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Saddle Pals

In memory of Eric Paul (EP) Davis

May 1953-October 2019 

The Hawaiian pronunciation of the place where EP was born is "Ee-oh-vah".


But in plain old English it is just Iowa.  Yup, that's right, EP was born in Emmitsburg,

Iowa, in 1953, to Ruth and Rev. Paul J. Davis, an Episcopal priest.  The Davis family

moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1970.  There he met me, Clarke Wright. 

That story from my view goes a little like this:


"My mother came to me one day and told me that there was a new Episcopal priest in town and that he had a son my age.  Being that my father was also an Episcopal priest, I was going to meet this kid and I was darn sure going to be nice to him.  At age 16, you must do what your mother tells you (mostly), so I dragged along my friend Bob and we went to meet this new kid.  Well, we go ring the doorbell and here answers this short kid with long hair and a scowl on his face.  Turns out his mother had told him pretty much the same thing my mother had."  Well, we struck up a friendship that day that lasted a lifetime. 


During our time in Sioux Falls, we did the things that teenagers do, including listening to music and going to concerts.  We were particularly struck by the so-called Country-Rock bands that often featured the banjo and steel guitar. One day EP, or Eric, as he was known then, decided that he needed a banjo. So, he and I took his French Horn down to Sioux Falls Music and traded it in on a 5-string.  I pulled my acoustic guitar out of the closet and we sat down and tried to play The Ballad of Jed Clampett.  It didn't sound half bad to us and soon we were boldly playing for our friends.  Of course, none of our hippie pals of 1970 had heard anything like this rip-roaring homemade music coming from right next to them.  So, we became kinda popular with our friends, especially Eric!  Eric's middle name was Paul, and one young lady started calling him E.P., for Eric Paul.  That name stuck the rest of his life.


EP and I moved to Denver in 1972 and were intrigued by the bluegrass scene.  We met guys like David Ferretta, Charles Sawtelle, John McEuen, and others.  In 1976, after a brief detour in the Black Hills of South Dakota, EP and David started a band called Sunday River.  I joined shortly after on mandolin.


EP worked at Ferretta Music at 82 S. Broadway in Denver, while we did gigs with "David Ferretta and the Sunday River Bluegrass Show".  We even cut an LP record on the Biscuit City Label called, "You Can Dress 'Em Up, But You Can't take 'Em Out".


In 1977, along with our pals Ernie Martinez and Hagan Day, EP and I started a country band called Silverball.  Much like he taught himself the banjo, EP now taught himself how to play the steel guitar.  Once again, we found ourselves kinda popular, especially EP!  And, we found out that we could make a modest living playing music! 


In 1979, after Ernie had left the band to teach his own self steel guitar and was replaced by G. Fred Swanson, Silverball took our first overseas tour to Hawaii and Guam.  There on Guam EP met Frances Aguon.  Frances made the trip back to Colorado with us and they were soon married and had a son, Christopher.  But that marriage did not last, and Frances and Chris moved back to Guam.


During the late ‘70s to early ‘80s EP also operated a recording studio out of the Global Village, a popular Denver coffee house.  There he had clients such as Hugh Moffett, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and an early version of the Bluegrass Patriots. 


In 1981, after a brief hiatus, Silverball re-branded and became "The Hollywood Rodeo Band", this time as five piece adding Rich Moore on bass.  Rich left HRB later that year and was replaced by Matthew "Blue" Clayton.  HRB recorded one LP record and four cassette albums (the preferred format of the time).


In 1988, through various HRB shows, EP met his ultimate best pal and soulmate, Amy Boudreau.  EP and Amy were married in 1992 and remained a couple for the rest of his life. 


The ‘90s brought HRB renewed popularity.  Now back to four-piece, HRB was recruited by the Department of Defense for their DOD/USO program.  HRB did 18 overseas tours, with EP as 'Unit Manager’.


In the late ‘90s, The Hollywood Rodeo Band rebranded again and became "High, Wide and Handsome", this time as three-piece, and ultimately released three CDs.


EP always had a recording studio in his home.  In 2004, he recorded the Bluegrass Patriots' CD "Springtime in the Rockies", which was picked up by Copper Creek Records.  This is an excellent CD and, in my opinion, one of EP's finest recording achievements.


In the early 2000s EP and Amy started to often travel to Hawaii to escape Colorado winters.  It was around this time that EP gained a fondness for Hawaiian Jazz Ukulele music.  Not surprisingly, he taught himself to play jazz ukulele and recorded four solo CDs. 


In the 2000s, EP and Amy started splitting their time between Hawaii and Colorado.  EP remained active in the studio, even up to the last week of his life.

There is always unfinished business in life and we always think we have more time than we really do.  EP was able to finish some unfinished business before he passed.  Back in the early 2000s, High, Wide and Handsome started a CD, but due to unexpected life events, it sat for 15 years.  EP and I were able to finally finish "Last Roundup" earlier this year.  Also, in 2017 EP released a 'Best of...’ CD from the old Hollywood Rodeo Band cassettes.  Both CDs represent some of EP’s finest work, both as a recording engineer and a performer. 

We miss ya, pal….

In memory of G. Fred Swanson, 

December 3, 1952 to December 19, 2009


Guy Frederick Swanson was born December 3, 1952, in Hollywood, Florida. His family lived in

Metarie, LA, and Memphis, TN before settling in St. Louis, MO. That's where he finished his

formal education.


He moved to Denver, CO in 1972. There he played electric guitar in a band called Smokehouse

with his brother Doug and longtime pal Gary Hoyt. It was also around this time that he met EP

Davis and Clarke Wright.


In 1977, along with Clarke and EP, he helped form The Hollywood Rodeo Band, which later became

High, Wide and Handsome. He played guitar and bass and was the lead singer.

From 1977 to 2009, HRB/HWH toured extensively in the western US and worldwide with DOD/USO tours. In that time, they produced two CDs, five cassette albums, two 45 rpm singles and one vinyl LP album. They performed for two US Presidents.

On 19 August 1992, Fred, (along with Clarke & EP) were awarded the United States Department of Defense Civilian Service Medal for their performances during Desert Shield/Storm.


Fred was employed for many years with the GAP and Old Navy stores along the front range and created many friendships with his coworkers.


He was an accomplished songwriter, musician, poet, historian and gardener and he loved to watch old western movies. A true St. Louis Cardinals fan!


Fred is survived by his mother, Carlene, brother Doug, sister Martha, niece Susan and nephews Derek and Stephen, dog Billie (who was adopted by a special friend), and Bosco.


He was a good friend, and this world will be a little less bright without him. We shall miss him.

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