Cambrian: Arts & Events

Monte Mills yodels his way to Cambria for Cabaresque shows

Monte Mills will perform Oct. 7 and 8 at Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre.
Monte Mills will perform Oct. 7 and 8 at Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre.

Monte Mills, one of the last of the yodeling cowboys, brings his act to Cambria for a pair of Cabaresque shows Oct. 7 and 8 at Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre.

Mills is a farrier and auctioneer by trade, but he’s better known to Central Coast audiences as a singing cowboy who’s been instrumental in keeping western swing music alive.

Western swing originated in the late 1920s in the West and South, a style of up-tempo dance music that became wildly popular by the early 1940s. Huge crowds flocked to California dance halls to hear the likes of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Hank Thompson and Spade Cooley.

Although its popularity declined after World War II, Mills has helped keep introduce it to new generations at Cal Poly and along the coast with Saturday night “Aggie Stomps.”

Mills and his Lucky Horseshoe Band perform weekly at fairs, dances and private parties. The Creston resident has performed with entertainers including Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald.

Mills, who moved to San Luis Obispo County and started a horseshoeing business in 1972, has released numerous albums with titles such as “Steam and Steel,” “Fiddlin’ Around” and “Thunder Road.” He’s covered such classics as “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Wabash Cannonball,” “Maybellene,” “Hot Rod Lincoln” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

Mills’ family-friendly shows in Cambria start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (wine bar opens at 6:30) and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are available for $20 at the box office, by calling 805-927-8190 or by visiting brownpapertickets.com (800-838-3006).

Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre is at 1350 Main St. in the Old Cambria Grammar School. Information: cambriacenterforthearts.org.

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