A Cowboy’s Life and His Country Music

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By Chelsey Olauson
“Life, cattle, farm, [and] faith.” These are all values that the American cowboys, who settled the Wild West, possessed. Picturing an American cowboy, I start at the ground. Pointy-toed, dusty leather boots with spurs peek out from beneath two layers, of denim jeans and also of leather chaps. Cinched at the waist where a long-sleeve button-up shirt is tucked in, the (probably) plaid shirt is thin cotton to allow movement of air but prevention of sunburn. Above the collar of the plaid shirt is the symbol of cowboying, the hat. American cowboys are truly legends of the great wild Americas, and they had a rigid sense of morality. Rural values like those found in old country songs are still present on the stage today, in a somewhat new genre of ‘cowboy country.’
“Uncle Tim, I want to write a song.” This was the seven-year-old beginning to a successful music career, and although that was where it began, it did not take off until later in life for this artist.
Working and loving one’s job are two different things. My rancher, Austin, loves his job: He works on his family ranch and genuinely loves to work with his cattle, the rigors of calving season, and even the chilly winter chores. I loved getting to help with calving season, but it does take some getting used to in realizing that he never has a day where there isn’t anything to work on. His dream come true is working on the ranch. “Be who you are- that’s where fulfilment and happiness come from.” Seamstress, rancher, painter, scientist, or musician: If that is who you are, that is what you will be happy doing, says Greg Hager.
In hands like Valley City’s own successful musician, the “power of music and lyric and song” can make a difference in peoples’ lives. From all those years ago with his first song, Greg Hager, his wife, Becky, and his children Hannah, William, and Holly have built this dream into a positively thriving music career. The whole family travels with when the travelling is necessary for performing Hager’s music.
Today’s country is more like rock ‘n’ roll, says Hager. Values associated with the American Cowboy are what he invests in, lives, and sings about. The music industry realized that a niche existed for this type of music, and that it was significantly different from the direction that new country was going. A songwriter for Garth Brooks, Royal Wade Kimes created the Pro Country Cowboy Artist Association, and just like other genres, they have an end-of-the-season music awards show to recognize the artists who uphold the genre by performing, and performing well, ‘cowboy country’ music.
Greg Hager and his family travel to many other states, in the range of 13-17 per year, and there performs his own music. He creates all of his own music, which is unheard of in any other genre by other artists. Since 2009, when he moved back home and began following his dream of becoming a musician, the Hager family has performed at 14,050 shows across the United States and even outside of it. Not only does he travel all over singing his music, he also performs closer to home, and indeed has a Christmas concert in Jamestown on December 8th at the Arts Center.
However, on October 13th, he and his family will be in Arkansas, at the Pro Cowboy Country Music Awards. He has been nominated, for the second time, as Entertainer of the Year. These are visible on the RFD Cowboy Channel and are to be broadcast later this fall.
Greg Hager is following his dream, with big results, and he encourages others to do the same: “Find that dream, follow the dream, and make a difference in peoples’ lives.”
Inspiring words from a successful musician, made more meaningful as he is a child of The City of Bridges just like other Valley City residents.