BME and Kigalia Fine Arts season memberships will be honored, and tickets at the door will be available: Family $30, Adult $12, Student $6.
Utah Arts and Museums, along with the National Endowment for Arts, and the Western Arts Federation (WESTAF) are assisting in bringing this high intensity and exceptional team to Monticello.
For more than thirty years, Riders in the Sky has been keepers of the flame passed on by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, reviving and revitalizing the genre.
And while remaining true to the integrity of Western music, they have themselves become modern-day icons by branding the genre with their own legendary wacky humor and way-out Western wit.
Guitarist Ranger Doug, “Governor of the Great State of Rhythm,” sings lead and baritone vocals with an ever-present big grin and warm twinkle in his eyes.
A yodeler of breathtaking technique, he is also an award-winning Western music songwriter in his own right–and a distinguished music historian whose 2002 Vanderbilt University Press book “Singing in the Saddle” was the first comprehensive look at the singing cowboy phenomenon that swept the country in the 1930s.
Upright “bunkhouse” bassist Too Slim, easily the sharpest wit in the West, was, prior to the Riders, a janitor, industrial galvanizer, puppeteer, rumor-monger, hay stacker, burlesque show emcee, sportswriter, wildlife manager, and electric bassman.
Woody Paul, “King of the Cowboy Fiddlers,” sings lead and tenor vocals, and gained early experience in country-western music by hanging out with the likes of Roy Acuff.
When not dazzling Riders fans with his fiddle, he’s thrilling them with intricate rope tricks which he swears he’ll get right before his career is over.
Accordionist Joey, the CowPolka King, “plays both ends against the middle,” as they say, on his “stomach Steinway”. The master musician, who apprenticed with the late polka king Frank Yankovic and has recorded with everyone from Roy Rogers to U2, is also the Riders’ album producer.
Riders in the Sky are exceptional in that their music is of superlative standards (they are the ONLY exclusively Western artists to have won a Grammy, and Riders has won two).
That Riders in the Sky was even formed is a feat of improbable likelihood. What are the odds that a theoretical plasma physicist, a wildlife manager - galvanizer - Life Scout, an English major - shot putter - Bluegrass Boy, and a Polka Hall of Fame member would collectively become “America’s Favorite Cowboys?”
And even more unlikely is that 30-plus years later, the original members are still “bringing good beef to hungry people”!
As a classic cowboy quartet, the trail has led them to heights they could have never predicted. Riders have chalked up over 6,100 concert appearances in all 50 states and ten countries, appearing in venues everywhere from the Nashville National Guard Armory to Carnegie Hall, and from county fairs to the Hollywood Bowl.
Their cowboy charisma and comedic flair made them naturals for TV, and landed them their own weekly show on TNN, as well as a Saturday morning series on CBS. They have been guests on countless TV specials, documentaries and variety shows.
The animated character that history will most certainly link to Riders in the Sky is the loveable cowboy Woody, as Riders performed “Woody’s Round Up” in “Toy Story 2,” with the album of the same name garnering Riders their first Grammy Award in 2001 for “Best Musical Album for Children.”
Two years later, Riders roped their second Grammy in the same category, for “Monsters Inc. - Scream Factory Favorites,” the companion CD to Pixar’s award winning movie.
In 1982, Riders in the Sky became the first, and to date only, exclusively Western music artists to join the Grand Ole Opry, the longest running radio show in history.
In 1988, they recorded comedy skits for the album “Riders Radio Theatre” and launched the long-running international weekly radio show of the same name on public radio.
Riders in the Sky’s music and comedy delights cowboys and cowgirls of all ages, and from all walks of life. Riders are equally at ease amusing a theatre full of children as they are enthralling a symphony audience accompanied by 50 or 60 classically trained instrumentalists, or even an NCO club full of servicemen during a USO Tour.
In addition to being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, Riders is in the Western Music Association’s Hall of Fame, the Country Music Foundation’s Walkway of Stars, and the Walk of Western Stars.
Riders has been the Western Music Association’s “Entertainers Of the Year” seven times, and won “Traditional Group of the Year” and “Traditional Album of the Year” multiple times.
The Academy of Western Artists named them “Western Music Group of the Year” twice in five years, and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum has bestowed Riders with their Wrangler Award statuette three times.
It would be “The Easy Way” to call it a career after 30-plus years, but America’s Favorite Cowboys are ready to saddle up and ride into Monticello.