SIGNAL PEAK — Audiences often sing along when Nancy Elliott and Bob Bachen are on stage. And when they perform at the Pence Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Jan. 26, they expect to hear lots of audience participation.
“Audiences are usually singing along and we love it,” Elliott said.
The show, entitled “Equipata,” features Elliott and Bachen performing old country and Southwestern Americana originals.
“When I say old country, I am talking the father of country music himself, Jimmie Rodgers. Also, songs from Lefty Frizzell, Don Gibson, Willie Nelson that were B-side favorites way back but rarely ever heard these days, even on the radio,” Elliott said.
Among the songs the duo will perform are their own renditions of “Waiting on a Train,” “Railroad Lady” and “Yesterday’s Wine.”
“These lovely old songs are presented in a simple, uncomplicated style, framed by tight harmonies with the perfect dash of Bob’s exceptional yodeling,” Elliott said.
The show will be divided into sections with parts that include some of Elliott’s original music and solo singing and others that include Bachen performing guitar or percussion. He’s also known for his yodeling.
Elliott will perform some of her original songs and fan favorites, “Wild Rose,” “Tall Tree” and “Autumn’s On Its Way,” which inspired her book by the same name, set to be released later this year.
Audiences will also be introduced to some of Elliott’s new music from her 2021 album, “Bluebirds Singing on the Buffalo Road.”
Elliott is a Casa Grande resident and well-known performer throughout the area. She is also a seamstress and dressmaker.
“Being a musician and a seamstress are both about relationships. It all ties together,” she said in a 2019 PinalCentral interview.
Elliott’s musical journey began at age 7 when she began playing her first instrument, the organ. At 13, she started playing guitar.
Inspired by John Denver, Batdorf and Rodney, and America, she began writing her own songs and performing folk music for friends and family and eventually, at weddings and local festivals.
After high school she went to work for the California park service and would spend her off time singing at area campgrounds and restaurants. She went on to work for parks in Texas as well in the city of Maricopa.
She performed when she could at various venues, singing her favorites by Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson and others.
When she moved to Arizona in the 1990s, she said she fell in love with western, cowboy-inspired music. For years, she performed with Katy Creek Band.
Over the years, she has produced several albums, including two in her “Southwestern Americana” style.
Bachen, a Sahuarita resident, is a former cattle rancher and farrier who in 1983 started the mail order catalog company Wagon Mound Ranch Supply, which he ran for 30 years.
“Bob traveled the Rocky Mountain West as a traveling horseshoe salesman for ten and a half years until his retirement in May of 2021,” Elliott said.
A fan of most musical genres, he often sings and performs with Elliott.
“He leans toward old country with the likes of Lefty, Merle, George and Willie. However, his strongest influence has been Jimmie Rodgers,” Elliott said.
On March 4, Elliott will return to the Pence Center for a different kind of event. In “The Heart of It All, the Importance of Telling Your Story,” she’ll inspire and encourage others to tell their story.
“I am pretty excited to get the opportunity to play Pence Center not once, but twice, and in two very different formats,” she said.
The Heart of It All is a storytelling concert.
“It’s deliberately arranged to inspire and encourage you to leave your story for others to find, learn and grow from,” she said. “Housewives, farmers, students, law enforcement, first responders; everyone has a story, and every story matters.”
By telling one’s story, every person can teach, encourage and evoke change and growth, she said.
“Telling a story can even save a life,” she said. “I have seen it happen again and again. What better gift can you leave your family or the world than the gift of your story?”
While it aims to inspire, it’s not audience-interactive.
“No one speaks but me, no one is asked to stand and deliver. Ample time is given between the songs, stories and poetry for absorbing, taking notes or quiet reflection,” she said.
The storytelling event includes two 45-minute sets with an intermission and a question-and-answer time at the end of the second set.
Those in the audience may bring a notepad and pen but phones and laptops are not allowed.