Riders in the Sky: Grammy-Winning Western Quartet
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The last date listed for Riders in the Sky was Sunday April 26, 2009 / 2:00pm.
The Long Beach Community Concert Association presents “Riders in the Sky,” the legendary quartet of singing cowboys who have spent 30 years entertaining folks with their witty blend of “Comedy and Western.”
Since 1977, 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 “Singing Cowboy” genre. And while remaining true to the integrity of Western music, they have themselves become modern-day icons by branding the genre with their own legendary wacky humor and way-out Western wit, and all along encouraging buckaroos and buckarettes to live life “The Cowboy Way!”
Riders In The Sky are exceptional not just in the sense that their music is of superlative standards (they are the ONLY exclusively Western artist to have won a Grammy, and Riders have won two), but by the fact that their accomplishments are an exception to the rule as well.
That Riders In The Sky was even formed is a feat of improbable likelihood. What are the odds that a theoretical plasma physicist, a wildlife manager – galvanizer – Life Scout, an English major – shot putter – Bluegrass Boy, and a Polka Hall of Fame member would collectively become “America’s Favorite Cowboys?” And even more unlikely is that 30 years later, the original members are all still performing together.
During that time the trail has led this classic cowboy quartet to heights they could have never predicted. They have chalked up over 5400 concert appearances in all 50 states and 10 countries, appearing in venues everywhere from the Nashville National Guard Armory to Carnegie Hall, and from county fairs to the Hollywood Bowl. Their cowboy charisma and comedic flair made them naturals for TV, and landed them their own weekly show on TNN, as well as a Saturday morning series on CBS. They have been guests on countless TV specials, documentaries and variety shows, appearing with everyone from Barney to Penn & Teller. And their animated likenesses have shared the screen with Daffy Duck on the Cartoon Network, and the Disney Channel’s Stanley.
But the animated character that history will most certainly link to Riders In The Sky is the loveable cowboy Woody, as Riders performed “Woody’s Round Up” in “Toy Story 2,” with the album of the same name garnering Riders their first Grammy Award in 2001 for “Best Musical Album for Children.” Two years later, Riders roped their second Grammy in the same category, for “Monsters Inc. – Scream Factory Favorites,” the companion CD to Pixar’s award-winning movie.
Ultimately, exceptional careers do not go unnoticed, and throughout theirs, Riders In The Sky have been honored regularly. In addition to being inducted into the Grand Ol’ Opry, Riders are in the Western Music Association’s Hall of Fame, the Country Music Foundation’s Walkway of Stars, and the Walk of Western Stars (in Newhall, CA, near Melody Ranch Studios) along with Gene, Roy, John Wayne and other cowboy legends. No less important than their two Grammies, Riders have been the Western Music Association’s “Entertainers Of the Year” seven times, and won “Traditional Group of the Year” and “Traditional Album of the Year” multiple times. The Academy of Western Artists has named them “Western Music Group of the Year” twice in 5 years, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has bestowed Riders with their Wrangler Award statuette three times. It comes as no surprise then that Billboard magazine’s Jim Bessman counts them as one of “the most historically significant acts in the history of American music.”