For most of her adult life Purly’s been a professional musician, storyteller and Cowboy-gal-poet. A former elementary educator, Ms. Gates spent decades as an Artist-in-Residence in various corners of the world, using music to encourage young folks’ creativity, and teaching basic carpentry skills while making simple instruments from recycled and unusual materials.
Purly can occasionally be heard whistling with the birds or yodeling to Mona (the donkey) at her hill country hacienda in Driftwood, TX. Indeed, life at the ranch has inspired many songs and poems, in between homesteading occupations such as cabin building, tree cutting and organic gardening. She has indeed raised both grass lambs and—over the decades—quite a bit of heck while enjoying life on the land.
Some time ago Purly was the recipient of a coveted National Endowment for the Arts grant to work her musical magic in Micronesian schools. The Texas State Library commissioned her to write a theme song for their statewide Summer Reading Club for youth. And she was a finalist in the prestigious Kerrville (TX) New Folk Songwriting competition.
As a horse-crazy kid, Purly mucked stalls in exchange for riding time. Nowadays she’s flingin’ slightly different material. As a part-time raconteur, Purly has a tendency to indulge her spiritual connection to the wild women of the old west. In the words of Texas humorist Doc Blakely, “She’s a regular Calamity Jane reincarnate – only a lot more talented. And she’s a hoot!”