Fan Mail


This is your chance to tell your stories about the Balladeer, or just to tell everyone why you like his music and performances, or about a favorite song.  To add your comments, please send us an email. Either tell us it’s okay to post your name, or give us a nickname to use instead.  If we feel there’s a need to edit, we’ll check with you first.

If we missed getting one of your great messages posted, please don’t be shy about telling us.

From Dolan Ellis

This one HAD to go ahead of the rest.  The photo was taken Thanksgiving, 2002, so the younger Dolan has grown up quite a bit.  Grandpa is very proud of his namesake, who is also a musician (a drummer)

Dear Grandpa Dolan,

I just wanted the world to know that I love you very much!

So please post this on your page.

Love Always,

your grandson,

Dolan Ellis:-)

From Pearl & Jim, Two Devoted Fans from way back when: We first saw Dolan before he became Arizona’s official balladeer and before the Christy Minstrel days. He was performing at a coffee house in Scottsdale – I believe the year was way back in the early 60’s.

From Joan Hayden: We have been fans of Dolan’s since the “60’s. Favorite song …”Early Morning Rain”

From Elaine Simpson: We live in Ontario Canada, but spend the winter in Tucson. Since becoming familiar with The Arizona Folklore Preserve back in 1998 we continue to attend at least one, if not more concerts throughout the winter months. We make a special note of taking our Canadian visitors over to Sierra Vista to hear Dolan and he is definitely on the “must see” list for visitors. Because of Dolan we have now been attending the annual Cowboy Gathering, including a visit to the Folklore Preserve that weekend.

From JoAnn and John Revak: We have always enjoyed Dolan’s music. I am a lifelong Arizonan and have been very aware of Dolan Ellis’s past.

From Ray Herman: I hope I’m around as long as Dolan is still singing. I first met Dolan when I was a grad student at ASU between 1964 and 1968. I can still remember how excited I was at seeing Dolan perform in Scottsdale at the now gone Safari Hotel. Years later, I fulfilled my dream of returning to Arizona to retire as Dolan’s music helped me realize what a great and wonderful State we have. A few years back, I bought a tiny cabin in Lakeside-Pinetop and when I heard that Dolan was performing in Showlow, I made a point of speaking with Dolan. It was like turning back the clock almost 30 years. Dolan and Arizona belong in the same breath.

From Rose Marie Heidrick: (Note: Rose Marie has been companion to the great and legendary musician, Travis Edmonson, for almost 20 years. Dolan lists Travis as one of his greatest influences, if not THE greatest, so this sincere compliment from Rose Marie means a lot to the Balladeer. What more does she need to say?):

Next to Travis I love Dolan most as a singer and entertainer.

From Jim Schuttenberg:

My wife Lynn and I and several of our friends have been Dolan Ellis fans since the very early 70s, when Dolan performed at various locations around the Phoenix area.

We remember eating at the Tuba City Truckstop. I remember ordering a hamburger with green chiles there (twice), and the kitchen ran out of green chiles both times.

Our son Doug, who was about five at the time, attended one of the first performances at which the Mogollon Monster appeared. The Monster came down into the audience and scared poor Doug half to death! After that, I understand that the MM stayed up on the stage and didn’t mingle with the audience.

One of my favorite memories is seeing pictures of the trips Dolan made to the Navajo reservation to distribute food and clothing to the folks up there during the winter.

We’ve also been to the Arizona Folklore Preserve a couple of times to see Dolan sing there.

From Audrey Wade (the “house” Audrey refers to is the Moffett House) : Dear Friends, Please keep my name on the list for the Balladeer Bulletin Board. I do enjoy hearing about Dolan Ellis’ activities, which are more exciting all the time. I’ve been a fan of his ever since the 70’s, when we first heard that he was the Official Balladeer for Arizona. I’m so happy that his dream of a great performing venue has come true – even though I did enjoy the “cozy” atmosphere of the house! I hope to take advantage of more of the opportunities to attend his programs.

From Geri & Rich Maggio: Please include us to receive info on Dolan Ellis as we are fans since 1980’s when we saw him perform at Rawhide. We would love to see him perform again and keep track of his career.

From Jim and Lorraine McGhee: We first heard Dolan sing at the Cowboy Music and Poetry Roundup in Safford, AZ a few years ago. Once we heard him sing “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” we were hooked. We bought his CD with that song, along with many more great ones, and have visited the Arizona Folklore Center at least six times in the past 2 years bringing as many friends with us from Safford that we can stuff in our car. Hope to see him again soon.

From Norma and Gus Laughman: Hi and thanks for the Balladeer Newsletter. Enjoyed it very much and hope to remain on your email list. Going to add our little note as to when we first saw Dolan perform. It was probably about 1975. Our son and wife were newly weds and had moved to the Phoenix-Scottsdale area and we went to visit them for a weekend. They had discovered Dolan who was performing at a hotel in the area. It might have been a Holiday Inn, but they were sure that we would enjoy his show and planned that event for us while there. Of course we did enjoy it very much and at a later date we along with our daughter and son-in-law returned for a visit and he was doing shows at another location and we all attended a show again. All bought records of course. (Before CD’s) We have followed his career through the news media since that time and had wanted to come to the preserve long ago and it just never worked out. Finally we set the October 2 date and were determined not to let anything interfere with those plans. Once again we were very entertained and happy that we finally made it. The performance was great as always and we were very impressed witht he Folklore Center and the grounds. Beautiful, so peaceful and relaxing. Now we are enjoying our new CDs, again beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing.

From Judy Drake of Phoenix (note: the subject of this message was: “Thanks for the Joy,” and when she responded to say we can use her name, she added these words to the Dolan Ellis praise: “I think it is wonderful the way he has dedicated his life to glorifying our state with his music)

Dear Dolan Ellis,

I just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed your Christmas show at the Kerr Cultural Center. I wasn’t sure I could even get my husband to agree to go, but he did and enjoyed it as much as I did. He’s a new fan now. My first encounter with Dolan Ellis was when Bud and Travis were performing at Portafino’s. I was about twelve years old at the time. My family was very impressed with your talent. Later my sister went to see you at the Embers. What a great time we had! (You even joined us at our table (probably because my sister was 17 and quite attractive). I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get similar reminiscences all the time. I just wanted to thank you for the moments of happiness. One other thing. My son says when he was in school, he wanted to be you. You have a unique talent and I hope you continue to share it for a long time to come.

From Ms. Georgia Williams of Yucca, Arizona (in a follow-up message Ms. Williams said she’s lived in Arizona since 1991 and until seeing Dolan on television she didn’t even know Arizona has a Balladeer. Her words: “How cool.”):

Dear Mr. Ellis,

While channel-surfing last evening (Wed., 12/29/04), I stumbled upon “Horizon”, and found Michael Grant quietly, as always, talking with a gentleman wearing a pristine white cowboy hat, colorful Indian-print vest, and holding a gorgeous 12-string guitar. I couldn’t wait to hear what the man and his guitar would sound like!!

The wait was more than worth it. I was amazed and impressed, and it felt so good to hear your style of music. Particularly enjoyed, “Ghost Riders in the Sky”!! The title of ” Arizona’s Official Balladeer” is certainly well-deserved.

Thanks for the music!

From Lorri Hibbert, Librarian at Coronado High School: I may be one of the earliest Dolan Ellis fans. I first saw him at Boboquivari in Scottsdale in 1961or 62. He’d play the 12 string and we’d drink almond chocolate. Good times.

From Jim Dundleson:

I saw you on TV-Channel 8 tonight. Your singing is wonderful: sincere, sensational, and sentimental.

I am 56 years old and grew up in the 60’s in Southern California singing in coffee houses along the coast. That was many years ago and far, far away. I brought my family to Arizona in 1977 and been here ever since. I still have my Guild D-40 on a stand in my family room and pick it from time-to-time…though not nearly as well as you play your 12-string Guild. My wife and I use to sing together; she passed away from cancer in 1998 at 47 years of age. My wife left me two beautiful kids, a son (31) and a daughter (28). Both love folk music. We had a sing-a-long on Christmas Eve as we have for many years…kind of a tradition. My son loves the New Christy Minstrels and a few years ago began to search Ebay to purchase your albums and songbooks.

From Frank & Anita Gallagher: Dolan, Thanks for a wonderfully entertaining evening Dec 11th at the Kerr Cultural Center. We listened to Tall Tales enroute to the concert, got a weeks worth of exercise popping up and down during the 12 Days of AZ Christmas at the concert, and drove home listening to Touch the Earth. Now we really like you Dolan, but that’s about all the Dolan Ellis one can take in an evening. Have a Merry Christmas.

From Reda (Reda is referring to the Lake Havasu City Storytelling Festival in February 2005:

What a pleasure it was to enjoy two days and two evenings listening to the Arizona State Ballader, Dolan Ellis.

I am a winter visitor from Colorado and learned a lot of new things about this great state through your beautiful words and music.

Thank you for coming, you certainly have a new, enthusiastic fan!

From Craig Senft, a longtime fan (“Electric Anthill” is available on Dolan’s “Touch the Earth” CD):

I first saw Dolan perform in the early 70’s when I was in Phoenix on business.. He was appearing at a hotel/restaurant on 7th Street. Hot Rod Hundley was in the audience. My associate thought we were in heaven – Hot Rod and Dolan on the same night!. I’ve long forgotten the name of the place. He hooked me on Arizona that night. I was a long-time “folk not rock” person so the music hit a particular chord inside of me.

A few years later my job moved me to Phoenix permanently. The first thing I did in ’77 after getting settled in, was to track down Dolan. We became regulars at the Truck stop and missed it terribly when it was gone. I guess we were part of the reason it closed, we would come order a round of drinks and stay until they threw us out! I have been looking for a turntable to replay some of the old albums we bought at the Truck Stop. One song I keep thinking about as I drive through Phoenix and the environs is “Electric Anthill”. How sad it has become so true.

From Gordon Adams,(Gordon is one of the most loyal of New Christy Minstrels fans. Gordon also helps a lot with the message board on the official site of Randy Sparks & the Minstrels ( Gordon has known Dolan for many years.

Hi Dolan,

It was wonderful seeing you in Queen Creek. It’s been a long time since SierraLand and the original New Christy Minstrel reunion. You’re looking good and sounding better than ever!

From Pete Freeman, Great Britain

Dad was introduced to Dolan back in the 70’s by a work colleague from PING golf equipment. My father first travelled to Phoenix in 1973 and following a successful meeting with Karsten Solheim, the founder of PING he came back to England to setup their UK operation. This lead to many return visits to Phoenix over the years, and lots more fond memories of Arizona. I remember him playing the records to us throughout our childhood, including some copies made to 8-track to play in the car, they were greatly loved then and we’re all looking forward to hearing them again. All of the vinyl LP’s have long passed to memory though and the new CD’s will be cherished.

From Terri LeClair (Terri is a lovely lady from the Sierra Vista area who makes several visits to the Arizona Folklore Preserve each year.  This letter is about her granddaughter, Tess.  Dolan was impressed that Tess knew the words to “Arizona, Through and Through,” and was able to sing along with him.)

Tess is eleven and comes out from Missouri to visit grandparents in the Summer.

A few years ago when Dolan wrote “Arizona” she and her brother, Jack, were at the AFP and just loved that song and continued to sing it. One of the “must do’s” when she visits is going to the AFP and this year Dolan was going to be singing so we put in a “special request” for that song! She was just thrilled when he sang it especially for her and then later when he posed for a picture with her, it just made her day! Thanks to Dolan for a special memory for Tess!

Gramie Terri LeClair

From Abby in Lagrange Park, IL


Seeing as it Thanksgiving I wanted to send off a note of gratitude to you…….

I am so lucky to have had parents who took me to your shows in Scottsdale in the seventies. I was just young girl back then but loved the shows and treasured my memories of your songs and my beloved “Tuba City Truckstop” tshirt! Even more so when we moved back to Illinois.My mother and sister have since moved back to the Tucson area and my husband I often visit enjoying beautful Arizona. We happened to be hiking through up and out the canyons in the Huachuca’s and I was singing him your songs alogn the way…”Electric Anthill” “Tuba City” “May the Road Rise up” and we even made our own song up called the “Huachuca Fly”. They seemed to be persistent on that hike and jerky dance also accompanies the lyrics!…. Anyway we walked out of the canyon via the Ramsey Canyon to find your Preserve just waiting for us to discover it! It was such an odd coincidence and ever since then we are back in the saddle following your wonderful music. My husband, mom and I saw your show at the preserve and my husband just loves you. And my mother plays “Wildfire” in the car and my niece sings along with her and knows all the words…..So thank you Dolan. You have 3 generations of fans in our family! And I cant tell you how much I appreciate your love for Arizona and preserving its stories through song – you keep me connected to those wonderful days exploring the desert as a child.

*My mother in law will be purchasing oodles of your CDs and DVDs for Christmas –  my husband and I I cant wait to get them!!!!

** We are convinced a song called the “Huachuca Fly” would be perfect for you to write!

Thank you again and take care!


(Mom-Nancy, Sister-Heather, Niece-Shallon, in Tucson send their thanks too)

From Frosty Taylor (Frosty and Dolan are old friends, from the time he was Off-Road Vehicle Coordinator for Arizona Game & Fish and Frosty was their publicist)

Dolan: what a pleasant surprise when one of the kids called and said, “Quick, turn on channel 8. Your ole buddy is on TV.”

My God, when you started strumming “Ghost Riders” it sure brought memories of you sitting in the GF office singing to Joy and me, along with some of the others

You are looking and sounding great.  You literally light up when you really get into your songs. What a joy to watch.

From Chuck Brillowsky: (This one goes WAY back, to the time before the New Christy Minstrels, when Dolan recorded the album on the Reprise label that helped to bring him to national attention.  Chuck has also sent some correspondence between him and Dolan from 1997.  Dolan’s message provided a great story about that album, so a special page has been created to make it available to anyone interested.)

Good job on Dolan’s website. I check in every couple of years to see what’s happening.

My exposure to Dolan’s music is pretty limited, going back to the 60s, when I was given a stack of radio station promotional 45s. One of them was “Joe Bean” b/w “Astigmata”, recorded be Dolan Ellis and the Inn Men. It was very influential in my developing a taste for humorous and novelty recordings, and was a favorite for many years.

Obviously, I’ve never forgotten those two songs, and I started looking for information about him as soon as I got internet access in the early 90s. Was delighted to find the official site in about 1997 or so, and exchanged a couple of emails, discussing the tunes on that 45. He gave me some background information on the tunes and mentioned the name of the album — Almost Authentic Folk Songs — on which they appeared. I’m not really a record collector, per se, but I hunted high and low for that album, eventually securing a very clean copy about 3 or 4 years ago.

I won’t pester him with an update, but you can tell him that I paid $32 for that little-known, oft-ignored record and that it’s near the top of my prized possessions. And it’s the most I’ve ever paid for any single recording on record or CD. I think he’d get a chuckle out of that….

From Naomi Bradley, a vivacious and interesting lady who finally got to one of Dolan’s AFP concerts last August (2006). She wrote this in June 2006.

Dear Dolan: I was at your Tuba City Place in Scottsdale with my sister and mother. We had a very enjoyable evening and enjoyed your performance. I bought two of your 33 records. which I enjoyed very much. I moved from California to Colorado. to Washington, to Tucson. I still have the records but my sound system disappeared in my last move. I have a great CD player and wonder if your music is available on CDs? I found your ad in the Tucson’s Folk Festival brochure. I had asked about you since I arrived here in 1999, but got no information until I went to the Festival this month. I would like to know if CDs are available and how much they would cost. I loved The Tuba City Truck Stop and the Electric Ant Hill. You wrote some mighty good songs.

From Becky Wilson (this message arrived in February 2006):

Hi My Name is Becky Wilson – It was Becky Vernon at one time. Being a part of the Vernon family brought you as part of my family too. Dolan was good friends of my In-Laws Cecil and Leona Vernon. I feel priveleged to have had Dolan sing “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” at my wedding (1978). – I still remember that so clearly. I remember that Dolan would have get togethers out in nature, I remember alot of Palo Verde trees or ironwood trees there and you all made biscuits from the tube, stretched and placed in hot oil, turned into small Fry Breads. I Loved Dolans songs so much and loved the slide shows and his campfire stage at his restaurant “Tuba City Truckstop”. “Camino Del Diablo” was one of my favorite songs. I loved singing “May the Road Rise Up To Greet You” (back then I knew it by heart). I still think of Dolan and Rose from time to time in my life and would like to say that I am glad that you were a part of my Life. I also get excited when I see Dolan on Channel 8

From Kim Pollard in Osceola, Arkansas (message sent May 2006):

Dear Dolan,
I remember seeing you preform back in the early 1980’s in or around Mesa, Arizona when we visited our grandparents. I believe it was around Christmas time and I loved your show. I had to be about 11 then. My brother has or had 2 of your records then. “Electric Anthill” was one of my favorite songs. I’m glad to see that your still wowing the crowds.

From Madeline Morrill of Scottsdale (this one actually arrived in late February 2006 as a 40th anniversary congratulations message, but I’m sure Madeline wouldn’t mind being listed here instead):

Dear Mr. Ellis,
Thank you so much for the way you make us feel out here in the audience. I haven’t lived in Arizona too awfully long but what I’ve been struck by this past year and a half is the great love and pride that many of the people here feel and express. I lived in Illinois for 48 years before coming here and I rarely felt that there. Both you and Marshall do such a wonderful job of preserving and spreading the word about the beauty of Arizona, it’s history, culture, people and of course the music. Thanks for entertaining us so well at the Kerr Statehood show and thanks to those who arranged the surprise party afterwards. I met some friendly people from Scotland who have come here every winter since the 1970’s and they catch your shows whenever they’re here. The music by Tim Wiedenkeller was the perfect way to end the evening. “Milagros” is so incredibly beautiful and I may have missed owning it if we hadn’t been invited to your surprise party. You and Marshall will just keep creating new fans and the old ones certainly aren’t going anywhere as long as they walk this earth. You’ll just have to start renting bigger halls to get us all inside.
Here’s to the next 40 years!

From Don Borus (we received this one in May 2007):

Dear Dolan,

Boy was I just surprised!!

On a whim, I just “googled” Dolan Ellis to see what would happen – 677,000 “hits” popped up!!

I’m thrilled that you are still the Official Arizona State Balladeer.

A little history. In the late 1960s through the early 80s, I spent considerable time traveling to Arizona from Michigan as a vehicle development engineer for General Motors. One of my co-workers convinced me to go see you at the Scottsdale Holiday Inn one evening after dinner. One show and I was hooked. After that one time, every trip to Phoenix included at least one excursion to wherever you were playing to hear your music, watch your slide shows and quaff a couple adult beverages. I also convinced others to accompany me and they were also candidates to become “sons of the desert.” Yes, I bought the LPs and played them for my two sons who really enjoyed the songs and even knew several of them by heart (probably a direct result of my playing them all the time, especially during those cold Michigan winters). The attached order is for some CD replacements since I can’t even find my old turntable (I still have the LPs, however!).

Do you still use slide presentations during your appearances? I didn’t know much about Arizona when I first visited your great state. Your pictures together with the history, geography, geology, horticulture, personal profiles and etc. you shared with the audience gave me a much better feel for the uniqueness of Arizona that prompted me to learn more on my own and vacation in Arizona to share the richness with my family. As a result of your shows, I even did a little research into the history of the Tucson, Cornelia and Gila Bend Railroad based on your song “T.E. Wiley’s Train.” A business associate and fellow Arizona traveler even rode the train and took several great photos of the operation that I still have. I may yet attempt to construct a train layout for my grandkids based on that theme—still seems like a good idea to me!!”

From Ted Davis (Ted is referring to a History Channel program. Watch for their series on The States to air from time to time):

Dear Mr. Ellis,

I was packing my mother’s things for a down sizing move when I ran across an album that you had signed to “Happy” Hubbs. It was your Touch the Earth album. Both my mother and I had no idea where the album had come from, except that we knew that it had to have come from my Nanny. You see, Happy Hubbs was my grandmother, Gladys Hubbs. Her nickname was Happy. I do not know how you knew her. She did own the Ideal Hotel in Flagstaff for a number of years. I am sad to say that it no longer exists except in my mother’s memories. Mom and I sat down and listened to your album and must say that we liked it very much. I’m sorry to say that we didn’t know who you were, until just the other day I had recorded a program on the United States and they were talking about Arizona. And who should appear on my TV but you!! My questions were answered as to who you were, but I am still puzzled as to how you knew my Nanny. I’m sure you don’t remember how you met her, or if you even still remember her. But I wanted to let you know that you have brought back many “happy” memories for both my Mom and I. The inscription reads: “To Happy Hubbs, come back soon to our beautiful Arizona!”

From Sue London, who finally got to an Arizona Folklore Preserve show by Dolan on August 26th, 2007 (Dolan even sang a little of “Scarlet Ribbons” for her, despite the fact that he didn’t remember much of the song).

Dolan Ellis,

That name has rang in my memories for some forty eight years now, especially with the words to “ Scarlet Ribbons “ . It was 1959, I was a senior in high school, my friends and I used to go to Portofineo’s on Sunday nights to hear you sing. A couple of years ago I googled and found your Arizona Foklore Preserve, and promised myself I was going to hear you sing again. Don’t know what took me so long to drive from Sun City to Rasmey Canyon, but I’m so glad I made the trip last weekend. The canyon is beautiful, seeing and hearing you sing again was even better than I had expected, you just get better. I put the Cds in the car and listen to“ Arizona I- 10 Highway “ on the way back to Sun City.
Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Sue London

From Tyler Buckley, now living in Las Vegas:

dear Dolanellis I have been a fan of yours since I was eight to ten years of age when you used to perform at tuba city truck stop in scottsdale and at rawhide a while back in the eighties and early ninties I live in vegas now and miss your shows and your music.

From Terry Stretch :


I became a fan of yours in the 1980’s while you operated the Tuba City Truck Stop & Country Club in Scottsdale, AZ. Each year, when we held our firm’s partners’ (likely not your regular crowd) meeting at the AZ Biltmore, I would take a few of my partners by the “country club & dive,” as I described it, to see if I wanted to become long-term friends with them. When you asked during each performance, “how many of you are ‘drag -ee’s’, all my possible-friends would salute. If, after the show, they did not want to return the next night, I just threw them back in the pond and went on looking for “more discerning friends.”

Please let me know your February schedule; if possible we will try to make you a part of the celebration as we “crack another beer, pop it into gear, and punch it up the other side in our therapeutic 4-wheel drive!” We will gladly come to Tucson if you are still doing shows at your home near there from time to time.

From Matt Wahrhaftig of Kettering, Ohio:

I just came across the Dolan Ellis website and was absolutely amazed. A friend of my family gave me a recording of Dolan when I was about 8 years old, and it quickly became one of my all time favorites. There was many a family trip that the soundtrack included Mogollon Monster, Early Morning Blue Therapeutic 4 -Wheel Drive (My all time favorite), and of course Camino del Diablo. I grew up in Pittsburgh PA, but was always a fan of the west, and found a special bond with his music. I think I probably wore a hole in that cassette tape, but time moves on and I grew up, and somewhere along the way the tape got lost. 30 years have passed, and many of the songs had faded from my memory, and I had completely forgotten the name of the gentleman who sang them. Yet I found myself singing snippets of what I could remember of Therapeutic 4-wheel drive to my kids.

From Gini Keating, who has been Dolan’s fan for many years and has introduced countless friends to his music.

“Dolan’s very own CHEMISTRY is unequalled anywhere. Once heard, he’s unforgettable, his fans are forever, lifelong. They tell everyone they meet, they bring any and all visitors possible, and with those not possible to bring live, they share his music through his CDs. There is no doubting their dedication and loyalty, and this is because of Dolan, his character, his talent, his music, his love of Arizona, his respect and admiration of everyone he meets along the way, no matter their station in life.

“Thank you, Dolan, doesn’t begin to describe how I feel to finally have a CD of that first “live recording” from so many years ago. Each time I put that cassette on to play, I asked the Lord to keep it safe so it wouldn’t break as I only had the one copy. Now you’ve done it over on a CD and I don’t have to worry anymore. “Thank you” just doesn’t say enough. The new and latest songs are fantastic. But the old ones are irreplaceable, so again I have to say thank you for doing the old ones over on CDs thereby preventing their loss.

“Dolan, thanks once again, for sharing your songs, your music, and yourself with all of us again. Because of your special CHEMISTRY, the world is so much a better place.”

Gini Keating

From Sharyn & Bill Stewart, who now reside in Florida:

We would love to subscribe to Dolan’s monthly email newsletter. For your information, we lived in Arizona for 23 years prior to moving to Florida. A job transfer brought us here. We are loyal fans of Dolan and when in Arizona went to many of his programs when he was in proximity to where we lived. When Dolan had his restaurant in Scottsdale, we were frequent visitors for dinner, followed by a night of entertainment. In fact, one night we were sitting in the audience when a thunderstorm brought tons of rain, collapsing a corner of the roof causing a gush of water to protrude upon us and several other tables of guest watching his program. Dolan didn’t miss a beat. He stopped his song for just a minute, made reference to the ghosts of the riders in the sky and was off again with a very entertaining evening. He met with all of us at the break, gave each of us an autographed tape of our choice and even ensured that we got front row seats for the second half of the show. Great memories. We had lost tack of Dolan after he left Rawhide and had been searching for his where a bouts for several years. Last year I retired and we traveled back to Arizona for a two month visit. It was during this visit that we found that Dolan now lives in Sierra Vista and were able to locate his Webb site. We are looking so forward to receiving his CD’s and playing them for all our friends here in Florida. There is only one Dolan Ellis. And we are so proud to have been a part of his past as he is an original of a style of music and the history of Arizona that will be remembered by many from our generation whom have been blessed by the pleasure Dolan has brought to each of us.

Thank you for your kind response and please pass on to Dolan that we miss him and thank him for all the wonderful memories he has brought to us over our life time. We are very excited to get the CD’s. Believe me, they will bring much joy for us over the remainder of our life time.

Sharyn and Bill Stewart

They added this a few days later:

Also, to add a little to my message below, we first heard Dolan back in 1975 at the Arizona Hospital Association Convention in Phoenix. At the time, I had just graduated from the University of Arizona and had just started my first job with St. Josephs Hospital located in Tucson. Our group was so impressed with Dolan that we hired him to perform at our Hospital picnic in Tucson one year later. He was a resounding success and our employees went away true fans of Dolan. We also have a picture somewhere in our achieves of Dolan signing a cast of our then 10 year old daughter at the picnic. She had broken her arm three days prior to the picnic and wouldn’t even let her school friends sign her cast. She thought that stuff was “weird”. However, after she heard and met Dolan at the picnic, he was the first to sign her cast. Oh are memories fun to think about and so warm to think about. Just a small reason why Dolan has been so entrenched in our thoughts over the years.

From the granddaughter of Tom Wiley, the subject of Dolan’s song, T.E. Wiley’s Train. Often when Dolan introduces the song he will talk about the little girl who waved as the train went by each day–that was Lisa.


I am the grand-daughter of Thomas Earl Wiley. The long time Conductor of
the T. C. & G.B. Rail Road in Ajo.
We lived on 10th street in Ajo (near the railroad tracks). I waited every
morning or my grandfather to go by on the train so that I could wave to him
on his way out of town.
My sister Ginger and I spent many hours on that train. Some of our fondest
memories with our grandfather. We would start the morning at 4:00 a.m. and
stop at the bakery for a jelly donut and a Dr. Pepper. I can still hear the
creaking of the wood in the caboose as it shook back and forth the squeaky
rails…good times.

Lisa Wooden (Wiley)

Dianne Johnson saw Dolan with the New Christy Minstrels in Scottsdale, and that prompted her to send this email:

What a great concert! I’ve been following your music since you were playing in Scottsdale back in the 60’s; been down to Ramsey Canyon for your show there. It’s great to see you continuing in a new (old) direction. Your voice is wonderful! And I don’t know how you could shake hands after all that strumming!

Best wishes from a 62-year-od groupie!

Dianne Johnson
Goodyear, AZ

From Art Yow of the San Francisco Bay Area. He and his wife, Claudia, met Dolan in Scottsdale last August (2007) when they attended the Trio Fantasy Camp, and again at the big bash for Travis Edmonson’s birthday on September 23rd. They flew in and stayed one night, just for the party. They arranged a jam session at the hotel the night before and helped tremendously with the party. Always devoted fans of Travis and the NCM, they are now friends to all:


What a pleasure it was to meet you at the Trio Fantasy Camp.

I was a stranger to you, so I was a bit intimidated, but your genuine and easy going nature quickly put me at ease.

I have been a long time fan of the New Christy Minstrels and still listen to your albums today.

Anyway, I want to thank you for your music and wish you all the best. Arizona has one outstanding musical ambassador!

Art Yow.

From Sue London, a fan from Portofino’s days. This is a gem, because she connected some dots. She told us the saying at the right actually was on a sign at the entrance to Portofino’s.


Thanks for including my request for “Many Cherry Canyon Boy.” The summer/Father’s Day show was a treat. I was so happy to be there for both shows that weekend. Just like the sin said, at the entry way of Portofino’s, back in the 50s, now I can say: “I knew Dolan Ellis when.” I used to read that sign as I was walking in, and wonder if I could really say that. Now I say it proudly.


sue london

Dolan Ellis Portofino's