Cowboy hats, boots and crooners
Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Kacey and Jenna Thunborg, 16-year-old twin sisters and western performers of Lemitar, were in a car heading to the Western Slope Cowboy Gathering in Grand Junction, Colorado, when the Journal recently caught up with them. They answered interview questions over the phone.
“This is a first time for us,” Kacey said of the Western Slope rally. “We were invited to an open mic up there.”
This may be their first appearance at the Grand Junction Cowboy Music and Poetry Festival, but it’s not their first rodeo. The sisters have been performing in front of the public since the age of 8. This year, they have appeared at the Cimarron Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering, the New Mexico Tech Women Fest, and the Arizona Folklore Preserve in Sierra Vista, Arizona, to name a few.
Kacey plays guitar, trumpet and ukulele, recently picked up the violin and sings and writes songs. Jenna is a singer-songwriter. Together, they create the exquisite harmonies that earned them the International Western Music Association Youth Harmony Duo of the Year awards in 2017 and 2019.
Do they see harmony as their strong point?
“Absolutely,” they said simultaneously – and in harmony, of course.
‘Let’s do it’
Returning from Colorado, the sisters will have the chance to showcase their talents in Albuquerque when they perform at the Rising Stars Showcase Tuesday at the Rio Grande Best Western, 1015 Rio Grande NW. The showcase, which features the Thunborgs and three other young Western artists, is sponsored by the New Mexico chapter of the International Western Music Association and serves as a curtain raiser for the IWMA convention, which begins Wednesday and continues through ‘until Sunday at the Albuquerque Hotel. in the old town, 800 Rio Grande NW.
About 300 IWMA members from across the country are expected to attend the convention, which features music and poetry performances and is open to the public. Kacey and Jenna will be performing there.
“You can see people you haven’t seen in a long time,” Jenna said of the convention, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic. “Everyone kind of knows everyone. “
“Western musicians are an amazing community,” Kacey said.
In addition to the Thunborgs, Tuesday’s Rising Stars Showcase will include:
- Vanessa Carpenter, a 17-year-old singer-songwriter from Idaho.
- Jack George, 15, of Quemado, who recites classic cowboy poetry.
- Alice Back, 16, from Virginia, a singer-songwriter who sings about immigrants, children, vagrants and other Western characters.
Kacey, Jenna and Carpenter will perform “Sisters of the West,” a song they wrote together, during Tuesday’s presentation.
“I just like being able to create something,” Jenna said of the songwriting process. “It can be something that I made up, or it can be historical things.”
Kacey recently teamed up with Jim Jones of Rio Rancho, the 2014 IWMA Male Performer of the Year, to write a song called “In the Moment.” The song is on Jones ‘recent CD “Good Days Are Comin'”.
“I thought we should write a song about wild horses,” Kacey said. “He said, ‘OK, let’s go.’ He added the “in the moment” part. We did it on Zoom, and I really enjoyed writing it with him. She said that when writing songs she usually started with melody and chords.
“I think about how I want it to be,” Kacey said. “I’ll hum a tune and start adding words every now and then. “
Founded in 1988, IWMA is an organization of Western musicians, cowboys and poets who love and support this brand of music and poetry. The IWMA has held its annual convention in Albuquerque since 2005.
Members of the public can purchase tickets for convention events, but people can visit vendors, the CD store, and a Western clothing store at no cost. Daytime music presentations are free, and you can usually find Western musicians singing and performing in the hotel lobby and hallways. It’s all about music, which celebrates a land and a way of life that in some ways is the same as it was over 100 years ago.
“Western music is special,” Kacey said. “I love the lyrics.”
“You just have to tell stories,” Jenna said.