Riders in The Sky have been performing since 1977, the music they sing has been around forever (at least for my whole lifetime). Last night, I went to a show that was very different from what I usually go see. Last night, I saw a stage lined with armadillo, a small ‘Woody’ doll – you know, the character from Toy Story, and a ‘flaming fake fire.’ The artificial cactus plants which resembled fancy art work more than they did a cactus, completed the look. When you added four vocalists, accompanying themselves on guitar, bass, fiddle and accordion – it was perfect.
I don’t know how many of my readers are as old as I am. But the music I heard last night was the same music I woke up to on Saturday mornings during my childhood, when I parked myself in front of the television set and watched Roy Rogers Theater, or the Gene Autry Show. It was western music at its very best. And I loved being a part of that audience.
The show was at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville, Tenn. It’s a wonderful theater – the acoustics are so great that when these guys sang their encore, without the aid of microphones, it could be heard loud and clear throughout the entire auditorium. You’ve heard me talk about Niswonger before, and you will definitely be hearing me talk about it in the future. It’s the kind of place every small town in America needs.
The group members are Ranger Doug, guitar and baritone vocals; Too Slim, bass and tenor vocals; Woody Paul on Fiddle and tenor vocals; and Joey the Cowpolka King on accordion, and baritone vocals. They are the only exclusively western band to win a Grammy, and they won two of them. And the reason the Woody doll was on stage is because the group performed “Woody’s Round Up” in Toy Story 2, and they also won a Grammy for that one in 2001, for Best Musical Album for Children.
I can’t talk about this multi-talented group without mentioning their sense of humor, and the really funny comedy that becomes such an important part of their stage show. Last night was the first time I ever saw them perform – it won’t be my last. It was a great change of pace from the country concerts I usually go to. And I found out last night, that in this world of today’s ‘country’, ‘country-pop’, ‘country-rap’, ‘country-rock,’ and ‘classic country’ – there just isn’t enough ‘western’ music! Last night, I got western music!
Here are a few more pictures from the show, and after the show – when the guys were all gracious enough to come out and spend a little time with their fans, signing autographs and posing for pictures. Something that is always appreciated by the fans.
You can follow Riders in the Sky on Twitter @HarmonyRanch; and they have a facebook page, too – http://www.facebook.com/Saddlepals
Time to get ready for work. I hope you guys have a great Friday, and are making some fun plans for your weekend!