Cowboy Celtic

Turner Valley, Alberta

We don’t play traditional Celtic music and we don’t play traditional cowboy music. We play the kind of music that you’d have heard if you pushed back the swingin’ doors at an Irish pub in Tombstone or Dodge City. David Wilkie

David Wilkie, the founder of Cowboy Celtic, started tracking down the roots of cowboy music more than 18 years ago. The premise is that cattlemen from Scotland and Ireland, whose industry dates back hundreds of years, brought their culture and musical traditions with them when they moved to North America.

The music of Cowboy Celtic demonstrates that those traditions live on in the music of today. The stories of love and loneliness, lawbreakers and lynchings all reflect the very real world of both the Scottish drovers and the North American West. The connection is in the stories and in the music. You might recognize it in the traditional songs, in old tunes with new lyrics, or in Wilkie’s original material.

Cowboy Celtic, centered in Alberta, Canada, includes David Wilkie on mandolin and vocals, Denise Withnell on guitar and vocals, Keri Lynn Zwicker on harp and vocals, and Joseph Hertz on fiddle. Their second CD, Cowboy Ceilidh (“kaylee”) won the Wrangler Award for Outstanding Traditional Western Music Album from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in 1999. Since their last visit to Alpine, the group has toured Ecuador and Peru, and has realized they need to brush up on their Spanish. They have recorded six CDs, and are working on two compilations of their favorite instrumentals and songs.

This is more than music. It’s theatre and imagery and history and storytelling and more, all wrapped up in sagebrush and tartan.”



For more information about Cowboy Celtic, visit