With one foot in the past and one in the present, Doc Mehl weaves the history and the mystery of the West into his original poetry and music. Doc Mehl’s poems and musical lyrics have been featured on the website www.cowboypoetry.com. He has been published in the poetry journal "Rattle," and he was a first-place silver buckle winner at the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in 2009. (You can learn even more about Doc Mehl at www.docmehl.com.) In the words of Rick Huff as published in The Western Way magazine, “There’s a unique mind at work here that may be one of a kind in the Western Music arena.” And songwriter Jon Chandler comments, “Listening to Doc is like having Lyle Lovett in one ear and Tommy Smothers in the other.”
Of Doc's latest spoken-word CD release, "The Great Divide," Rick Huff writes in Western Way magazine: "Doc is generally going to give you something out of the ordinary. He has done it here again. This collection of his rhyming poetic efforts contains literate, thoughtfully put together works that can stand beside any in the Cowboy Poetry catalog. For my money, there may be some honest-ta-gawd masterworks here!"
And Jeri Dobrowski, in her column Cowboy Jam Session, writes: "The 17 tracks of original poetry held my attention much like an old-time radio show. For all the cowboy poetry festivals I've attended, this was my first exposure to Mehl's substantive story lines and olympic-caliber rhymes. From the first track to the last, I wondered how the stories would end and from whence his inspiration came. His mastery of words, whether describing everyday scenes or relating stories from his family's past, left me in awe of his ability to transport me to another place and time."
Here's just a little taste of what's in store for you on Doc's newest album, "The Great Divide":
1. ODE TO RHYMIN’ – “I guess I’m just old fashioned…” but aren’t poems supposed to have rhyming words? Call me “old school” about this, but there’s a reason behind those rhyming couplets.
2. THE BEARDED BUFFALO –Before the days of the silver screen, before the days of television personalities or movie stars, before the days of popular culture, a man who went by the name of “Buffalo” was the rock star of his day.
3. HEAR THE FOOTSTEPS – Good friend Diane Tribitt provided the inspiration for this poem and, with any luck, she might even forgive me someday for forgetting to co-write the poem in partnership with her. Diane? Are you out there?
4. FORDING THE PLATTE – In the years between the opening of the western frontier by Lewis and Clark and the later comfort of trans-continental rail travel, half a million brave adventurers rolled the dice to see if they could find their new fortunes in the promised land.
5. GRADUATION - All cowboy poems are true, it turns out, though some meander a good little bit on their way to the truth. This poem meanders more than most.
6. ROOM WITH A VIEW – Looking out the window of my cozy Colorado home one mid-winter day, I was struck by the absence of all color in the scene before my eyes. This poem resulted from that memory.
7. THE BRAND NEW YEAR – Every winter my good father Clint and my kind stepmother Esther make sure that the wild turkeys are well fed. And every year, the turkeys seem to return, just a little less wild.
8. OLD MAN AKERS – The boarded up home in this poem really does exist in North Dakota, packed full of valuable antiques and crystallized dynamite. Esther will even show you where… if you dare.
9. MOUSE – Dearest friends Jim and Kath give me a lift in their pickup truck one day when we rendezvoused in the town of Durango. Jim seemed a little reserved about explaining to me the tightly sealed urn that shared the bench seat in that truck.
10. A QUILT IN NORTH NEBRASKA – Poets Jane Morton and Yvonne Hollenbeck deserve the credit for inspiring this poem, Jane for her sweet poetry about her mother piecing a quilt, and Yvonne for her own meticulous quilting handiwork.
11. THE TRAIN BACK TO NE’ ORLINS – Several years ago, I found myself strolling the deserted streets of New Orleans on a quiet Sunday morning… quiet except for the haunting melodies of a steam calliope somewhere in the distance.
12. DANCING WITH DORIS – One night following the Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the performers met up for a midnight jam session. As the musicians played into the night, Otto Rosfeld somehow summoned up the courage to ask poet Doris Daley to dance with him, right there on the parquet flooring of the hotel lobby entryway.
13. THE MAV’RICK – The Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering invites poets each year to write a poem inspired by the fine art of the event’s promotional poster. That’s how this poem got started… before the ghost took over.
14. OLD BOOTS – Drop in on Ken Moreland sometime at the Two Bar Lazy J Ranch outside of Merriman, Nebraska. You’ll see the old boots atop each fence post… and a whole lot more in Ken’s “museum.”
15. SCOPING THE BOSQUE – Wander by the “CowboyPoetry.com” website to learn more about the “Art Spur” project. Thanks to Margo Metegrano’s sponsorship, you might just find yourself writing a poem something like this one.
16. THE MUSIC BOX – A few years ago, I injured my hand in a fall, and couldn’t play the guitar for two months. Or, maybe I should say that I couldn’t use my right hand to play the guitar.
17. THE GREAT DIVIDE – Robert Frost perhaps said it best, if not first. Like Mr. Frost’s classic poem, this poem reflects on life’s choices, and on “the road not taken.”