No joke. Scott Gerber is really a Jew
, really a cowboy
, and really does sing
Scott sings the songs his mother and bubbe (grandmother) taught him when he was growing up. Some are Yiddish folksongs, others are left-wing ballads about overcoming obstacles. His family came from the Ukraine, Belarus and Poland many generations ago, bringing with them the songs of their homeland--but not the religion.
Scott sees himself as his family saw themselves--as Jews, but through traditions, not religion. Scott didn't even know there was really a religion connected to it until he was a teenager. Those traditions continued through the family and ended in Scott--singing the folksongs of his family---with a few country songs of his own.
His family was part of a mass exodus of Jews from Eastern Europe who, in the late 1800's made their way to Petaluma, California--a bit south of Sonoma and a bit north of San Francisco. They were able to own land and farm it--something most were banned from doing in the "old country." Petaluma came to be known as the "Eggbasket of America" for the huge numbers of eggs the Jewish chicken farmers put out.
Scott decided not to become a chicken farmer and roamed around texas and Oklahoma as a ranchhand, finally returning to Petaluma to raise and herd cattle with his daughter and two border collies. He also decided to pass on the traditions to his daughter.
Due to the fact that the numbers of Yiddish speakers are diminishing day by day Scott sings the Yiddish songs both in Yiddish and English--allowing the meaning and power of songs like Bin Ick Mir Shneideril (I Am A Tailor) and the Holocaust song Zog Nit Keynmol (Don't Say Never) to move everyone.
Scott Gerber was recently featured in the documentary "Song of the Jewish Cowboy" now making the rounds at Jewish Film festivals around the country.