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Arizona’s official balladeer has new CD full of state’s color and history

Dolan Ellis, Arizona’s official balladeer, has released a new compact disc, “Tall Tales, Lost Trails and Heroes.”

The CD has 10 songs and ballads about Arizona and southwestern history and folklore, including the nine-minute-long “Geronimo,” the life story of the famous Apache warrior.

Ellis has entertained live audiences with the ballad for three years to highly acclaimed reviews.

Geronimo is one of nine songs written by Ellis on the recording.

The classic “Riders in the Sky,” or “Ghost Riders,” written by Arizona cowboy Stan Jones, rounds out the list.

Other songs are “The Old Crook Trail” (the old Rim Road on the Mogollon Rim), “Frank Murphy’s Railroad” (the road to Crown King is the old railroad bed), “Lady of Ledge” (a Hopi legend), and “The Bombing of Naco” (the tale of Patrick Murphy, a drunken barnstormer who accidentally bombed the Arizona town).

Also,”Hereford Redneck” (cowboy saves a life), “Camino del Diablo” (travel down the Devil’s Highway between Ajo and Yuma), and “Magic Mountain” (a spiritual offering).

The CD comes with a 20-page booklet of historical photographs and Ellis’ insight into the ballads he sings.

Ellis is particularly excited about it because it is his “first CD” and he did all of the recording engineering and mastering himself.

“It is one thing to know how to operate a digital recording studio,” he told the Arizona Game & Fish Department, “but it is quite another thing to be able to operate this high-tech studio recording equipment and still focus on the soul of the music you are playing and singing,” he said.

Ellis, in the 40th year of his music career, rose to fame as one of the original Christy Minstrels.

“It has taken decades of exploring, traveling, researching and just plain old sittin’ around and thinkin’ about it all,” to create the music for the release, he said.

Ellis, for 35 years the official balladeer, operates the Arizona Folklore Preserve founded by he and his wife, Rose, at the mouth of Ramsey Canyon, south of Sierra Vista.

A new preserve performing center is under construction and is tentatively set to open in late February.

The new CD is available at the preserve and through www.amazon.com or www.dolanellis.com.

Ellis performs live at the preserve on weekends.

For show information, call (520) 378-6165.


Public invited to view release of 9 young condors near Grand Canyon

Nine young California condors will be released Dec. 29 below the Vermilion Cliffs northeast of the Grand Canyon, and the Arizona Game & Fish Department invites the public to attend.

Observers will gather at 11 a.m. on the House Rock Valley Floor location.

The first-ever releases of two reproductively mature, mated pairs were made at the same Vermilion Cliffs site earlier this month.

To get to the release location, follow Highway 89A for 27 miles west of the Marble Canyon Bridge, turn north (right) on House Rock Valley Road and go for three miles.

Weather permitting, the roads, which will be clearly marked, are easily passable in two-wheel-drive passenger vehicles.

Observers are advised to wear layered warm clothing (temperatures could be near freezing) and to bring ample food and drinks. There are no shelters or restroom accommodations at the observation site.

Biologists and land managers from the cooperating Peregrine Fund, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Arizona Game & Fish Department and the Bureau of Land Management will be at the site to answer questions.

For more information call (602) 640-2720 Ext. 222, or (602) 789-3223.


CUTLINE: Official state balladeer Dolan Ellis has written and sung of the enchantment and lore of Arizona.

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