|Eli Barsi, the singing cowgirl who specializes in traditional Western songs popularized by Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, will be the featured artist in a special Horseshoe Theater show at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Monett City Hall Auditorium.||Barsi has 10 compact discs and three DVDs to her credit. She plays guitar and mandolin and includes yodeling in her performances. Barsi performs Western roots music, gospel, bluegrass, new and classic country, and folk music.|
"I do a few genres but I usually keep them quite separate, depending on the venue and show," Barsi said. "My Western music is a mix of originals and old favorites from different folks, like Gene, Roy, Dale Evans, Rosalie Allen, Elton Britt and Patsy Montana.
"The old Western tunes came at a time in life when they had their own sound, and that still rings true today----songs that preserve our western heritage and lifestyle," Barsi said.
Barsi's search for concert material ranges from songs she heard off her father's records when she was young or brand new material she writes. She considers herself neither a throwback to another decade or an explorer in neglected terrain.
"I'm just a very hard working independent recording artist," Barsi said.
The old songs ring true, she continued, because of "honesty and genuine knowledge of this lifestyle. Like anything, it's easier to sell, if you know it, and can relate to it," Barsi said.
Barsi's favorite songs range from the very old tunes by Western artists like Rosalie Allen and Patsy Montana to bluegrass favorites, including the Carter family and the Louvin brothers.
"Real people delivering real music" is how Barsi described the very best material she loves to perform.
Barsi performs widely across the United States, mostly in soft seat theatres across North America. Her schedule also includes festivals, bluegras/country/gospel shows and house concerts on the way to the big concert halls.
"If you want to keep your calender full, you do them all," Barsi said.
Barsi's audiences generally know the material she presents. Younger listeners may not know the classic songs, so Barsi has an approach to win them over.
"Just an honest delivery of an original song usually works, perhaps with some old familiar favorites sprinkled in here and there," Barsi said. "It's not just about being a good vocalist and musician. Being a good entertainer is essential."
Barsi wants to get her audiences to feel the mood and the spirit of the songs as part of the concert experience.
"I like to make them laugh, make them think, maybe some misty eyes. It's really important to touch on a variety of emotions. Above all I want them to feel completely entertained and like they got their monies worth," Barsi said.
Admission to Horseshoe Theater shows is $5. Levanti has also scheduled with Alan Young and Friends to perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the City Hall Auditorium.