• Group encourages young ‘buckaroos andbuckarettes’ to live ‘the Cowboy Way’
By Randi Somers
Homer Council on the Arts is bringing the well-known and beloved Country and Western performers, Riders in the Sky to Homer tomorrow, Sept. 27. Their performance starts at 7 p.m. at the Homer High School Mariner Theatre. A free performance (thanks to community support for HCOA) is slated that afternoon for elementary students, grades three through six.
According to their website, although CW usually stands for Country and Western, in their case, it’s “comedy and western.”
For more than 30 years, Riders In The Sky have been keepers of the flame, passed on by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, reviving and revitalizing the genre since 1977.
And while remaining true to the integrity of country and western music, they have become modern-day icons by branding the genre with their own wacky humor and way-out western wit. All along, they encourage young buckaroos and buckarettes to live life “The Cowboy Way.”
They play guitar, bass, violin and accordion, along with other instruments to accompany their singing.
Riders In The Sky are exceptional, not just in the sense that their music is of superlative standards, but also by the fact that their accomplishments are an exception to the rule as well.
Riders in the Sky is the only exclusively Western group to win a Grammy, and they have won two.
In 1982, Riders In The Sky became the first, and to date only, exclusively Western music artists to join the Grand Ol’ Opry, the longest running radio show in history. Thus began a love affair with radio as well.
In 1988, they recorded comedy skits for the album “Riders Radio Theatre,” which is often featured on NPRs “A Prairie Home Companion” and launched the long-running international weekly radio show of the same name on National Public Radio.
And keeping pace with the ever-changing technological landscape, in 2006 “Ranger Doug’s Classic Cowboy Corral” debuted on XM Satellite Radio and is still heard weekly on SiriusXM Channel 56.
Stage names of the Riders are: Ranger Doug (baritone and guitar), Joey (accordion) Woody Paul (fiddle, lead tenor vocals) and Too Slim on the stand-up bass.
Locally, they can be heard some Saturdays on KBBI’s “East of Adak,” a basically country and western show.
The group won Grammies for best musical albums twice, including their music for Toy Story 2. They have won the Western Music Association’s Entertainers of the Year award seven times.
Billboard Magazine writes, “One of the most historically significant acts in the history of American music!”
They have made over 5000 appearances in all 50 states and this is their first journey to the end of the road in Alaska.
Tickets are on sale at the Homer Book Store and Homer Council on the Arts at 355 W. Pioneer Ave or online at HomerArt.org. Tickets are $10 for youth, $20 HCOA members and $30 general admission.
What: Riders in the Sky
When: Thursday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m.
Where: Homer High Mariner Theatre
Tickets: $10, youth; $20 HCOA members, $30 general admission
More info: 235-4288
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