GREENVILLE — For 33 years, members of Riders In The Sky have been thrilling audiences worldwide with their unique brand of C&W (Comedy & Western) and on Sept. 6 they will bring their act to the stage of Greenville Performing Arts Center.
The four-man band has appeared at venues as varied as the Nashville National Guard Armory and Carnegie Hall; from countless county fairs to the the Hollywood Bowl. They have appeared repeatedly on television specials, documentaries and variety shows and even once lit up the small screen as animated characters in a Daffy Duck cartoon.
In 2001 the band won its first Grammy Award for its album “Woody’s Round Up,” which was featured in the film “Toy Story 2.”
The band’s accolades seem endless and are recounted in detail at their website, www.ridersinthesky.com.
According to Greenville Area Community Center Director Paul Temerowski, the center first tried to book Riders In The Sky six years ago.
“At that time, the group’s tour was not in the Greenville area during the time frame we were looking to present the group,” Temerowski said. “The scheduling of an Ash Cultural Event needs to mesh with the schedule of the Greenville High School Performing Arts Center, and not interfere with any student activities. Typically, early September works well as students are just returning from summer break.”
Temerowski added the band fits nicely into the “family friendly” format of all Ash Cultural Events.
“As a major component of any event chosen for an Ash Cultural Event the show needs to be family friendly and geared toward audience participation,” Temerowski said. “Riders In The Sky certainly are these and more.”
The band’s blend of delightful music and comedy is sure to delight “cowboys and cowgirls” of all ages, regardless of musical tastes.
Tickets are currently on sale and according to organizers, selling well. Cost is $12 before Aug. 24 and $15 after that date and are available by calling the center at (616) 754-9163.
The contributions of the Ash Foundation, Temerowski said, helps bring shows of this caliber to the area at a price most can afford.
“I do anticipate a full house,” Temerowski said. “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,” Temerowski said.
The band is unique among most musical acts in that its membership has remained the same for its entire 33 year history. Riders In The Sky is comprised of guitarist “Ranger” Doug, accordionist Joey “The CowPolka King,” Woody Paul, “King of the Cowboy Fiddlers,” and upright bassist Too Slim, also known as the “sharpest wit in the West.”
One might think that 33 years of life on the road with the same four guys would get old fast. That’s not the case, however, according to Ranger Doug.
“How can it possibly be still fresh and fun for us and our audiences?” Doug said. “I don’t know, but it is, and that’s why we keep driving the herd up and down the twisting trails of this beautiful Western landscape of wacky imagination and cowboy music.
“This is a band that loves music and entertaining folks and just plain likes to play.”
The Sept. 6 show at the Greenville High School Performing Arts Center will get under way at 7 p.m.