By Tim Leeds
The second series of the Heritage Center Celebrity Luncheons is kicking off with a performance by a local cowboy poet and international recording artist and writer.
Ken Overcast, who ranches on Lodge Creek near Chinook with his wife, Dawn, will perform selections of his music following the luncheon, starting at noon on Dec. 5.
Overcast, who, like his wife, is a third-generation rancher in north-central Montana, started his recording career in 1993, after a lifetime of ranching and performing music and poetry. His first album, "Silver and Gold," is a collection of original gospel songs, which he supported with a popular tour.
Overcast has recorded six other albums, and a live performance video, in the years since. He began writing a column, "Meadow Muffins," in 1997, which is used by several print and Internet publications. He has earned and been nominated for many awards in his eight years of recording.
The Academy of Western Artists awarded Overcast the Will Rogers Yodeler of the Year award in 2000, and the Western Music Association named him International Cowboy Yodeling Champion in 1997. He was nominated for a Grammy for his 1997 album of cowboy poetry, "Prairie Poetry, Vol. I," and has been nominated for Male Performer of the Year by the Western Music Association, and Male Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Guild.
Overcast has been touring Western states for the last six months, following the recording of "Montana Campfire," a mixture of some of his favorite old cowboy songs and some of his "Meadow Muffins" stories.
The next Heritage Center luncheon will be Feb. 6 with a presentation by Montana Actors Theatre.
The Overcast luncheon costs $15 for the meal and performance, with any profits going to cover the Heritage Center's expenses. Interested people are asked to RSVP at the center's office on the second floor of the Heritage Center, or by calling 265-7258.