Michael Martin Murphey’s Cowboy Christmas® was inspired by an event that began in 1885 in Anson, TX, when the local community of cowboys came together to celebrate the season with the very first Cowboy Christmas Ball. The festivities included dancing and merriment that has continued virtually every year since. (Murphey will return to this year’s ball at the famed Pioneer Hall in Anson on December 19.) Michael Martin Murphy on Banjo“The first time I came to the annual Cowboy Christmas Ball in Anson, I was floored that the community had worked so hard to keep it going,” says Murphey, himself a rancher and farmer. “I fell in love watching the older couples dance and the dances being passed on to the younger people. It re-connected me to the tradition. The Cowboy Christmas Ball is steeped in everything I hold dear of growing up in Texas at Christmas. All the dances were here — the waltzes, the mazurkas, the Paul Jones, the Virginia Reel. The women make their own costumes and clothes and the men still wear string ties and frock coats. It’s a family reunion of friends.” Cowboy Christmas® differs from other seasonal presentations in its focus of the “special relationship” of the Christmas story to rural communities, farmers and ranchers. “God first sent an angel to the livestock people — shepherds in the fields. Whether you’re a believer or not, the story emphasizes that the news of the birth of the Savior was not given to royalty or politicians. The Lord did not alert the media or ministers.