Riders In The Sky
Member Since 1982
The four members of Riders In The Sky bound onstage in colorful Western wear, lasso undulating around their heads, their “Great Big Western Howdy” punctuated by yips and yodels. This quartet of Grammy-winning madcap cowpokes consists of Ranger Doug, Idol of American Youth; Too Slim, the Fastest Wit in the West; Woody Paul, King of the Cowboy Fiddlers; and Joey, the CowPolka King. Perpetual crowd-pleasers, these talented musicians fill each live performance with Western music favorites offset by wacky cowboy humor.
The Saddle Pals got their start in 1977 at a Nashville nightclub called Phranks and Steins. Sharing a common love for authentic Western cowboy songs, they practiced in their living rooms until they were ready to hit the road in their cowboy costumes. With the 1980 release of Three on the Trail, they found an audience hungry to reconnect with cowboy music. The Riders went on to become part of the Country Music Foundation’s Walkway of Stars; establish Riders Radio Theatre for public and commercial radio; host Tumbleweed Theatre for TNN; and appear in Sweet Dreams, the Patsy Cline biopic starring Jessica Lange. In 1982, Riders In The Sky joined the Grand Ole Opry.
Woody’s Roundup featuring Riders In The Sky appeared as a companion album for the soundtrack of the 1999 Walt Disney/Pixar animated classic Toy Story 2. The album earned a Grammy Award for Best Musical Album for Children in 2001. The Riders won their second Grammy in 2003 for the Walt Disney Records release Monsters Inc.: Scream Factory Favorites. They continue to collaborate on animation features, tour, and perform live.
When Riders In The Sky perform “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” “Red River Valley,” and other favorites, their arrangements showcase each member’s top-caliber musicianship. Silver Jubilee, is a two-CD release featuring their best-loved songs and a live mini-concert. Their website biography muses that this 32nd album is “perhaps the quintessential Western music album of the modern era.”
The Academy of Western Artists named Riders In The Sky as Western Music Group of the Year in 2006. The Academy of Western Artists is a nonprofit organization formed to recognize and honor outstanding individuals who, through their accomplishments, preserve and perpetuate the traditions, values and heritage of the American Cowboy.
As their audience basks in musical nostalgia, Riders In The Sky leave the folks with helpful hints like, “Don’t squat with your spurs on.” It’s the least they can give their audience. It’s the Cowboy Way.