Western Music Legends RIDERS IN THE SKY Celebrate 40 Years, 7,180 Concerts, Launch 40th Anniversary Tour and Announce New Album

Western Music Legends RIDERS IN THE SKY Celebrate 40 Years, 7,180 Concerts, Launch 40th Anniversary Tour and Announce New Album

“Following in the legendary boot prints of Gene Autry and the Sons of the Pioneers,

Riders in the Sky have kept alive one country music’s essential

— but too often forgotten — historical influences: the singing cowboy.
Beneath all the chap-slapping humor is something equally remarkable and
enjoyable: some seriously good musicianship that honors the ‘W’ in
 — Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan

“Hey. The band. Nice job.” —Tom Hanks

“I love what you guys are trying to do.” —Tony Bennett 

“They are a talented bunch of sidekicks and

any cowboy would be proud to ride with them.” — Gene Autry

“I’ve heard your records. You know what you’re doing.” — Randy Newman 

(Nashville, Tenn.) December 14, 2017 — GRAMMY-winning Western icons, Riders In The Sky 
—Ranger Doug, Too Slim, Woody Paul and Joey the CowPolka King —
celebrated 40 years of performing music together on November 12th at
Nashville’s City Winery.  That evening marked the legendary band’s
7,180th show and the 40th Anniversary of “The Never-Ending Trail Drive.”
At the show, the band announced the release of their 41st album — a
15-track collection called: ‘40 Years The Cowboy Way’ on their own
Riders Radio Records (release date forthcoming.)

In The Sky kicked off the “40 Years the Cowboy Way Tour” with songs
from their first performance, songs from their first album, and songs
from the forthcoming 40th anniversary album, mixed in with favorites,
classics, requests, and a good dose of western humor. (For a full list
of tour dates, please visit http://www.ridersinthesky.com)

Doug — who, in addition to being, “The Idol of American Youth,” and the
group’s resident historian—says, “40 years? It only seems like 60, and
the great trail drive continues unabated!  It’s the Cowboy Way!”

Slim, “America’s Favorite Funnyman,” bass player and former
second-richest-man-in-Joelton, adds, “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
our new album, ‘40 years The Cowboy Way.’ 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!”

years ago, Ranger Doug, Too Slim and the late Windy Bill Collins played
that first date on the bitter cold evening of November 11th, 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 $2500 – 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

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. 

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.

creation of satellite radio gave them a new platform, as they continue
to produce episodes of the award-winning “Classic Cowboy Corral” on

more road dates and recordings (several on their own Riders Radio
Records label) and other film and television projects have filled the
days and weeks and years, and since the quartet has slowed up very
little, the numbers begin to add up:  an astonishing 7,100+ appearances,
35 years as Grand Ole Opry members, 40 albums (well, now CDs,) and
tours of all 50 states and all over the world.  

accumulated as well.  In addition to the two GRAMMY Awards, Riders
received numerous awards from the Western Music Association, including
the highest — membership in the Western Music Hall of Fame; numerous
Wrangler awards from the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage
Museum; awards from the Academy of Western Artists; enshrinement in the
Walkway of Western Stars, and more.  What began as a celebration of
classic Western Music and an evening of hilarity has become a career,
and that career has become a legend, one which, 40 years on, shows no
signs of stopping or even slowing down much.

like 400 on some days, but on others, when the sound is good, the
audience is hot, and the boys are playing and singing their hearts out,
it feels like that first time. Theatrical cowboy magic is in the air.
See you in 10 years for our Golden Jubilee, right here, when we’ll hear
Ranger Doug say: “I used to be in Riders In The Sky.” And Too Slim say:
“Really? Which one were you?” And Ranger Doug say: “I don’t remember.”
And Woody say: “Ask the nice lady at the front desk. She’ll tell you.” 
And Joey say: “Where’s Woody?”

‘40 years The Cowboy Way’ (Riders
Radio Records) will be available in early 2018 and milestone events in
partnership with The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Grand
Ole Opry, The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and numerous celebratory
concerts will be announced in December.

‘40 Years The Cowboy Way’ Track Listing: 

  1. Cimarron
  2. Old New Mexico
  3. I’ve Cooked Everything
  4. Brazos River
  5. Mule Train
  6. Old Showboat
  7. Big Iron
  8. Clarinet Polka
  9. I’ve Got No Use for the Women
  10. The Blue Juniata
  11. Buffalo Gals/Bear Creek Hop
  12. We’re Burning Moonlight
  13. Mollie Darling
  14. Pigeon On the Gatepost/The Coleraine Jig
  15. Press Along to the Big Corral


For updated touring and event information please follow Riders In The Sky, here:



About The Riders:

Ranger Doug:
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.  Perhaps
the world’s most well-read person, he is believed to be the only
individual who has completed reading the list of “1001 Books You Must
Read Before You Die.”

Too Slim:
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. Besides his superb
bass play and comic genius, he has inspired thousands to whack out
tunes on their faces. 

Woody Paul:
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
and a licensed driver.

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