Hillbilly-Music.com—The People. The Music. The History.
Carl (The Ranch Hand) Thurlo
Born:  August 26, 1933

About The Artist

Carl 'The Ranch Hand' Thurlo hails from Kingston, Oklahoma, a small town close to the Oklahoma, Texas border. But during his years of entertaining, Carl has crossed many borders including the vast ocean. He has appeared on country and western programs across the nation and overseas. He has recorded poems and songs on numerous labels and is heard on various radio programs around the world.

Since he was just a boy, Carl Thurlo enjoyed writing poems. Over the years he wrote a lot of poems and eventually turned some into songs. From time to time he would share a poem or song with a friend or at a gathering and that led to Carl becoming "The Ranch Hand."

"Imagine yourself sitting by a campfire in the company of cowboys, a fire softly crackling and lulling harmonica music floating in the air. And every ear is turned towards one cowboy who is telling a story that draws everyone in. ..."

That's the way some describe the transformation that takes place when Carl Thurlo shares his songs and poems. Carl is a cowboy poet and songwriter who performs as "The Ranch Hand." He is among those who have garnered national acclaim by receiving invitations to appear before the National Cowboy Poetry Society. He also is among those who have appeared at the Oklahoma Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

Attention from the National Cowboy Poetry Society came after Carl had recorded "Old Blaze" and "The Cowboy and the Lord" with Autumn Records out of Nashville. Producer Harvey Cooper sent a copy to the National Cowboy Poetry Society. Carl said they contacted his asking permission to use the recordings then called back and asked him to appear in person.

Since that time, Carl has covered many miles sharing his poems and songs. He works with the Little Dixie band out of Broken Bow and a Kingston based band called Deep Water. He also performs as the cowboy entertainer at the Red River Dude Ranch west of Marietta.

With his special blend of poetry and music, Carl transports listeners back in time to the days of the cowboy. He made his first record "Truck Driver's Hell" in 1960. Several of his songs have been recorded by artists including Janice Duffy, Christy McEntire and Dale Lay.

Carl has recorded his songs and poems on several record labels, including:

  • Juke Box America - Cleveland, Ohio
  • D-Jay Records - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Autumn Records - Nashville, Tennessee
  • G-M Records - Gladewater, Texas
  • Midland Productions - Nashville, Tennessee

Carl received the "Editor's Choice Award" in 1993 and 1994 for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry from the National Library of Poetry.

His fame is such that he was invited to appear in Poland as part of a program and was so well received, that he's received an invitation for a return engagement.

Carl's friend and co-entertainer, Dale Lay, also lives in Kingston. They get together from time to time, and do several benefit programs for senior citizens and others.

Carl says reciting his poetry is one of his favorite activities. When he recites, guitarist Keiller Park provides background music with a guitar.

Carl's poetry is described as having a lyrical quality. And, it requires emotion and feeling to project in recitations. Carl says he guesses he's lucky that he has a voice for recitation.

When he was a young fellow, Carl said he didn't have any plans for his poetry other than just writing for his own enjoyment. Now, as offers come to perform at all types of programs, he says he would like to make some royalties, but notes he also enjoys working benefits for senior citizens, school children and others.

As for the future, Carl refers to one of his poems, "Aim High" which ends with "Keep working and pushing with all my heart and soul, And when it's in His favor, I'll reach my goal."

Aim High
So many times I've almost been to paradise.
 Just over that next hill, fame and fortune lies.
With a stroke of luck I'll be on top,
 But for some strange reason I have to stop.
And when I stop, I seem to lose ground
 Or I walk in circles and get turned around.
Now as I get older I begin to understand,
 I can't get anywhere without His helping hand.
But, I'll keep on trying to get to the top of that hill,
 But I know I'll only succeed when it's His will.
So I'll keep working and pushing with all my heart and soul.
 And when it's in His favor, I'll reach my goal.
    —Carl Thurlo