Musician wins national award for song he wrote about Old West figure Holliday

A musical project commissioned by a historic Glenwood Springs hotel has resonated with the Western Writers of America, which last week announced it was giving a Denver-area musician and author one of its 2009 Spur Awards.

Jon Chandler won the award for Best Song, for “Linwood,” a tribute to the final days of gunslinger Doc Holliday, who died and was buried in Glenwood Springs.

The song was one of 10 on the CD, “The Grand Dame of the Rockies — Songs of the Hotel Colorado and the Roaring Fork Valley,” which Chandler released last year.

In 1999, Western Writers of America also honored Chandler with a Spur Award for best first novel, for “The Spanish Peaks.”

Other Spur Awards have gone to writers such as Larry McMurtry and Tony Hillerman.

Chandler became interested in the Old West in high school, when he visited Tombstone, Ariz., where Holliday and Wyatt Earp gained fame in the bloody gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

In a news release, Chandler said the Old West “became my abiding passion, and Doc Holliday in particular exemplified my view of the frontier as being both lawless and noble.”

Chandler added, “This is only the second year the Spur has been awarded for Best Song, and with the possible exception of a Grammy, I can’t imagine a better validation of my efforts in the Western music genre.”

The hotel said in a news release, “The Hotel Colorado couldn’t be happier about Chandler’s success, and is grateful to see a song from their collaboration recognized on such a national level.”

Lu Stasko, who does public relations work for the hotel, said Chandler’s CD has special meaning for her family because of another song on it, “They Danced in the Courtyard.”

She said Chandler, who spent his 30th wedding anniversary at the hotel, wrote a fictional song envisioning a couple returning to the hotel for their 50th anniversary after honeymooning there.


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