By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing editor
Monty Sasser received a 68th birthday present a day early on Friday afternoon as about 30 persons gathered in the Art Space studio in Tucumcari to launch his first effort as a recording artist.
Sasser, a truck driver with history as a rancher and a trucking firm owner, has sung for many years in bands and performed gospel music at church. It was as a gospel singer that Sasser came to the attention of Rick Haymaker, a Tucumcari musician and sound recordist.
Haymaker heard an “honesty” in Sasser’s voice, he said, that made Haymaker want to record Sasser. After a few recording sessions that went “as smooth as butter,” Haymaker said, Sasser had cut a CD of gospel tunes featuring his acoustic guitar and his rich, pure-country singing voice.
The new CD is called “Jesus Please Walk with Me.”
Haymaker also called on one of his business neighbors, muralist Doug Quarles to paint a cover. It features a cowboy kneeling in prayer next to his horse. The inspiration was the metal silhouette of a praying cowboy and his horse that motorists see on eastbound Interstate 40 on their way from Tucumcai to Amarillo.
The model was that scene imprinted on a guitar pick, Sasser said, as he produced the guitar pick that Quarles used. In the painting, however, Quarles used a mesa-strewn background rather than the flat-plains backdrop of the original silhouette.
Friday’s launch party was supposed to be two events. The second event was supposed to be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch Haymaker’s Tapestry of Sound music studio on Second Street in downtown Tucumcari, a few doors down from the Art Space gallery and studio. When key participants for that ceremony did not arrive, Haymaker focused all the attention on Sasser’s new release. The event featured burgers and hot dogs, plus snacks and desserts brought in by friends and family.
Aside from recording services and his own music, Haymaker offers guitar strings and other parts, and copying services that include converting music tapes and vinyl records into CDs.