A Campfire Story That Took on a Life of Its Own

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

Michael Shawn’s Campfire stories tend to flow from all directions.  There are countless sources, including close friends and contributing editors, who’s contributions to our podcast are appreciated more than anyone knows.

We were producing the campfire story for Episode 30.  Traditionally, podcasts contain various and sundry amounts of content, generally edited around a main file (Heroes and Heroines, The Unexplained Files, Free Range Talent, etc.) and always winding up at Michael Shawn’s Campfire.

In the tradition of creating a campfire segment for Episode 30, we most of the time run a ballpark estimate of four to eight minutes, depending on variables in the script and production.  It’s the way we like to end each podcast.

Thinking that the story of the Alamo from Davy Crockett’s point of view would be a different way to tell the tale, we began to do research outside of the traditional writings concerning Texas history.  We stumbled into a credible source of knowledge that told more vividly the happenings in the last days of Davy Crockett’s life, specifically describing the world around him.

Before we knew it, we had a podcast script two to three times longer than any campfire story that we had ever produced, and in trying to edit this remarkable tale, we could not find portions we were willing to leave out.  Numerous times we were brought to tears as we began to realize more than the Hollywood version of the world falling apart around the remnant of Texan volunteers.

By the time we finished production, apart from being profoundly moved by what we were hearing, we also realized that as much as ever before we had created a piece of “theatre of the mind” that was a true story of remarkable bravery and heroism.  The Free Range Texan Podcast Epiosde 30 is dedicated to my life-long friend Harlan Reddell, who spent three years putting up with a smart-aleck young Michael Shawn, teaching me everything I know about dramatic presentation.  This one is from the heart.

Free Range Texan Podcast Episode 30 Davy Crockett

Free Range Texan Episode 30 rolls Thursday, October 10th just after dark.


Bob Wills Bus … Or Not

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

If you’ve been to Turkey, Texas, I’m sure you will agree that it is a town full of friendly people, and there could be no better place in the U.S.A. to host the annual Bob Wills Day Festival.  Western Swing artists from all over the southwest converge for a couple of days of family friendly, boot scootin’, genuine Texas music.  In the midst of all of it, I happen to find Buck and Rhoda Coghlan from Scottsdale, Arizona.  They have single-handedly refurbished buildings and brought what appears to be Bob Wills Bus to be on permanent display in Turkey, Texas.

Buck and Rhoda Coghlin
Buck and Rhoda Coghlin
Turkey, Texas Gas Station
Turkey, Texas Gas Station
Turkey, Texas Phillips 66 sign
Turkey, Texas Phillips 66 sign
Turkey, Texas Bob Wills Bus
Turkey, Texas Bob Wills Bus

The story behind the bus parked in Turkey is to say the least, interesting, and Buck and Rhoda have earned a place in the on-going stories about the life and times of Bob Wills.  Everyone in Turkey, Texas, appears to agree.   One more thing — we at the Free Range Texan Podcast would like to apologize for the West Texas wind.  Our state of the art digital recording microphones still do not handle it well.  We will endeavor to overcome this situation in the future …. enjoy!

Thank you John Sanders for being there on the scene and shooting some great photographs.

Free Range Texan Episode 21




One of the Best Free Range Texans I Ever Knew

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

My daughter, Mariah, graduated from Texas Tech with a Masters Degree in Chemistry. My son, Cody, graduated from Texas Tech and got his Masters in Athletic Training at Arkansas University. I, however, took a different path. I grabbed my high school diploma and set out to conquer the world for better or for worse. I did graduate with my master’s but I chose a different route.

The picture below was the Dean and Chief Professor of a large portion of my master’s degree. For me, going to class meant riding number two on a line-up of off road motorcycles following, watching, and observing Ben Faulkner. I learned more about different cultures, barely explored wildernesses, and general life lessons as a young adult than anyone can possibly imagine. Ben Faulkner, while being approximately 15 years older, was destined to be one of the best life-long friends that a young “wildling” could ever have.

The stories of his adventures could fill a book. He taught me that life is often like riding in the desert … be ready for anything and never go over the top of a bluff without first stopping to look. My life long love affair with the Big Bend and the Chihuahuan desert now includes knowing that I will never be able to open my eyes and see that sunrise and feel that special place without my thoughts being full of my big brother, Ben Faulkner.

Memorial Day at 7:15 a.m. Ben rode into those pearly gates without me, but I can just see the grin on his face. I know he left me here to break camp, cause like so many others of late, I expect we’ll be meeting up again across the river. Adios Uncle Ben! Enjoy the ride!

Ben and Dona Faulkner

Talk Back, Tell Us What You Think, Submit Your Ideas

Our Free Range Texan Podcast is growing by leaps and bounds.  It is, however, a mixed blessing.  Our production staff and behind the scenes crew, not to mention the resources and creative services of A-Team PR, continually get stretched thin with a growing number of details.  They tell me these are the type of problems that people in our business get down on their knees and pray for.  Well, consider our prayers answered!  We are thankful.  But find ourselves looking at a growing number of complications that we struggle to keep simple for everyone (including our staff).

Anyone who produces a podcast will tell you that one of the major challenges is to maintain a continual flow of “content”.  We are so grateful to so many of you who have shared information and great stories with our Free Range Texan podcast.  And in case there were any questions about how to plug in with almost any portion of our production team, we have narrowed it all down to one door, making it simple and quick, and assigned reliable Free Range Texans to pay attention and help us stay responsive.  Thanks a million y’all.  We like it when our listeners step up.

Holy Smoke, Who Knew He Could Sing

Imagine how we were all amazed when in midstream on Episode 17, he turns into a Blues Singer (term used loosely).  Well … the only one we had at the moment anyway.  We haven’t said much to Michael Shawn about the entire affair, we don’t want him to start acting like “talent”, getting sensitive and all.  Episode 17 begins a season of premier announcements for things to come on our Free Range Texan podcast.  Word on the street is the Free Range Texan network is looking for a new roving reporter personality.  We’re certain Michael Shawn will shine more light on this subject soon.

Our Special Guest Derek Bohl

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

Friends, I have been around the music and entertainment business longer than I care to publish.  I have rubbed shoulders with singers, songwriters and/or recording artists since I was a young teenager.  It is safe to say that I have a sense for entertainers.  There is not a lot that they can tell me about professional musicians on the road that I have not actually seen or experienced.

Here’s why I’m telling you this.  Because when I say that Derek Bohl is not only talented and a really good writer, singer and recording artist, but he is genuinely a breath of fresh air and redeems my faith in the future of today’s recording industry.

Episode 16 Derek BohlThere is probably forty years between our ages, but I will tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with Derek at his studio.  This is an interview that I think you will enjoy as well.  It should come as no surprise that I highly recommend Episode 16 of our Free Range Texan podcast.  Oh, yes, and one more thing … I have found myself enjoying his tune “Meet Me In The Middle” over and over in our Studio or just in my head during the day.  I think you’ll like it.Menu

Who Knew Michael Shawn Could Dance?

Episode 15 of our Free Range Texan Podcast openly admits the existence of a canine super hero heretofore left in the background of our production.  Apparently there is no longer any keeping of “Foxy the Wonder Dog” a secret.

Big thanks to Daniel Jones for bringing us up to date.  We freely admit that technical problems occurred with Daniel’s interview and there are parts of the podcast on that account that require you to listen harder because Daniel was on the road and away from any of our digital recording devices.  Honestly, folks we will take steps to improve all of that in the future.

We left Michael Shawn alone to create his campfire segment, and when that happens you can count on the fact that his heart for Texas generally takes over the conversation.  Thank you Michael …. good info.

Free Range Texan Episode 15Oh, yes, and the last thing we want to mention is that this is the first of our podcasts that our host actually opened and closed the show break dancing for our audience … Is there no end to Michael Shawn’s talent?  If you haven’t heard Episode 15, we suggest you climb aboard.


Foxy The Wonder Dog

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

I have a bone to pick with this critter that follows me around.  This week at the Free Range Texan website, coming in on our info@freerangetexan.net e-mail address, Foxy the Wonder Dog, after a brief appearance on our podcast, got a higher number of listener responses than I did!  That’s right, fellow Free Rangers, I have been outdone by my german shepherd shadow.  It has also been suggested by more than just a few, that we put up a picture or two or three of this sensational sidekick, loving referred to as Foxy.  She is a little over two years old and she has followed me around since she was a little ball of fur.

Foxy the Wonder DogStarting with the early days, it would be fair to say that she was equally never dull and not exactly well-mannered.  She had a tremendously hard time distinguishing between her dog food bowl and my sandwich.

Foxy the Wonder DobAs the weeks and months rolled by, she began to act less like an out-of-control puppy, too cute for her own good, and more like the sharp, better mannered watch dog that we knew she could become.  But, not before she managed to chew her way through more than one of the closets in our home.

Foxy the Wonder DogAnd while the jury was out for a time, it’s pretty unanimous now around our outfit that Foxy the Wonder Dog is now a permanent member of the family.  Wondering when we’re going to eat next, enjoying attention, and being insatiably curious about anything new, I would say she fits right in.

Foxy the Wonder Dob

A-Team PR’s Studio A Gains Notoriety

People who are successful in the public relations industry agree that a good agency operates seamlessly behind the scenes working on their client’s behalf.  While the owners and creative personnel at A-Team PR have operated in media and public relations for decades, A-Team PR itself is a brand new public relations and strategic media planning business that in many ways has rewritten the operations manual for today’s advertising companies.  In today’s new world of marketing and imaging clients’ businesses, newly formed and elegant ways of promotion are changing the industry with more efficient processes.  All of this leads to better production, better creativity, better market research, and more bang for the buck for clients.  It is a new and exciting world, and podcasting is the new step-child wave that summits the mountain that is today’s entertainment / information explosion.  Traditional media is pounding the pavement hard to keep up.


Free Range Texan Episode 13

Cowboy Coffee and UFOs … Just Another Day At The Office for Michael Shawn

Episode 12 starts out with a fantasy parachute jump that gets a bit real before it’s over.  Michael Shawn continues his love affair with caffeine, and cryptozoology investigator Daniel Jones shares thoughts and true stories about actual UFO incidents in the Lone Star state.  Be sure and join our Free Range Texan podcast Episode 12, rolling out on February 3rd.  P.S.:  The rumors are true,  A-Team PR’s Studio A seems to have been visited by alien life forms during the making of Episode 12 …. really!