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Riders In The Sky

Beginning each performance with their trademark greeting, "Mighty fine and a great big Western 'Howdy,' all you buckaroos and buckarettes," Riders in the Sky simultaneously paid tribute to and poked gentle fun at the classic cowboy songs of the 1930s and 1940s, particularly the work of the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry. During the 1980s and 1990s, the group was notable for its ability to attract fans both firmly within the country tradition (the Riders are members of the Grand Ole Opry) and from outside. Riders in the Sky are made up of lead singer Ranger Doug (born Douglas B. Green), Woody Paul (born Paul Chrisman) on fiddle and vocals, Too Slim (string bass and guitar), and since the mid-'90s, "Cowpolka King" Joey Miskulin on accordion.

Before forming the band, the Michigan-born Ranger Doug was a member of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys and was also a country music journalist, working at the Country Music Foundation Press as editor of The Journal of Country Music. Prior to joining the Riders, Woody Paul, a formidable swing fiddler, played with Loggins & Messina, and Too Slim was a member of Dickey Lee's band in addition to being a songwriter. The trio formed in the mid-'70s, playing a weekly gig at a Nashville nightclub that led to a slot on Tumbleweed Theater on cable television's Nashville Network (TNN).

Riders in the Sky made their recording debut in 1979 on the Rounder label with Three on the Trail, which set the pattern for their mix of classic and newly composed sentimental western numbers, parodies (like "The Legend of Palindrome," in which a figure resembling television's Paladin is described exclusively in sentences that read the same backwards and forwards), crack swing instrumental work, and Sons of the Pioneers-style harmony singing. They released five albums on MCA in the 1980s, and in 1985 they appeared in Sweet Dreams, the film biography of Patsy Cline. The group returned briefly to MCA in 1987, releasing Riders Radio Theater a year later. The success of that album led to the program Riders Radio Theater on National Public Radio, where the group was already well known from performances on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion program.

In 1991 the Riders moved to CBS for the children's album Harmony Ranch, which led to a short-lived CBS-TV Saturday morning television show. Riders in the Sky continued recording for Rounder and other labels into the 2000s, offering A Great Big Western Howdy! in 1998 and Christmas the Cowboy Way a year later. In 2000, Woody's Roundup: A Rootin' Tootin' Collection of Woody's Favorite Songs was released, and 2002's A Pair of Kings showcased the increasingly impressive instrumental talents of Miskulin and Paul. As Riders in the Sky approached their 25th anniversary they were known as an unfailing concert draw: their shows featured such novelties as rope tricks in addition to music and humor. In 2007, the Riders released Public Cowboy #1: A Centennial Salute to the Music of Gene Autry, celebrated their 30th anniversary, and received an award from the Western Music Association for Entertainers of the Year. ~ Sandra Brennan & James Manheim, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Love all songs
jackwoods927
What is really strange is that I remember listening to these fellas sing their songs on a real large radio and yes a really long term ago. To bad the latter generations will never know what the old days was truly like, and this is what gives me sadness.
I love this song
Should be hobbles, not hovels.
Love Riders in the Sky. Saw them in concert a few years back. They put on an awsome show. Very entertaining and always get the crowd involved. Very fun and talented.
What a BEAUTIFUL song
Love this song
chychyzspunk y
Love thos song
did you see all the tumbleweeds rolling along out West ?
Let's hear it for Michigan born Ranger Doug!
The instruments make it even better!
Cool
I know when night has gone...that a New World's born at dawn
@brandoncorp wow ��
balerick42
Came to this in a strange roundabout way. I am currently running a role-playing game on Sunday evenings called Deadlands Reloaded, which is set in an alternate history (and reality) of the Wild West... always loved westerns, so the ability to be creative with adventures in the setting is a lot of fun. :) The music helps set the mood!
My like this song my bro loves it too
Well, Riders in the sky. You certainly got a friend in me. ~get it?
I ran and put on my chaps as soon as I heard them sing Nevada. Mean while back at the ranch....... .
leedeb
The Riders reintroduced me to Cowboy Music. I love them!
lilahlulu
Taylor swifts #1 fan that's not true
klmotter
I love the riders in the sky!!!:) my family personally knows them! In fact they are at my house right now for a private concert!!!:)
htmagic
My wife and I saw them at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN. They were great and quite funny! Good family entertainmen t . That's not necessarily the easiest way but it's the cowboy way!
I love this song!
Why is TOO Slim's real mane not given? It's Fred LaBour..How very much the RIDERS have ment to me...Their album Harmony Ranch remined me how very much I truely loved the West..It is something I will never out live..
Years ago we werw at a summer fair down in Corpus Christi Tx. The Son's of the Pioneers where pllaying under one oof the Canvas tents. That's true Country!
Saw them Saturday at the Autry Museum in L.A. They were great, like always.
jcmoonbow
Love these guys!
gadkins410
Just saw them for the second time here in Augusta, GA. This time they placed with our symphony and it was a great show. Really enjoy their fun singing and humor.
swappin yodels with the coyotes .diggin the riders
rs9862
The Riders have given one of the very best concerts I have ever been to in Logan Utah. Very organized, professional , perfect harmony's and so in tune to their audience. These men are all very well accomplished outside of music. I really hope they can be around another 25 years. The range of Doug's voice is just astounding. It is amazing to compare just how much joey's accordian really adds to their songs when listen to 3 versus 4.
I hope they come back this summer. I will be there.
ackerbex3
I loved these guys on the soundtrack to Toy Story 2 - their sound is unmistakable . Fabulous harmonies, and a wonderful ability to poke gentle fun at (while at the same time showing great love for) the genre.
These guys are the very best.They bering a newness to some of my very favorite songs.When I hear the orignal recordings of Gene or Roy and Sons of the Poiners I think that the sound that they wanted was at last captured by THE RIDERS.I only wish I had the RIDERS as I grew up.I would have had a fuller life.
ackerbex3
Their music, both the parodies & the tributes, is spot on. Great harmonies!!
sassyjan
love love love them
gene aurty wrote RUNODLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER AND HOILDAY CLASSIC TREASURES
fredt001
Numbers one,two and three. They make music fun.
songbird3
While the albums are great nothing compares to experiencing these guys live!
They are some the best entertainers in the business!

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