Much to the lament of his many fans, cowboy poet Baxter Black is taking a break from the stage. Black has been entertaining audiences for more than 25 years, traveling all over the country, including Idaho. One of his last stage shows will be this Saturday in Sun Valley.
Black started his working life as a veterinarian but ended up on stage, radio, and TV screens, sharing his cowboy poetry. He’s been on the Johnny Carson show, public television and for 20 years he was a commentator on NPR.
Just in the last three months, Black has been traveling and performing quite a bit. But he recently announced he’s taking a break from his live shows.
“I’m calling it an indefinite hiatus,” says Black. “Mostly because I’m 70 years old and I forget things,” he says.
He says he still loves traveling. But cowboy poetry is not just standing up and reading things. “It’s stage performance -- if you will -- Shakespeare. But when you’re standing up there and you forget, you get lost and when you get older you can’t remember things,” Black says.
“When you’re beginning to fray around the edges, maybe you have to consolidate,” he says with a chuckle.
So he plans to spend more time working at home.
“I just know it’s time. Sometimes you know it’s time. I’ll find good works to do; I will still have a business to run that is actually more lucrative than my speaking business, which is pretty good.”
That business includes a weekly commentary on more than 100 radio stations and a weekly column in more than 100 newspapers. He also does some TV, has written several books, and recorded multiple CD’s of his work.
“Actually it’s not as big a deal as people are thinking." He says he will always stay busy, even off the road. “I’m one of those people who enjoys his work.”
One of Black’s last in-person events will be a fundraiser for the Trailing of the Sheep Cultural Heritage Center in Sun Valley on Saturday.
Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio
Copyright 2015 Boise State Public Radio