OA: GJ-bound Riders in the Sky still going strong

Yippie-i-o, yippie-i-a, Riders in the Sky are about ready to saddle up and ride into Grand Junction to perform comedy and Western music at the Avalon Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 20.

Guitarist Ranger Doug, 62, has spent half of his life performing cowboy songs with Riders in the Sky.

He didn’t think that would happen, he said.

At some point, he thought people would lose interest in cowboys and the music of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.

But “this is the busiest year on the road we’ve had in years,” Doug said.

Riders in the Sky feel an obligation to keep the Western music alive, he said.

“I suppose it was just stuff we grew up with, it reminds us of being a kid,” he said.

The cowboy quartet has won two Grammy Awards for “Best Musical Album for Children” for their two Disney soundtracks. They’ve Performed in all 50 states, in 10 countries and at venues such as Carnegie Hall and county fairs.

Doug has kept track of the exact number of concerts the group has performed in its 31 years. A concert in Oklahoma last week was concert No. 5,652.

Doug started keeping track “for tax purposes” he said, before the group began incorporating the number into its skits.

After thousands of performances, fresh material isn’t too much of a challenge, Doug said.
Riders in the Sky still writes new songs and has two CDs’ worth ready to be recorded.

Current projects for Doug, Too Slim the upright bassist, lead singer Woody Paul “King of the Cowboy Fiddlers” and Joey the accordionist include more music for Disney and commercials for YellaWood as the official spokespeople.

Check out the band’s biography and samples of music at http://www.ridersinthesky.com.


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