Tom Lubnau: Catching Up With Michael DeGreve

Columnist Tom Lubnau writes, "Losing Michael DeGreve at the Hitching Post was a great loss to Wyoming’s history and culture. Now, we have an opportunity to hear Michael again as his first professional recording is being reissued."

Tom Lubnau

June 26, 20245 min read

Lubnau head 2
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

For 30 years, Michael DeGreve entertained folks in the lobby bar of the Hitching Post Inn. That part of our history is gone, but we have a unique opportunity to hear Michael, again.

Michael grew up in Los Angeles. He was an outstanding high school basketball player for Verdugo Hills who had dreams of playing professional basketball. He signed a national letter of intent with Colorado State University, and spent a summer in Ft. Collins training. Ft. Collins was not in Michael’s destiny, so he returned back to Los Angelos.

He quit his job as a reporter in training at the Los Angeles Times, and pursued his dream of making music.  

Michael spent years in the Los Angeles music scene, making friends with many of the great musicians of the early 1970’s.

In June of 1977, his agent, Edna Whiting, called and asked if he was interested in a two-week engagement in Cheyenne at the Hitching Post Inn. Paul Smith, the visionary owner of the Hitching Post was developing his lobby lounge, and he was looking entertainers to draw folks to his new addition to the Hitching Post.

The Hitching Post, at that time, was the de facto state capitol. Most of the legislators and many of the lobbyists lived at the Hitching Post during session. Major legislation was drafted inside the halls of the old classic hotel.

Michael thought, “What the hell? I can go play for two weeks and visit my friend in Colorado.”  So, Michael loaded up his VW bus for a two-week summer gig in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Sometime during the two weeks, Paul Smith asked Michael if he’d be interested in sticking around for a while. Paul and Michael agreed to an open-ended handshake engagement – one that lasted thirty years.

Six nights a week, Michael would serenade folks in the lobby bar of the Hitching Post. Sitting in front of a painting of the Grand Canyon in the lobby, Michael entertained Governors, movie stars, legislators, hotel guests, Cheyenne residents and political dignitaries from all over the world.

His mix of folk, blues, rock and country always entertained his audiences.

Sometime in the early 1980’s my friend Tamara Smith said, “Let’s go to the Hitch and hear Michael DeGreve.” I had no idea who or what Tamara was talking about, but I went, and I was hooked for another 25 years.

Every time I found myself in Cheyenne, I made time to have a drink in the lobby bar and listen to Micheal’s unique mix of music and wisdom.

He always ended the show with this toast (the toast has been modified somewhat for publication): 

All good things to all good people. Peace, love, hope, sports, music, Hare Krishna, beads, bells incense, Mork and Mindy, Nanu Nanu, Sesame Street, Cookie Monster, basketball, sunshine, golf, pro-football season and all the lovely ladies. Ssolar power, Oscar the Grouch, fireplaces, muzzling, muggling, snuggling, Soaps, summer time, pretty guitars, my pretty house out in the country (except for dirt roads and the wind), Harley Davidson, satellite dishes, Hawaii, my recording studio, my new album, the Wyoming Cowboys, LA Lakers, Alf, aerobics, hot tubs and trees, not only that but Love -- Michael.

After Paul Smith passed from cancer, the Hitching Post fell into disrepair. The toasts in the lobby bar of the Hitch ended. Michael left for more stable pastures in Las Vegas. Arsonists ultimate burned the Hitching Post, and its history, down. Thus ended a very special Wyoming tradition. 

Michael found himself, for ten years, in Las Vegas, Nevada. He had a residency at the Mt. Charleston Lodge, where he entertained.

A few years later, Michael left for Oregon. After he left, the Mt. Charleston Lodge and its history burned down.

This time, the cause was accidental. Neither of the fires had anything to do with Michael, other than destroying the historic venues where he played. 

Michael now finds himself in southern Oregon. He has been battling cancer for the last couple of years, but by all accounts, he is doing pretty well considering.

Now, we have a few unique opportunities to hear Michael again. 

Michael’s first professional recording, made in 1970, The Truth, is being reissued on Sundazed Records. The recording is available on both vinyl and CD, as well as on all the major streaming platforms. The album can be found here and here

Michael is working with Sundazed to handle another record, Gypsy’s Lament, which was recorded with Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash and Randy Meisner of Eagles Fame.

Soon, that classic record will be uploaded so those of us who live in the digital world, can listen to it.

Additionally, Michael is working to launch a Youtube channel, where he will do shows online, including the Hitching Post show.

For now, if you want to keep up with Michael, visit his Facebook Page for developments.

All things change, but losing Michael DeGreve at the Hitching Post was a great loss to Wyoming’s history and culture. These new digital releases give us a chance to recapture some of those magical times in the lobby of the Hitch.

Tom Lubnau served in the Wyoming Legislature from 2005 - 2015 and is a former Speaker of the House. He can be reached at:

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Tom Lubnau