LIVING WITH THE LAND: Songs of Ranch Life


Written and performed by Sarah Barchas (January 2005)


Cover Photo by Mark Barchas

Graphics design and layout by Elizabeth Gething

Production Manager: Roger King


HHM113D - Compact Disc with lyrics booklet - (ISBN:1-889686-19-0) - $15.98


Released in January 2005, "LIVING WITH THE LAND: Songs of Ranch Life" - Moving with her parents and siblings as a teenager from an urban life in Los Angeles to a rural life on a small family ranch, Sarah Barchas has developed deep feeling for the land and the ranching way of life during her 48 years of cattle ranching in southeast Arizona.  This exceptional CD of 14 original ranch songs evokes the essence and soul of family ranching.  The songs echo themes of love of open spaces, bonding with the animals as individuals, renewal of spirit in riding a horse, the need to live in harmony with nature, the gift of water to semi-arid desert lands, and throughout the sense of responsibility, commitment and connection to the land.


     Each song is memorable in its own way.  The round-up song, "Move 'em Along" is full of vitality and vibrant rhythm.  "Caballito" is a haunting bilingual song written while on horseback.  "Siempre Viva" is the true story of an unforgettable rescue.  The personality and history of the venerable "Granny Cow" in her unique ballad is a stand-out.  The ballad of "This Old House" portrays the 100-year old ranch house on the Brown Canyon Ranch now owned by the Forest Service in a land exchange preserved in an award-winning partnership between the Forest Service and charter high school with community help.  "Horses of My Dreams" with whimsical images evokes true individual and composite horses owned through the years. "Cows Make a Living" adds zest in humorous but true comparisons between bovines and humans.  "I'll Go Riding" speaks to caring for animals and habitat. The two rain songs evoke the southwest desert rangeland's greatest need.  "Windmill Song " etches vivid and memorable images yet also provides playfulness and fun in changing tempo. "If I Don't Take Care of the Land" is an eloquent call to the responsible use and stewardship of the land for the future.  "Living With the Land" in Prologue and Finale evokes with depth of feeling the carrying of heritage in values and traditions within a way of life from individuals across generations.


     This new distinctive collection of authentic ranch songs can connect directly with all who love animals and the outdoors, all who have had any experience living with the land, all who might dream of living with the land, all who care about the land for the present and future.  It is for all ages, from adult to child, ages 8 to 108, for families, schools, libraries, camps and conservation groups to share.  It is a sound recording that speaks from the heart.




True West Magazine Review by Sandy Whiting - (July/August, 2006, issue) - Toss another log on the campfire and relax a spell with 14 cowboy originals from Sarah Barchas. On "Living With the Land" she rounds up calves, birds and horses, along with a host of other range dwelling critters, to reveal the Earth's secrets. Listen while rain converges with streams to offer a special "Rain Prayer" to ease the pain of parched land. Barchas easily bridges minor and major keys while inserting fun lyrics exemplified by "Cows Make a Living". This CD will transport city dwellers to a life under the big sky and remind country folk why they stay close to the land.


Lon Austin - Singer / Songwriter and Organizer of the Phoenix Folk Traditions Music Festival. - Sarah Barchas is a teacher, humanitarian, rancher, and earth steward. She is one of those rare human beings who sees the universe in all its wonder.


Her new CD features songs of ranch life in southern Arizona. Sarah sings in both English and Spanish, catching the flavor of southwest border living. Her lyrical story songs run the gamut from the New Year's Eve hunt for the lost calf called "Siempre Viva" to the heartfelt "If I Don't Take Care Of The Land".


Unlike the blazing cowboy heroes of the 1950's western movie matinees, these are the real thing and are true stories of ranch life and living with the land.


Sandra Austin - Talent coordinator for the Phoenix Folk Traditions Music Festival. - "What a joy to have your new CD. I was honored to receive it. Great selections. It is top quality all the way around. Your voice is beautiful and clear, and the backup singers are terrific (animals included). The cover photo is precious. I will be sharing this work of love with my Grandchildren very soon."


Dennis Freeman - Storyteller - New River, AZ - “Living With The Landby singer/songwriter Sarah Barchas brings to mind the troubadour style of narrative storytelling riding on the chords of a traditionally strummed guitar, while some songs are enhanced by the harmonies of the De Colores Chorus. Sarah is a departure from the usual cowboy/ranching kind of music and yet her impassioned vocal delivery has a way of settling nicely into your ear and musical memory, like a saddle that sits just right.


The music grows on you with each listening, the melodies easy to enjoy. Sarah sings in a philosophical bent, a point of view that mirrors a life of long experience living on the land, caring for cattle, and knowing the vitality of the ranching lifestyle. Some songs are a prayer and praise for rain. Another remembers the courage and dignity of one of those special bovines that don’t come along every day, Granny Cow, an animal who bestows a fine line of descendants. Sarah is a keen observer of the spirit of the horse and the spiritual centering that comes from a good ride. She tells the heroic story of a lone calf who falls into a deep mine glory hole and the neighbors and friends who give their time to risk a deep descent into the darkness to retrieve the little heifer. And that’s just the beginning. Sarah Barchas’ lyrics reflect the Arizona-Mexico border area. Several songs are sung in a bilingual style, an honoring of the vaquero traditions.  Her rhythms have the spirited gait of the horse, the steady heartbeat of the windmill and the sentiment of true love and respect that she feels for the land, the land that nourishes her and provides the fountain for her music."



Sandy Hathaway - Singer / Songwriter / Performing Guitarist - - "Living with the Land" is a truly original album of songs that teach about life on the American ranch.  The album cover shows a picture of Sarah when she was 19 and displaying affection for ‘Little Granny’, daughter of Granny cow.  The song, ‘Granny Cow’ describes her love and affection for the animals that are a part of her everyday life.  "Living with the Land" expresses Sarah’s appreciation for nature.  Her own musical style is that of a storyteller and cowgirl singing in a traditional folk style. 


Of course there are lots of folk singers and lots of cowboys around who make recordings, but this one is special.  Sarah has captured a part of history that can only be shared by a female ranch hand who loves the land. 


The production is well crafted and I especially enjoyed The De Colores Chorus contribution and the farm animal sound effects.


If you are a teacher, parent, aunt or uncle, this is an excellent way to teach children about a way of life that they probably will never experience.   If you have never lived on a farm you can be transported through these heart felt songs about Living with the Land.  



Ted Ramirez of the Ronstadt-Ramirez Santa Cruz River Band - Singer /Songwriter / Musician / Performer -  To Sarah Barchas: " I’ve enjoyed your mixture of the Spanish and English languages in your songs, and the way you imparted life lessons in this personal and charming CD."



Dee Strickland Johnson (Buckshot Dot) - Poet, Author, Singer/Songwriter and Historian - I have thoroughly enjoyed Sarah Barchas's recording  "Living With the Land".  Its fourteen songs attest to the author's authenticity as a ranch woman. Each song tells a fascinating story of "living with the land" -- it¹s joys and its vicissitudes. Sarah sings in a sincere narrative style, telling her tales directly from the heart.


Several numbers show the Mexican influence of the proximity of a ranch so near the border. Caballito (Little Horse) and Siempre Viva the remarkable story of the mishap which befalls a little calf and her ultimate rescue, are two of these.


This Old House must wrench the heart of all who have lived and loved in such a place as Sarah describes therein. "Was there birth in his house? Was there death at this old house? . . . Was there drought? Was there rain? Was there joy? Was there pain?" O, how I can identify with those words! Nor is the album without humor: "Cows make a living in a bovine kind of way" and the delightful story of one special gancho named "Granny Cow" traces the lineage of the original "Granny" in a delightful recounting of the names of her many descendants.


The entire album speaks to the heart of the rancher and cowboy: The respect for the land and animals. The dependence on water-- the rain and the windmill. The closeness of family. "Living With the Land" is an excellent recording by one who tells it like it is -- because she¹s lived it!


There is nothing better than hearing Sarah except seeing Sarah perform in person.




01.  Living With the Land - Prologue                  2:12


02.  Move 'em Along                                            1:57


03.  Caballito                                                        6:05


04.  Rain Prayer                                                   2:09


05.  Siempre Viva                                                4.16


06.  Cows Make a Living                                    1:35


07.  Horses of My Dreams                                  2:19


08.  Rain is Falling                                               1:16


09.  Granny Cow                                                  4:28


10.  Windmill Song                                               2:14


11.  I'll Go Riding                                                  2:08


12.  If I Don't Take Care of the Land                  2:16


13.  This Old House                                             2:54


14.  Living With the Land - Finale                       5:11


Total run time             approximately 41minutes



Sound Recording (p) © 2005 Sarah Barchas DBA High Haven Music, ASCAP


Song Collection ©2005 High Haven Music, ASCAP


Cover Photo Illustration © 2005 High Haven Music


Orders can be placed and samples of the songs can be heard at CD BABY



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Rev 13.1 - Last Modified 10/12/15