Meet Joni Harms, “Cowgirl Dreams” Singer

My guest today is country western singer Joni Harms. I first “met” Joni when my first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, was published. I searched the title and found that Joni had recorded an album, “Cowgirl Dreams,” which has since become one of my favorites to listen to while I’m writing.

As Joni says on her website, Country Music was once known as “Country & Western.” It was so called for a reason, of course, since that’s where listeners found songs by such greats as Marty Robbins, Patsy Montana, Tex Ritter and Gene Autry — artists who favored the “western” sounds and values. Somewhere along the way, the “Western” was dropped and, over the past decade, the Country Music Industry has increasingly focused on the more 70s and 80s pop flavored sounds in an effort to attract a younger audience.

“The majority of the songs include lyrics of the west, because I love to write about things I’ve experienced,” Joni says. “Rodeo, cowboys and the ranch way of living shows through a lot in my music.”

Harms has been praised for her pure country voice since she signed her first record deal with the famed producer Jimmy Bowen for Capitol in the early 1990s. After that Harms moved to on to her celebrated “Cowgirl Dreams” (1999 / Warner Western).

I recently visited with Joni as she traveled the concert circuit.

Joni, when did you know you wanted to be a country singer?

I knew I wanted to be a cowgirl singer ever since I was a little girl. I used to go out and ride my horse and write and sing my songs to her when I was only 5 or 6 years old.  Always was a good listener!  : – )

Who are some of the western musicians who have influenced you?

Emmy Lou Harris, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and Buck Owens.

What was the first song you recorded? And your first album?

“You’re My Blanket” from my first CD titled “Thoughts Of You.”

How has your music evolved since you started?

I think/hope my song writing skills have improved and that my story content is more interesting from all of my travels.

You’ve done several albums over the years. One of them is “Let’s Put The Western Back In The Country” (Wildcatter Records). Tell us about the philosophy behind this title.

I have recorded 10 CDs and I am working on finishing #11 right now. “Let’s Put The Western Back In The Country” was CD #9 but the title still totally sums up what I am trying to do — keep western music available to those of us who still love it and want to hear it!  I personally can’t live without Western music. I like a lot of today’s country music, but the truth of the matter is that I’m very serious about keeping the western side of country music alive.

View Joni’s Performance Video:
Let’s Put Western Back In The Country from Joni Harms on Vimeo.
In 2003, Harms was named Female Vocalist of the Year and accepted the award for Song of the Year from the Western Music Association. She is also a multiple winner of Academy of Western Artists Awards, including the top honor of Entertainer of the Year for 2002, and she continues building audiences through appearances on the famed Grand Ole Opry and a recent stint at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Harms lives in Oregon with her family on a ranch that was homesteaded by her great, great grandfather in 1870. They raise quarter horses and Christmas trees.

Joni has also written children’s books, The Little Grey Donkey and Stan and Burt, based on a song from the CD “Are We There Yet?”

Check out Joni’s website and her CDs at

Her upcoming events include a Christmas show in Slayton, Oregon, a Cowboy Gathering in Monterey, CA, and the Denver Market Show in January.

Published in: on December 2, 2010 at 1:54 am  Comments (10)  
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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great interview, you two. Joni has a lovely voice and I like her music.

    Writers of the West

  2. Joni harms has the greatest Country and Western Sound since
    Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys,Patsy Monttaner
    Dale Evens .but to me I’d rather she sang Ballads as much as she’s a professional singer songwriter I still think her ballad singing has got to be the greatest since Patsy Cline,I should know she’s my friend and I have all her albums,listen to her Canby accent when she takes a song and sorts it out how many singer songwriters can do that!!!!’
    I’ve been Round Country and Western Music.since 1949.
    Family friends of the late Gentleman Jim Reeves Family,and Mary his late Wife,Faron Young,Patsy Clines mom,Kitty Wells.hering Joni first Album quickly changed my taste to go back to Traditional CWM
    Joni goes all over the world,I love listening and seeing her on Face Book.not only can she sing but she can do anything with. Horse, toss a bail of hey over her shoulder,she is number one in the field of Country and Western Music,
    Her band Harms Way,wow they can entertain me anytime great sound of steel,fiddle.i would walk to the end of the world just to seeJoni Harms.
    I’ve had her music over hear in Great Britain on Manx Radio Station
    Isle of Man Cool country, David Callister D J, Bryan Chalker ex country singer,from Bath in Summerset UK. I come from Crosby,Livetpool. UK
    As a hobby a promote there music with the DJs I know.
    Joni works long hours,has a ranch to run and her music
    I think Joni Harms ans Harms Way.should be Inducted intobThe Hall -Of Fame,in Nashville,Tennessee ,David Markham

  3. Joni has done her new album,From Oregon to Ireland.UKGB.
    Beautiful album ,beautiful played,sung with the Shearing Family from Ireland,Buy it and you won’t regret it,I told you 2013 Joni Harms ,
    She’s onto a winner.I’ve had her albums over the Pond since last year.
    Her beautiful daughter Olivia ,just like mom a fantastic ,but beautiful voice.
    I can’t understand why country to day is not done ,the way Joni and Harms Way play it.
    I wish her and children lot of good health and happiness.
    Her friend since,2013.

  4. Joni.
    I miss you very much,and Olivia,My Luke .
    David Country music,

  5. Well listening once again to my Olivia and looking just like Mother.
    She’s doing a fine job Thanks to her hard work,long hours .
    God Bless My Olivia .

  6. We’ll hear I am again looking forward to hearing my Joni and the
    Sheering Family entertain you once again ,she’s flown into day that’s how much she loves her second home as far as I’m concerned she does.
    I look forward to talking to you once again when your home,
    Country and Western Fan of Joni Harms and Harms Way,
    Joni love to Olivia,My Luke,
    David .friend . Safe trip home to your Love ones.

  7. Joni Harms has just finished her UK tour and loved The North West of England.and had a ball of a time,lots of traverling but love all the local fans .shes planning to come back 2017 . That says a lot for the Fans in the North West,
    I couldn’t get to see her as it would have been to much,to catch her up,
    Know sooner one Gig then bed then another Gig,
    But god willing in 2017 I’ll get to meet her ,I want to Thank You Heidi for the use of your comment page,
    Happy New Year To You.
    David Markham.
    Country Music
    Promoter UKGB
    Joni take care good for the both of us to connect up again today may the good Lord above look after you ,your two lovely children,
    Olivia,My Luke.

  8. David ,Joni’s friend still as close as ever now with her daughter Olivia,
    Like mom she’s on the road her self,I’m very lucky having two beautiful ladies in my life and my sweet wife of 51 years ha Joni sent me a Easter Wish to my Wife Dot and my self April 14th 2017.
    You know you can’t help but love Joni and her children,I’ve been with them close on 7, yrs . I hope are life will just keep going good .
    I hope all you Friends and Joni and Olivia Fans our voiting for her like mom.
    Well Ya,ll have a sweet and happy Easter ,Good Friday,while I listen to the best country voice in Heaven ” THE VOICE” VERN GOSDIN.
    BLESS ALL YOU Canby Fans,Friends to the Harms,
    Love you Joni,Olivia ,Regards to you young Luke
    David family friend from,Livrrpool,England .Joni is off to on a uk tour next month.may/June 2017
    David Markham.
    Country Music,
    Promoter UK EU,USA,NZ NSW Germany Switzerland,Austria .

  9. Hi all,hear once again listning to mom Joni and Daughter Olivia,at the moment there both in ,France ,September.7th.2017. Joni is mad busy that’s the way she likes it ,I do my best to try and stay close to the both of them!!! I’d love to meet the both of them,but running a Ranch,flying all over the world must be hard work!! I know she loves it,ha ha ha .
    Anyway one day we’ll meet up the trail.
    Nice talking with you all,as any readers seen Joni’s ranch with Christmas trees,that’s another busy job in the rain,snow,
    It keeps her young,pretty ,Olivia ,she’s like mom,Luke,he’s not around much,
    Thank you all.God Bless The Folks from,Canby,Oregon USA and America ,
    Country Music
    Promoter UKGB
    Love all of you out there,

    • I’m glad Joni is still busy with her music and France sounds wonderful!

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