The ‘Last Cowboy Song’ is The Highwaymen’s Ode to America

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Of the few songs about losing pieces of America’s past, the Highwaymen’s “Last Cowboy Song” rings the truest and the saddest.

Even from the title, you know the Highwaymen’s second track on their self-titled album, Highwaymen, is going to be a real doozy when it comes to remembering America. The song is actually a cover of Ed Bruce’s duet with Ronald Peterson, which charted in 1980.

Ed Bruce, songwriter of “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”, was always an instrumental player in remembering the American West and celebrating cowboy culture, which makes this ode to the past especially sad.

The best parts of this song are the stories inside of the lyrics, which tell of Lewis and Clark, the cowboy legend Bill Wyatt, Travis in Texas, and General Custer. The Highwaymen in their adaptation of Bruce’s original song specifically echo what thousands of people probably feel when Willie Nelson sings, “And wish to God we could have ridden his trail.”

The sentiment of remembering cowboy culture is alive and well in the United States, even if this Highwaymen tune is “the last cowboy song: the end of a hundred year waltz.”