Riders in The Sky to perform at ISU

By: 
ISU
Staff Writer

Riders in the Sky will perform at Idaho State University’s Stephens Performing Arts Center in the Joseph C. and Cheryl H. Jensen Grand Concert Hall on Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. as part of ISU’s “A Season of Note.”
Riders in The Sky, a classic cowboy quartet, have continued to revitalize the genre while remaining true to the integrity of Western music. They have themselves become modern-day icons through branding the genre with their own wacky humor and way-out Western wit encouraging fans to live life “The Cowboy Way.”           
They have been touring and playing together for more than 40 years.            
In addition to being inducted into the Grand Ol’ Opry, Riders in The Sky are in the Western Music Association’s Hall of Fame, The Country Music Foundation’s Walkway of Stars and the Walk of Western Stars along with Gene, Roy, John Wayne and other cowboy legends.
Along with two Grammy wins, Riders in The Sky have been the Western Music Association’s “Entertainers of the Year” six times and won “Traditional Album of the Year” multiple times.
About 40 years ago, Ranger Doug, Too Slim and the late Windy Bill Collins played that first date on the bitter cold evening of Nov. 11, 1977 at Herr Harry’s Frank N’ Stein Rathskeller in Nashville, and small listening room dates followed. By August of the following year demand was building, and while Windy Bill left, Woody Paul joined, and the true professional beginnings of the band began at the Kentucky State Fair, where the trio played 10 days for $2,500 – and bought their own rooms and meals out of that!
A first wave followed, including appearances on Austin City Limits; recording contracts with Rounder, then MCA, then Columbia; guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry leading to membership in 1982; and a three-year run on The Nashville Network with a TV show called “Tumbleweed Theater,” which yet in turn led to a seven-year run on public radio with “Riders Radio Theater. People Magazine, interested in the Riders phenomenon, ran a story, which caught the eye of a Hollywood producer.
And so the second wave broke, sending the boys to Hollywood to star in “Riders In The Sky” on CBS for a year on Saturday mornings, introducing them to yet another generation. More recordings, endless show dates, and television appearances followed for a decade before the fine folks at Pixar called and asked the quartet – by this time they had been joined by Joey the Cowpolka King – to sing a tune called “Woody’s Roundup” in the movie “Toy Story 2.” Thus, the third wave began, highlighted by a number of projects for Disney, including two albums, both of which won Grammy Awards!
The creation of satellite radio has recently given them a new platform, as they continue to produce episodes of the award winning “Classic Cowboy Corral” on Sirius/XM.
Prices are $26 for main seating and $22 for upper level sitting. Tickets are available at the ISU Box Office in the Stephens Performing Arts Center (1102 Sam Nixon Dr.), by phone at 282-3595, online at isu.edu/tickets or at Vickers Western Wear.
For more information on Riders in The Sky visit ridersinthesky.com.

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