ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Back now with DAY TO DAY, from the Opera House in Eureka, Nevada.

Madeleine, listen.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. RICHARD ELLOYAN (Songwriter): My name is Richard Elloyan, a homegrown Nevada songwriter.

CHADWICK: What does a Nevada songwriter write about?

Mr. ELLOYAN: I try to write as much, not so much about the physical aspects of being a cowboy, being a Westerner, as the hardships, overcoming the difficulties, that kind of thing. And of course, the good times.

CHADWICK: You're not actually a native Nevadan. You're from Boston, which is about as far east as you can get.

Mr. ELLOYAN: It is. I moved here to Virginia City, home of "Bonanza," when I was seven, which is quite a bit of difference from Boston. I went from, you know, millions of people to living on the side of a mountain with only 500 people. But it was always pretty inspirational for me to know that I got to walk on the very same sidewalks as Mark Twain. And it was always quite an influence with me.

CHADWICK: How did you get to be a poet and a songwriter and a cowboy singer?

Mr. ELLOYAN: Well, you know, I've always been a writer in one form or another. I've always either written poems or songs, and it - I wrote a lot of stuff trying to be commercial. And...

CHADWICK: Songs, you mean?

Mr. ELLOYAN: Yeah, trying to write songs, commercial songs, Western songs, country songs. I kind of got away from that, and I just started writing about the things I enjoyed. And from the moment I started doing that, I've actually been very busy.

CHADWICK: Here's one thing about being a singer and songwriter, performer in Nevada. You came over here to the Opera House in Eureka to perform tonight. How far did you drive for this gig?

Mr. ELLOYAN: Let me see. Three quarters of a tank of gas. About 250 miles, I think, which is pretty much a hop, skip and a jump in this state.

CHADWICK: Yeah. Are you composing songs when you're driving down the road like that?

Mr. ELLOYAN: Oh, that's what I do. I actually work for the state Health Department, so I drive a lot in my normal job, and I'm the guy that has the windows rolled up, who's talking to himself. And that's what I do, as I write. And the interesting thing about that is that I never put anything on paper until I'm done with it, until I've completely finished it, because I can sit and go over it and over it and over it and learn it by the time I get it to paper.

CHADWICK: You're not afraid you're going to forget it?

Mr. ELLOYAN: I haven't yet. It's kind of the wheat and the chaff thing is that I write a lot of things, but only the good survives. And that's the stuff I want to hold onto and the stuff that's not good goes away.

CHADWICK: Richard, play something good to go out on.

Mr. ELLOYAN: Sure. This is a song I wrote for this Opera House. I always wanted to kind of memorialize it and enjoyed playing it. And I imagine what it must have been like to come here to a concert, so this is a song that I wrote called "Eureka Saturday Night."

(Singing) It's an hour and a half, a washboard road to a dance on Saturday night. Mom and dad in bed, and the cows are fed and the moon's big and bright. Polish on her boots and a showgirl smile, a hint of French perfume. And every cowboy stops to catch his breath when Ruby walks in the room.

Oh, Ruby's got a thing for Texas swing, Bob Wills asleep at the wheel. If you don't want to dance, you don't have a chance against fiddle and a pedal steel. She's a darn good hand with a heart of gold. She could hold her own all right. She'll be the last one out there dancing when they finally turn out the lights.

And on Saturday night, the lights are bright in old Eureka, and the Opera House is full of buckaroos and senoritas. There's a line of dusty pick-up trucks from ranches all around. All things heat up on Main Street when the sun goes down. And there's a bit of blue sky in a cowboy's eyes and he's light as a feather on his feet.

Pardon me, ma'am, would you like to dance, sparks fly when he speaks. And it's around and around and they don't sit down when the band finally packs it up. But they just go on dancing, lost in a brand-new love.

And on Saturday night, the lights are bright in old Eureka. And the Opera House is full of buckaroos and senoritas. And there's a line of dusty pick-up trucks from ranches all around. All things heat up on Main Street when the sun goes down.

It's an hour and a half, a washboard road back home on Sunday morn. Ruby's got a smile from ear to ear, and there's dust cloud two miles long. She's looking forward to a-work to do. She's tired but that's okay. She's gonna be all right 'cause Saturday night is only a week away.

And on Saturday night, the lights are bright in old Eureka. And the Opera House is full of buckaroos and senoritas. There's a line of dusty pick-up trucks from ranches all around. All things heat up on Main Street when the sun goes down. All things heat up on Main Street when the sun goes down.

CHADWICK: Nevada singer and songwriter and poet Richard Elloyan. Thank you so much from DAY TO DAY.

Mr. ELLOYAN: You're welcome.

CHADWICK: And thank you to the Eureka Opera House and director Wally Cucine, and to Patty Peid(ph). And thank you to the very hospitable Owl Club Bar and Cafe. Especially, thank you, Lola.

In Eureka, Nevada, I'm Alex Chadwick with my DAY TO DAY colleagues Steve Proffitt and Leo Delacula(ph).

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And in Culver City, California, I'm Madeleine Brand.

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