Meet Western Music Singer, Songwriter, Poet and Performer
Al "Doc" Mehl
Western Music Association 2013 Poetry CD of the Year Award, "The Great Divide"
Around The Barn Guest
August 17, 2013
KHTS 1220 AM
Click here for podcast
Hailing from Westminster, Colorado, Al “Doc” Mehl traces his family roots to central Kansas, where his grandfather raised six children on the family homestead. With one foot in the past and one in the present, Doc weaves the history and the mystery of the West into his original poetry and music. His debut music CD is titled “Asphalt Cowboy,” and his second music CD titled “I’d Rather Be…” was released in 2008. Doc Mehl has also published a CD of original poetry titled “Cowboy Pottery,” and a second spoken-word poetry CD titled “The Great Divide” in 2013. Doc’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 Montrose, Colorado in 2009.
Who's Doc Been Hangin' Out With?
Doc’s stage performances feature his thought-provoking (and occasionally side-splitting) cowboy poetry, and spotlight his unique "westclectic" songwriting and soulful guitar. But you’ll also find him up on stage or down by the campfire, playing a jam-session-like counterpoint on the western cello alongside performing artists Pop Wagner, Liz Masterson, Evelyn Roper, Jim Jones, Patty Clayton, Bill Barwick, Juni Fisher, Rex Rideout, Mary Kaye, Jon Chandler and the Wichitones, the Yampa Valley Boys, Miss V the Gypsy Cowbelle, and even Riders in the Sky.
And you haven't really tasted contemporary western music at its finest until you've seen Doc Mehl up on stage with Washtub Jerry!
Folks are often asking, why the nickname “Doc?”
Sure, it has a nice "Western" sound to it, but couldn’t there be more to it than that, folks seem to ponder.
So, take your pick of the reasons shown below. Doc attests that all of the following are true (but then sheepishly admits that the real reason folks call him“Doc” may not even be on the list):
1. He's pretty good at treatin’ foot-rot.
2. He had tended to more than a few living creatures in his day. 3. He usually knows what to do about a toothache.
4. He's counseled a drunkard or two over the years.
5. Friends started calling him by that name years ago when he was still in school.
6. When it comes to vaccinatin’, he's a believer.
Catch Doc at a jam session sometime after midnight, and he might just spill the beans about the nickname. Then again... he might not.
Shown here with Riders In The Sky!
Things Folks Say About Doc (...in their weaker moments)
If you've ever wanted to be a cowboy... then you need Doc's CD. If you're one of those unfortunate people that are corralled in an office or hobbled by concrete, Doc's music will slip your halter and set you free. -----Marty Blocker
Doc is a hoot and a holler. Just when you think his fries have been left out of his Happy Meal (in a good way), he whacks you over the head with a verse that leaves you stunned. What a delight his songs are, and what a joy it is to hear what Doc Mehl has to say! -----Juni Fisher
With only a touch of nostalgia, this cowboy talks about today. With wonderful original tunes, harmony, plucking, great rhythms, and surprises (cello and coronet in cowboy music??!!), Doc Mehl reaches your soul, and speaks to the private person within. ------Ed McAuliffe
Listening to Doc is like having Lyle Lovett in one ear and Tommy Smothers in the other. ------Jon Chandler
Refreshing, original, witty, and loaded with clever wordplay about contemporary cowboy life. No clichés here, every song is a winner from a phabulous, phree-wheeling asphalt cowboy. “Welcome to the Whine Bar” has more wisdom and wit in it than a bottle of cheap chardonnay, so you've already saved yourself twelve bucks. ---Doris Daley
There’s a unique mind at work here that may be one of a kind in the western music arena. He'll make you laugh and then suddenly think, and laugh some more and cry. Don't strip your gears!
I bought Doc’s CD just for "Stupid Dog," but now I'm enjoying all of the tracks. I played it for some friends and we were cracking up over "Welcome to the Whine Bar" and "Asphalt Cowboy." Doc’s recordings are a great addition to my growing collection of cowboy artists. ------Mike Moutoux
Only a poet could believe that matching up rhyming sounds like errant socks is a divine calling. Doc Mehl’s original cowboy poetry takes its rhyme and metered structure sort of serious ("rhymin' holds the ear" - true enough…) while winking at the whole business along the way. I'm happy to see this cowboy poet knows that putting tongue in cheek is more than just about situating the tobacco chew. -------Eric Ottem
I was acquainted with Badger Clark back in the early 1940s and heard him read his own work. Having known him, I think he would be tremendously pleased to acknowledge Doc’s work in the tradition that he helped to establish. -----Clark Couch
An exquisite style of perfect structure, rhyme, meter, a winding of words onto a verbal canvas filled with imagery. Well done! ----M. Tim Nolting
You don't hear music like this every day, and it's too bad. It's light, humorous, sometimes makes you think (oh God, no!), and just plain fun to listen to. Me, I just keep going back to "Stupid Dog." I guess we've all had a dog, or at least a pet, like “Stupid Dog.” ----Vic Anderson
Height somewhere between 5-11 and 6-1, build somewhere between paunchy and heavy set, hair somewhere between graying and receding, facial hair somewhere between clean-shaven and stubble, last seen dressed in a black hat and black vest with a salad plate-sized silver belt buckle, carrying a guitar under one arm and a cello under the other. Believed to be unarmed but nevertheless dangerous. Headed west. ------Corrales, New Mexico, Police Blotter
Posted by Doc
The Great Divide
Copyright 9-2006 Al “Doc” Mehl
Great Grandpa Mehl was born in West Virginia, 1859.
The old log home where he was born sat on the Mason Dixon Line.
Now if the baby’d been a girl, they would’ve dressed her up in pink,
But when they saw it was a boy… they maybe had to stop and think.
You see, you’d usually dress a boy in blue, but this boy, hard to say;
Would he wear blue just like the Union men, or maybe Rebel gray?
And then my Gramps was born in Kansas; it was 1881,
A couple years before the Texas cattle drives were fin’lly done.
It was a complicated birth, left him a palsy in one arm,
So, though he might have been a cowboy, now he’d have to learn to farm.
And then, my dad was born in Ab’lene, of a doctor’s helpin’ hand.
Would this boy someday move to town, or would he stay to work the land?
Would he be learnin’ ’bout the thresher and the old style bailin’ hooks,
Or maybe learnin’ from a schoolmarm, and a library of books?
Me, I was born in Wichita, and though my daddy’s life was gritty,
Would I come to know the land, or would I live in some big city?
Would I walk a new direction, or trod ’long in daddy’s boots?
Would I be turnin’ ’way from his’try, or be searchin’ for my roots?
See, at the time of procreation, it’s as if a coin is tossed,
And only one road can be taken; something’s gained, and something’s lost.
Each brand new baby comes into this world upon a shifting tide,
And ev’ry birth is like a raindrop… fallin’ on the Great Divide.