of view as a member of numerous state arts council panels, touring roster juries and arts conference workshops all over the West.
For Horse Sense
bookings or any other information,
contact Justin at (916) 342-2784 or