As the founding Director of the Western Folklife Center and the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, Cannon published dozens of books and recordings on the folk arts of the West. He received three Wrangler Awards from the Cowboy Hall of Fame, the 1998 Will Rogers Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Folklore Society’s Botkin Award, and the Utah Governor’s Awards in both the arts and humanities.
Cannon recently retired from the Western Folklife Center but continues, along with producer Taki Telonidis, to produce features for NPR national news shows including their radio series, What’s in a Song, airing on Weekend Edition. They also produced two Emmy Award winning TV documentaries, Why the Cowboy Sings and Red Rock Rondo: A Zion Canyon Song Cycle, both airing on PBS.
“I met Hal Cannon at the Kane County Fair this summer,” says Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca, Juilliard graduate, San Francisco Bay Area performer, and music instructor for Kanab schools. “I was fortunate enough to rehearse and perform with him every day. He was so kind.” Ghidossi-DeLuca goes on to describe Cannon as “an absolutely superb musician. Very sensitive, a fantastic composer, and a very talented performer. I would jump at the chance to perform with him again.”