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New Year, New Adventure

With January in full swing, you’re probably wondering if you can keep up with your New Year’s resolution the entire year. Don’t stress about it. While the majority of people are already giving up on their gym routine or second-guessing that diet, make a resolution that is sure to last – More Adventure in 2020.

To assist in your year of adventure, Bass Pro Shops is the place to shop for everything you need. Founded in 1972, Bass Pro Shops is North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company. They provide unrivaled products, dynamic locations, and excellent customer service. They know the meaning of adventure and their collection of superior outdoor gear is unmatched.

So, what type of outdoor venture should you start with? Let’s take a look at some options.

An easy way to get outdoors and in touch with yourself and nature, camping is a great start. Take a solo trip, make it a family affair, try a weekend, or live off the grid for a week. Camping is an adventure with endless possibilities, with no one trip being like the previous.

For a little comfort from home, take the Seattle Sports PVC-Free Solar Shower with you and stay warm with the Marmot NanoWave 55° Mummy Sleeping Bag. This 5-gallon shower has a comfortable slide-bar that doubles as the port closure and a toting handle with a teardrop shape that concentrates the water flow to the shower nozzle. As for the sleeping bag, this one delivers great comfort and performance that packs tight when space is limited.

Whether you already have a love for the sport or want to take it up as a hobby, spending more time on the water is good for the soul. And, with so many options like saltwater, fly, ice, and more, you’ll have plenty of opportunities throughout the year.

Need a reel upgrade? Try the NEW Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Carbonlite 2.0 Spinning Reel that features a high-performance carbon composite frame, with a double-anodized aluminum spool. Or, cut through the biggest jobs faster with the Bass Pro Shops XPS Lithium-Ion Battery-Powered Fillet Knife. This includes 3 precision stainless steel blades: 6” and 10” with curved tips for slicing and filleting, and one high-volume 8″ performance blade with enhanced flexibility and maneuverability. Plus, the 3-cell lithium-ion battery technology delivers amazing 2-plus hours of continuous use.

If your looking for a way to explore, get some fresh air, and include a little physical activity, then hiking is the adventure that’s calling!

It doesn’t matter if you keep to the trail or venture off the beaten path, keep your gear light with the Osprey Hikelite 18 Hiking Backpack. Featuring an AirSpeed™ suspended mesh back panel to keep your back dry, you’ll also love the storage options. And of course, keep your feet healthy and happy with the KEEN Targhee III Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots for men or women.

With a few options laid out, head over to Bass Pro Shops to check out the above products and more to make 2020 the best year yet!

Shop Bass Pro Shops’ Camping Collection

Shop Bass Pro Shops’ Fishing Collection

Shop Bass Pro Shops’ Hiking Collection

Matt Westin … On His Way Up

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

An interview with Matt Westin is one of those conversations that enables you to quickly get passed the layers and meet with the real person that drives his thought processes and goals.  Not so easy when you are dealing with veteran entertainers, but nice to find in a young gentleman not yet building barriers to protect himself.

Free Range Talent File Matt WestinHere’s the thing … I was immediately struck by a young man who set out to find his place in the world and after a time realized that his place, for now anyway, is back where he can be close to what he describes as “the legacy” of his family.  I like him!  And, I think the rest of you will as well.

Free Range Talent File Matt WestinNow I’ve said all that and kept the icing on the cake for last.  This guy can sing!  Not only that, but he has found great producers and promotions support, which allows him to present the complete package.

Matt WestinHonestly, when we first began to be interested in Matt Westin was at the point where we were just sent a recording.  Then the more we found out about him, and enjoyed getting to know his polished looks and stage performance, we realized he would be a great fit for the Free Range Texan Podcast.

Matt WestinOne of the things that we enjoy is being able to introduce our listeners to people we are certain they will like.   That is why when we found Matt Westin and his remarkable talent, we were anxious to include him on Episode 37.  We urge you to look for his album “Legacy”, and enjoy hearing his story on the way up.  Matt Westin is part of Episode 37 as our Podcast rolls out Thursday, January 16th after dark United States’ central time.

Free Range Texan Episode 37

Episode 36 Warm and Loving then Sad and Cold

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

The Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 36 varies greatly from beginning to end with a wide spectrum of emotions.  Among other things, this episode contains a special visit with Shirley and Andy Klattenhoff tucked neatly inside one of our “Ain’t Love Grand Files”.  They are a delight.

Shirley and Andy Klattenhoff
Shirley and Andy – 1978
Shirley and Andy Klattenhoff
Shirley and Andy in “Studio A” today

Shirley and Andy have been walking hand-in-hand through life for over four decades.  Through the best of times and tough times, they have always just taken it all as it comes.  We have learned that true love sometimes appears when you’re not even looking for it and when it is least expected.  We think you will love hearing their story.

Native American James ScottAbove is the picture of James Scott, a Native American, who died in 1944 at about 110 years of age.  As a child, he was part of the forced removal of Indian tribes from Alabama and Georgia to reservations in Oklahoma.  We have recreated word for word his actual recollection of the removal.  It is a remarkable story, and yet may not be suitable for our younger listeners.

All of this and more on another Free Range Texan Podcast that comes from the heart.

Free Range Texan Episode 36

Talking Texan with Jeremy Parsons

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

It always amazes me all the different impressions that I get from artists that we interview on the Free Range Talent File.  Jeremy Parsons writes great music, and he is a talented stage performer.  But after spending half an hour or so on the phone with him, I will tell you that after you hang up the phone your first thought is Jeremy Parsons is a really nice guy.

Free Range Talent File Jeremy ParsonsHe has performed on stage with some of the biggest names in Country Western show business.  From Texas, but living in Nashville, he plays venues all over the United States and Europe.  But he talks about loving to come home to perform in Texas anytime he can.  Our Free Range Talent File not only features Jeremy Parsons talking about his love for the Lone Star State, but singing one of his latest releases, “Making Things Up As I Go” on Episode 35 of the Free Range Texan Podcast.  Thanks Jeremy!

Free Range Texan Episode 35

Nothing But Respect for Mike Pritchard

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

I’m not even sure I remember the first time I became aware of and acquainted with Mike Pritchard.  His singing, songwriting and performing capabilities are woven into the fabric of our West Texas community.  You could say a lot of things about Mike … he is the consummate professional; he is someone that can be counted on to perform and sing in almost any venue where he is needed.

Free Range Talent File Mike PritchardAnother thing you will notice if you are around him much is that the musician community appreciates and respects him as a talent and a friend.  In regards to all the things that I have just said, he is a real “what you see is what you get” kind of guy.  I like him and I guess I always have.  If you are walking in to spend the evening somewhere, and you find out that Mike Pritchard will be singing, it’s a good thing.

Anyone who tries to put Mike Pritchard’s performing art or music style in a box with a label will be hard pressed to keep the lid shut.  He sings and writes great music for a lot of different occasions.  He and Wally Moyers have recently produced some absolutely beautiful country music.  Mike was always a rock and roll guy at heart, and would be glad to walk on stage with a six piece band and blow the roof off.  But lately … he is doing some really sweet and soulful blues.  It’s all enjoyable.

Free Range Talent File Mike PritchardOur visit with Mike Pritchard taps into past, present and future.  He was absolutely candid and talked personally with our listeners.  For me it was simple.  I was just talking with an old friend.  Episode 34 of our Free Range Texan Podcast rolls out Thursday evening, December 7th.  Thank you Mike Pritchard for sharing some of your life and your music.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 34

An Important Piece of Our Puzzle … Roger Dykes

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

He’s a writer, a counselor, an advocate for the disabled, a relentless podcast critic, and a friend … Roger Dykes continues to be an important piece of our Free Range Texan fabric.

Roger doesn’t mind me telling you that he has been disabled with Cerebral Palsy since birth, and has spent his life in a wheelchair.    I have been acquainted with Roger since the late 1960s (I think).  The more you know Roger Dykes. listen to what he is saying, and watch what he is doing, the more you see that he is a master at battling the ever present discrimination in our society that profoundly affects the lives of people with all types of disabilities.

Roger DykesWhen we created the Heroes and Heroines File for our Free Range Texan Podcast, the first lesson we learned was that in general real heroes and heroines are not readily available for interviews.  Then it occurred to us, during the production of Episode 3, that we had a real-life hero living among us.  Roger Dykes was our guest for the very first Heroes and Heroines File.

Roger DykesRoger has a Master’s Degree from Texas Tech University, has owned and run his own business, and worked as a stand-up (or sit down) comedian and after dinner speaker.  He also found time to write a book (Non-Persons Rolling in a Normal World) about living a life in today’s world being disabled throughout most of his body, but not his mind.  Incidentally, there is an audio version about to be released on Amazon, that is narrated by a somewhat mediocre voice talent, or so says one of my avid critics.

Roger Dykes
Roger Dykes, 1977

The Free Range Texan depends on a number of special people who have generously thrown in their love and expertise behind the scenes of our Podcast.  One of these remarkable individuals is Roger Dykes.  Don’t let the wheelchair fool you, his wisdom is profound and his wit can cut its way through chain link in an instant.  He is my friend.

The Mugs Are Among Us

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

The “Official Free Range Texan, Michael Shawn’s Campfire Approved, 1st Edition Campfire Coffee Mugs” have arrived out yonder at the Free Range Texan Network headquarters.  These stylish mugs are now being seen around finer campfires everywhere.  We suggest you do not get caught without one of your own.  When you hit the button below it will take you to the Free Range Texan House of Treasures.  Just scroll down and arrange to receive the mug of choice for Free Range Texans everywhere.

Campfire Coffee Mug Banner



Up Close and Personal With Casey Baker

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

Our visit with Casey Baker was delightful.   She quickly steps outside the box that contains all the blond jokes, because after speaking with her for awhile you become aware that she is smarter than the average bear.  Yes, she is a great talent and attractive to look at, but once you get past all the obvious, she has a story that contains rich life experiences.

Free Range Talent File Casey BakerJust the fact alone that she has raised a teenager does tend to bring a certain amount of polish to ones common sense toward dealing with everyday life.  Her recording industry connections are solid.  Those connections manifest themselves in some powerful music that Casey Baker writes, performs and records.  She is the complete package.

Free Range Talent File Casey BakerIt is easy for us to say that she is definitely a talent worth keeping an eye on for her future recordings and show dates, as she is the genuine article.  We at the Free Range Texan urge you to get through the door of any venue where she would be performing on stage.  It will be a worthwhile evening.

Free Range Talent File Casey BakerCasey Baker is our special guest on the Free Range Texan Podcast, located in our Free Range Talent File portion of our show.  Episode 33 is rich with her talent as she sings her latest release, “Life Has Taken Its Toll On Me.”  (And if it has, it doesn’t show.)

Free Range Texan Episode 33

A Visit with Al Pitrelli

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

From the very beginning of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, one of the original talents, who has since become a lead guitarist and director, is Al Pitrelli.  Al is one of the most successful rock musicians in the United States, if not the world.  I found him to be one of the more congenial and unassuming, really big industry talents that I have visited with in a long time.

Free Range Talent File Al Pitrelli

Our interview on Episode 32 of the Free Range Texan Podcast reveals quickly that Al Pitrelli is more than just a remarkable stage performer, he is also a husband and father to a family with which he manages to stay close.

While he has been a professional musician from the earliest part of his life, for a couple of decades he has been enthralled in his work with Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Touring around the world more times than he can remember, he is quick to point out that a show that he does in California, Texas, New York, London, Paris, etc., are the same performances once the lights go down.

Free Range Talent File Al PitrelliFor those of you who have not experienced a Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance, I would suggest that you are missing out on what very well could be the most remarkable concert/stage performance produced anywhere on the globe.  Describing it is nothing short of impossible.  But the lights, sound, pyrotechnics, stage sets, and music are world class.  And we thought we would bring you a couple of examples here on our podcast blog.

Having Al Pitrelli as a guest on the Free Range Texan Podcast barely into our second year of episodes, was about as good as it gets for our podcasting team!  If you have witnessed a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert in person or just seen videos and heard them on broadcast stations, we are certain that you will appreciate a behind the scenes interview with one of the driving force members of the TSO family.  Episode 32 turned out to be a bell-ringer for us.  Our Podcast rolls Thursday, November 7th after sunset.  Enjoy!

Free Range Talent File Al Pitrelli


Andy Wilkinson Returns

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

He’s back!  The thing about knowing an artist like Andy Wilkinson is that there is always the next Andy Wilkinson song you want to bring to the podcast.  And this time we’re bringing “Texas When Texas Was Free.”

Free Range Texan Talent File Andy WilkinsonAdditionally, Andy was kind enough to talk about one of his other passions in life.  He is an Artist in Residence and spends his days among other things working closely with the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University.  I asked Andy to explains a little bit (for the folks who may not know) about this remarkable archive.

Free Range Talent File Andy WilkinsonAndy Wilkinson is one of those fine Texas gentlemen that instead of getting older just gets richer with age here on the Llano Estacado.  We are so glad he came aboard the Free Range Texan for another visit so that we can share some more of our friend Andy Wilkinson.

Free Range Texan Episode 31 Andy Wilkinson