About Tony Norris

The nephew of two of Bob Will’s original Texas Playboys, Tony grew up in the ranching country of Central Texas where he was raised on the stories and music of the West.

After several years farming with horses in West Virginia, he moved to Rapid City, South Dakota where he shod horses on ranches in the Black Hills and Wyoming. 

In 1982, he moved to Flagstaff, Arizona where he lives today. He and his wife, Sue, have 5 grown children and 7 grandchildren.

From 1997-2004, he worked to keep the culture of the cowboy alive through his weekly radio show, “Under Western Skies,” (93 KAFF Country FM) which featured music, interviews, stories and poems of the West.

He was honored at the AWA Awards Ceremony in Ft. Worth as finalist for “Western DJ of theYear” in 2003.

For 10 years, Tony hosted the open music sessions at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, and also has organized the music for the “Trappings of the American West” at the Coconino Center for the Arts, Flagstaff (AZ). He coordinated the Flagstaff Cowboy Poetry Gathering, “Riding the Rim.”

He has performed at the Arizona Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Prescott, Arizona since its inception and been featured at the Cochise County (AZ) Gathering in Sierra Vista, the Durango (CO) Cowboy Poetry Gathering, The Red River Western Festival, Shreveport, LA., “Riding the Rim” Flagstaff, and at the Grand Canyon “Hole in the Ground” gathering.

Tony performed weekly as a cowboy entertainer on the Grand Canyon Railway. He educates people about the traditions and people of the West in Elderhostel programs at Northern Arizona University and at schools and museums throughout the Southwest.

He publishes a quarterly audio magazine, “A Letter from Home." Recent CDs include, “Up the Trail,” songs, stories and classic poems of the trail drive, “Down in the Holler,” people, horses, humor, and tunes of Appalachia, “Around the Fire,” stories and songs for the family, “Along the Brazos,” his own family’s stories and favorite songs, and “Overland and Waterways,” a musical and historical review of the transportation and trails of the Old West, with Sid Hausman.

He recently served as Folklorist-in-residence at the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University where he helps area ranchers and farmers to “tell their stories of the land.” He conducts this workshop throughout the West, including at the Elko Gathering in 2004, along with author, Gary Paul Nabhan.

Tony has been featured in Sunset Magazine, June 2001, The Cowboy Way, Longstreet Press, 2002, and the AAA Traveler’s Companion, Nov-Dec. 2004.

He is a contributing author and photographer to A New Plateau: Sustaining the Lands and Peoples of Canyon Country, Renewing the Countryside, 2004.