Whatever Happened to the Yodeling Cowgirls

Somewhere in the history of yodeling, Americans took the once European singing style and made it uniquely their own. In western and cowboy music, especially, the yodel brings a heartwarming quality to the music. Whether it is a joyful yodel or a sorrowful one, the sound is unmistakable.

Arwen and Lorien Cockman, part of the latest generation of the musical Cockman Family, have been surrounded by music their whole lives.

By Jeff Eason

?Although steeped in the bluegrass and old-time tradition, they took up an interest in western music after seeing Riders in the Sky perform at Tweetsie Railroad,? said their father, musician John Cockman.

?They decided to perform under the band name The Butterpats.?

The Butterpats recently recorded an album of western music titled ?Whatever Happened to the Yodeling Cowgirls.? It features the girls singing cover tunes such as Johnny Mercer?s ?I?m an Old Cowhand,? Ralph Stanley?s ?Green Pastures? and Doug ?Ranger Doug? Green?s ?Lonely Yukon Stars? as well as the girls? original songs ?I Know That God Is on the Prairie? and ?Roundup in the Sky.?

?The CD features the girls? harmony singing and yodeling and has been well-received by the genre,? said John Cockman. ?They have received airplay and have been given many invitations to perform at western music concerts and festivals.

Arwen (11) and Lorien (10) are the daughters of Boone residents John and Jennifer Cockman. Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom and John is a professor in the Physics Department at Appalachian State University.

On Saturday, November 19, the Butterpats attended the Western Music Association (WMA) Showcase and Awards Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

?This is an annual four-day event held at the Albuquerque Marriott, which culminates with the Western Music Awards Show at the KiMo Theatre,? said John Cockman. ?Lorien and Arwen were awarded the 2011 WMA Harmony Yodeling Group of the Year and the 2011 WMA Youth Harmony Award, by Jon Messenger, president of the WMA.?

According to John Cockman, the WMA Awards Show was the highlight of a 14-day western road trips for The Butterpats.

The Butterpats will be performing in Boone on Tuesday, December 6 at the 2nd Annual Bluegrass Christmas Showcase and Covered Dish Dinner, held at the Harvest House on Boone Heights Drive. The showcase begins at 5:30 p.m.


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