Saddle Strings makes old-time cowboy music

Local sounds • Four-member band is one of 10 set to play at Days of '47 Frontier Camp.
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Saddle Strings is called a country act, since it travels around performing cowboy music. But it's a lot closer to the truth to describe the group as "the real deal."

Saddle Strings has four core members: Brian Arnold, Cindy and Kurt ("Snoose") Argyle and Laurie Morgan. All come from ranching backgrounds, and most live in the small farming community of Hooper.

They all have "day jobs," but still help friends and family with gathering or branding cattle, or whatever is needed.

"It gets in your blood," said Arnold, the group's lead singer and guitarist of their country lifestyle. "It's something that God gives you when you hit the ground. You're either into growing things and feeding the country or not. That's all I can use to describe it.

"I have a friend in California that says, 'You are so passionate about it.' I say, 'It's who I am. It's not something that I like. I don't put on my cowboy suit. I wear boots and jeans and long-sleeved shirts all day every day."

Saddle Strings performs a mix of old western or country music, including dozens of original songs and a lot of cover tunes, traditional tunes, and even a little bit of country mixed in. Their musical style falls somewhere between Sons of the Pioneers and Chris LeDoux.

Saddle Strings is one of 10 groups providing music during the Days of '47 Frontier camp. It takes place for five days outside the EnergySolutions Arena and coincides with the rodeo.

It's a good match given that Arnold used to ride saddle broncs in rodeos and Argyle used to ride bulls.

Tom Whitaker, one of the organizers of the Days of '47 activities, knew the members of Saddle Strings from the Heber City Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which he organized for 18 years.

"They have nice harmonies, and they're very good instrumental players," he said. "They're fun to listen to and they're really good people."

Throughout the year, Saddle Strings will play at fairs, festivals, and cowboy poetry and music gatherings, but they also do private functions, like weddings and even funerals.

"There's one bar in Evanston, Wyo., where you'll catch us a couple of times a year, but that's the only bar we play in," said Arnold. "That's where the cowboys all hang out and that's where they keep pestering the owner to call us to have us come up and play."

Arnold said their fans tend to be people who identify with the Western lifestyle.

"So many people hear our kind of music and say, 'Gosh, I didn't even know that kind of music was out there, because it's not on the radio.' But when an older person — a man or woman — comes up to us after a show and says, 'You know, I was raised on a ranch and your music took me home,' then we know we've done it right." —

Cowboy music

Saddle Strings is one of about 10 groups providing music during the Days of '47 Frontier camp, which coincides with the rodeo.

When • Today and Saturday, July 19-20, and Monday-Wednesday, July 22-24, from 2 p.m. until after the rodeo.

Where • Energy Solutions Arena, 301 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City.

Cost • Free.