Bobby Bridger began work on his epic trilogy A Ballad of the West over four decades ago. Since 1974 Bridger has traveled the globe performing this historical epic as a one-man show to audiences in America, Canada, Europe, Australia and Russia.
Bridger began his professional recording career in 1967 in Nashville recording for Monument and Nugget Records before signing with RCA Records in Hollywood in 1970. Bridger recorded two albums for RCA -Merging Of Our Minds, and, And I Wanted To Sing For The People- before departing the label in 1973. Since the early 1980s Bridger has produced Heal in the Wisdom, Songs from A Ballad of the West, and the four-disc boxed set, A Ballad of the West, on his own Golden Egg Records.
Bridger has performed twice on PBS’s Austin City Limits, on PBS’s American Experience, twice on C-Span/Booknotes, once on ABC’s Good Morning America, on CNN, on A & E, on National Public Radio and on the Australian Broadcasting Company. Bridger performed on twenty-eight consecutive Kerrville Folk Festival’s, served on the festival’s board of directors from 1976-2002 and on the board of advisors since 2002. Bridger suggested the popular “Ballad Tree” to Kerrville Folk Festival founder/director, Rod Kennedy, and wrote the festival’s anthem, Heal in the Wisdom.
Bridger has been an artist-in-residence at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and was the first poet/balladeer-in-residence at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut, and the John G. Neihardt Center in Bancroft, Nebraska. Under the tutelage of Broadway and Hollywood legend, Dale Wasserman (Man of LaMancha, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest), Bridger created the role of “the Drifter” in Wasserman’s musical comedy Shakespeare and The Indians, and from 1982-‘83 appeared in over 100 performances of the renown playwright’s show.
Working with the production team developing the American Indian classic, Black Elk Speaks for stage and film, Bridger served on the board of directors of the American Indian Theater Company from 1982-1987, and was featured with David Carradine and Will Sampson in an American Indian production of Black Elk Speaks in Tulsa in 1984. Bridger was on the National Theater Institute faculty from 1984-’87, and in 1984 and 1985 N.T.I. produced an unprecedented two consecutive workshop productions of Bridger’s epic space fantasy Aldebaran and The Falling Star. Returning from landmark tours of Australia in 1986 and the Soviet Union in 1987,
Bridger was invited to Oxford University in 1988 to perform Heal in the Wisdom for closing ceremonies of the First Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders On Human Survival; featured presenters were Nobel Prize winners, the 14th Dali Lama, Mother Teresa, and Wangari Maathai, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Carl Sagan. From 1988-1995 full-company outdoor musical productions of Part One of A Ballad of the West, Seekers of the Fleece, featuring many stars such as Tony-nominated, Joe Sears (playwright/star of the Greater Tuna trilogy of comedies) and Wes Studi (Dances With Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, and Geronimo) were produced in Wyoming.
In 1996 Bridger returned his focus to performing his one-man shows around the American west. Bridger’s trilogy of one man shows of A Ballad of the West ran in repertory each summer at Old Trail Town in Cody, Wyoming from 2000-2004.
Bridger is the author of a hardback and paperback edition of A Ballad of the West, the award-winning, Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull: Inventing The Wild West, an autobiography, Bridger, and he contributed essays to anthologies on American western literary giants John G. Neihardt (A Sender of Words) and Frank Waters
(Frank Waters: Man and Mystic ). From 2003-04 Bridger served as a poetry judge for the Western Writers of America’s prestigious “Silver Spur” award and from 2004-2010 helped the organization create a “Best Song” category and then served as a judge for submissions competing for the “Silver Spur” award. In 2009 Bridger released of a five-disc DVD production of his one-man shows of A Ballad of the West in which he is accompanied by a stellar four-piece ensemble of renowned studio musicians.
Bridger’s script for the DVD production was a Silver Spur finalist for the Western Writers of America’s 2009 “Best Documentary Script”. The DVD production also features a documentary based on Bridger’s life and work (Quest of an Epic Balladeer) and a host of other special features. Bridger’s book Where the Tall Grass Grows: the Mythological Legacy of the American West is due for publication in autumn, 2011. Bridger is currently writing, painting, sculpting, and touring.
More at www.bobbybridger.com