The Tallgrass Prairie Reserve

The Tallgrass Prairie Reserve


Inspired by the likes of Old Crow Medicine Show and Bob Dylan, this new old times/folk style group from Kansas incorporates Ozark poetry and beautiful melodies.


Inspired by the likes of Old Crow Medicine Show and Bob Dylan, this new-old times/folk style group from Kansas incorporates Ozark poetry with beautiful melodies. The Tallgrass Prairie Reserve consists of Skyler Browning and David Gadberry.

Skyler Browning got his start into the music scene at age 15 playing drums with a small band from Spring Hill, KS known as At the End of Fall. Soon after the quick run of this group, he moved on to a larger audience. For a year and a half Browning played drums with one of Kansas City/Lawrence’s up-and-coming bands. The Walton Heist played venues such as, The Bottleneck, The Granada, and The Grand Emporium, sharing the stage with national touring acts. Browning then moved on. He began playing guitar with The Who Slumbers, a small group with little success from Omaha. Browning’s musical experience does not only come from rock music, but also from vocal and choral performance. This experience comes from conducting choirs at a high school level and singing in choirs at a college level. He is currently studying music education at the University of Kansas where he met the other half of the duo.

David Gadberry is currently a Ph.D. graduate student in music education at The University of Kansas. Previously, he was a music specialist at Brinker Elementary in Plano ISD, where he taught grades K-5. He completed certification in the Orff Approach at Southern Methodist University as well as completing Kodály certification with the Plano ISD Kodály Training Program. He served as pedagogy teacher assistant and folk music materials intern with the UNT/Plano ISD Kodály Training Program. Gadberry holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, OK. During his Master’s degree graduate studies, Gadberry served as a folk music graduate assistant and collected/transcribed folk songs and play parties. He has also served as the Kodály Educator's of Texas North Texas Representative and the Organization of American Kodály Educators national board as the Southern Division Representative, and is currently the Secretary for the OAKE Board of Directors as well as the OAKE Southern Division Web Master. Gadberry has presented workshops at the local, state, and national levels for groups such as Plano ISD, Kodály Educators of Texas, Texas Music Educators Association, Mississippi Music Educators Association, Oklahoma Kodály Educators, and the Green Country Orff Association.

The Tallgrass Prairie Reserve is the result of the collaboration between Skyler Browning and David Gadberry. Browning’s background in alternative rock and Gadberry’s knowledge in folk tunes lends this group the attitude of a rock band playing what could later become a new age of folk music.


Goin' Crazy

Written By: Skyler Browning

Walkin’ through the country side
With God on our backs.
Don’t know, but when we get there
We ain’t ever looking back.
God knows which way the cold wind blows
And our direction home,
But Lord knows that’s just not where I want to go.

Am I goin’ crazy, Lord?—
Am I goin’ fast?

Tick tock, the clock is makin’ its way.
The hands around the face.
Soon I will be blown away
And you won’t be far behind me.
God knows whatever I mean
With whatever I say.
Like which way the tower leans way o’er in Italy.

Am I goin’ crazy, Lord?—
Am I goin’ fast?

We find our souls in the big sticks tonight.
So much to die for,
Yet so little time.
When we walk through the country side
We leave our ghosts behind.
We don’t need them anymore
When God’s on our side.

Am I goin’ crazy, Lord?—
Am I going fast?

The Wallflower (adapted Ozark poem)

Written By: Mary Elizabeth Mahnkey

While the others whirled like hollyhocks
In their gaily colored little frocks,
She leaned against the cabin wall
And no one noticed her at all.
The fiddle sang, the banjo twanged,
And Wild Jim Jones his big fist banged
Upon the bench along the wall
Where he leaned to shout and call:
“How’ll you swap, how’ll you trade,
Your purty little gal for my old maid?”

Swing ‘em around, an’ doe-see-doe;
Swing ‘em around, an’ let ‘em go.
Swing ‘em around, an’ doe-see-doe;
Swing ‘em around, an’ let ‘em go.

She saw him smile as her danced by,
A mocking smile, with twinkling eye,
He was so tall, and dark and slim.
How ardently she worshipped him.

Swing ‘em around, an’ doe-see-doe;
Swing ‘em around, an’ let ‘em go.
Swing ‘em around, an’ doe-see-doe;
Swing ‘em around, an’ let ‘em go.

Girlish cries and laughter shrill;
The dance was done, the music still.
Her flower-like head bent lower and lower
‘Til she should not see cross the floor.
The man that she loved came to her side,
Leaned over as if to hide
Her loveliness from other eyes.
She stared at him in sweet surprise,
Amazed to hear him lightly say:
“I’m seein’ you home, les break away.”

Down by the Shoreline

Written By: Skyler Browning

Down by the shoreline
We find ourselves,
And under the shade tree
We find someone else.

Just open our senses
And smell the swells.
Even though years will pass us,
We’ll find ourselves—
Down by the shoreline.

The tide is rollin’
In at our feet.
The water just helps us
Relieve the heat.
Down by the shoreline.

Just open your eyes
And see the beauty.
Don’t blink or else you’ll miss
Our first kiss.

Two Dresses (adapted Ozark poem)

Written By: Mary Elizabeth Mahnkey

She had three dresses
But she’s got two,
For the plain little white one
Trimmed in bright blue
She cut into garments,
So tiny and small,
For her poor little baby
Comin’ this fall.

Poor little baby
God will forgive her.
Poor little baby
God will forgive her—
This fall.

The boy that she worshipped
Told her black lies
And ran off and left her
With tears in her eyes.
Poor little baby
With no name at all,
Maybe god will forgive her
And help her this fall.

I Can't

Written By: Skyler Browning

Then silence sets in
Just in time when life is thought.
This leaves absence in the mindless heart.

I can’t.
You’re kidding me aren’t you?
I am

Free verse enters a hopeful lust.
It’s longing for some simple trust.
An excelled mind leaves a broken society.
I only stand for great anxiety.

I can’t.
You’re kidding me aren’t you?
I am.

Call me what you will.
I have no name to you.
Beat around the bush you whore.
I don’t know what to think of your folklore.

I can’t.
You’re kidding me aren’t you?
I am.

I speak like I’m drunk,
When in fact I’m sober.
You snuck too close to stick your nose in brown,
But you’re the biggest cat around.
Call me when you need help.

I can’t.
You’re kidding me aren’t you?
I am


Currently recording.

Set List

We play original songs and occassionally spice up the mix with a couple covers, including Neil Young's Cortez the Killer etc...

Our sets usually last around an hour, but we could easily add or subtract time if needed.

The Wallflower
Down by the Shoreline
I Can't
Now Son
Two Dresses
The Miracle
Goin' Crazy