from California
Chapter of WMA Newsletter 2009

4 bells




Recently Belinda Gail interviewed Joyce on her radio show - Blessed Trails. It aired November 1st of 2015 and is now available for streaming at:


Here is another interview that appeared in the California Chapter's Western Way Magazine a couple of years ago:

Joyce Woodson is a singer, songwriter and musician who has earned acclaim and a large following among Western Music fans.  She is also a true daughter of the West, born and raised in rural Southern California. 

California Chapter WMA Magazine:  You’ve just had a memorable year, haven’t you?

JW:       Yes, I won the 2008 Western Music Association's Best Song of the Year for “If I Hadn’t Seen the West” and the 2008 Will Rogers AWA (Academy of Western Artists) Award for Best Female Western Performer.  That night was such a thrill.  So many of my friends were in the audience hootin’, hollerin’ and calling out my name.  Having my pal Belinda Gail present me with the award onstage meant a lot to me, too. 

            I also produced my current Western CD, If I Hadn’t Seen the West, with Marty Rifkin, who records and tours with Bruce Springsteen playing Dobro and pedal steel. Some great singers have chosen my songs for their own CDs as well. Both Belinda Gail and Jean Prescott have recorded “He’s Courtin’ Annie” and now the new western group Journey West recently recorded “If I Hadn’t Seen the West” and “Cheyenne.”    Their versions are breathtakingly beautiful.  Most recently, I wrote a new western swing song with Liz Masterson called “The Cowboy Way of Life.” It’s now is featured on her new CD Roads to Colorado

            And, I’ve been touring throughout the West including the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum in Cody, Wyoming, as well as other venues in Tucson, Texas, and California.  I also play the WMA’s jam session every month at the Western Heritage Museum when I’m in town.  It’s a great to keep in touch with my western music friends in the area.  I so enjoy performing for people who’ve embraced my music!


WWM:   What brought you to Western Music?

JW:       My first memory of hearing Western music was when I was about 5 or 6 at Knott’s Berry Farm.  The amphitheater had a concrete replica of a Conestoga wagon; families could sit and listen to the live music from a cowboy band.  It was very exciting – the night sky above and this soft, enchanting music wafting up.  I loved it!  Years later, while attending a WMA convention in Tucson, I discovered that my favorite group, the Reinsmen, were that that same band.  I was floored!  Now that I’ve won awards for my own Western Music, those memories have become even more precious.


WWM: When did you start writing cowboy songs?

JW:       Well, I’ve been making up songs since I was a little kid, riding on the tractor with my Dad.  When I was I my teens, I started performing at a local coffee house. My style is based in the American folk song and the melancholy melodies of the Irish, Scottish and Swedish fiddle music that I love.  After I moved to Santa Monica a few years later to work at the legendary McCabe’s, I started to perform around Los Angeles.  One time, when I was performing live on KCRW, I sang one of my early songs, “Ten Cents a Ride,” about a may who sold pony rides at the County Fair.  The host asked me, “When did you first start writing Western Music?”  I hadn’t realized it was a western song ­– I was just writing about what I saw around me.  I guess that was the start of my writing western songs.


WWM:  How long have you been a member of the Western Music Association (WMA)?

JW:       I’m actually a founding WMA member.  I attended the 1989 initial meeting that determined if and how the organization would be formed.  It was a weekend of concerts, meetings, and jamming.  I met Liz Masterson and Sean Blackburn, as well as The Riders in the Sky, Rex Allen Sr. and the Reinsmen.  We were all excited to find like-minded musicians who wanted to preserve western music.


WWM:  Did your early background contribute to your love for Western Music?

JW:       I’m sure it did.  I grew up in San Juan Capistrano when the population was only 1,800.  My parents owned a farm, grew vegetables and trucked them into L.A. at night for the morning market.  We always had horses for fun.  I knew the basics of how to care for, saddle up and ride them down the creek bed and up into the hills that surrounded our little valley.  It was a beautiful time.  The valley was filled with verdant farmland, and orchards of orange trees.  I moved back there a few years ago, and I feel lucky to live there again.  It’s a peaceful place ­– a great place to write.


WWM:  What are your plans for 2011?

JW:    I have another album about ready to go.  I’m very hands-on – I don’t just produce the music, I also write and design the CD package and handle my own marketing and distribution.  I also designed and maintain my own website.  In fact, I’m currently working on videos to post online.

          I’ll also be touring quite a bit in the coming months:  Wyoming, the Southwest.  I plan to tour Europe again – I’ve been getting airplay in England, Denmark and Norway – and I’d like to play in Australia, too.  It’s interesting, isn’t it, that there’s something universal about such a short time period in American history – the time of the cowboy.  It continues to live on in music, not only in the U.S. but around the world.  I’m proud to be a small part of it all.