While using the term "country and western" to describe much of contemporary country music is woefully outdated, there remains a legendary exception to that rule: Riders in the Sky. The quartet, who celebrated 40 years of performing together at a special performance in
At the time of that first gig in 1977, at Nashville's Herr Harry's Frank N Steins, a fabled rathskeller below what is now a Catholic bookstore, the colorful western-attired group's original members were Ranger Doug Green (then "Deputy Doug") and Fred "Too Slim" LaBour along with Windy Bill Collins. Green and LaBour remain along with current members Paul "Woody Paul" Chrisman and Joseph Miskulin, a/k/a Joey the Cow-Polka King, who started performing with them in the late-Eighties. Ranger Doug is also a member of Western Swing band the Time Jumpers, featuring Vince Gill.
In a statement on the group's upcoming album and tour, bass player "Too Slim" invokes an unlikely comparison to the Rolling Stones, saying, "As we head out on our 40th Anniversary Tour, it feels like we're getting into Mick and Keith territory; a celebration of 40 years of laughing, singing, touring and living life 'The Cowboy Way.' But any cowpoke will tell you, it's not about looking back, it's about looking ahead and wondering what's over that next rise, that next mountain range, and we're looking ahead with… new music, a new T-shirt, and, I promise, a new joke. We're ready to hit the trail and I believe folks will discover that there is truly 'still a little snap in the old soup bone!'"
In addition to 40 Years The Cowboy Way, out early in 2018, the group will partner in several events to celebrate entering their fifth decade, with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Grand Ole Opry, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and more. Tour dates and more information are available at Riders in the Sky website.
40 Years The
"Old New Mexico"
"I've Cooked Everything"
"I've Got No Use for the Women"
"The Blue Juniata"
"Buffalo Gals/Bear Creek Hop"
"We're Burning Moonlight"
"Pigeon on the Gatepost/The Coleraine Jig"
"Press Along to the Big Corral"