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By Bev Odom
The Red River Sun
WELLINGTON – The historic Wellington Ritz Theatre will host America’s favorite cowboys, Riders in the Sky, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11. The $50 tickets went on sale at 8 a.m. on Sept. 20.
An American western music and comedy ensemble, Riders in the Sky began performing in 1977. Making more than 8,000 live appearances, the band has released more than 40 full-length albums and starred in a self-title television series on CBS, lasting two seasons.
Exemplified in its recordings for Disney and Pixar, the Riders’ family-friendly style also appeals to children. Awarded two Grammys, the Riders have written and performed music for major motion pictures and were officially inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1982.
Guitarist “Ranger Doug” Green, “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. A distinguished music historian, Green’s 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.
Prior to the Riders, Fred LaBour, known as Upright “Bunkhouse” Bassist Too Slim, filled many roles. Easily the sharpest wit in the west, LaBour served as a janitor, industrial galvanizer, puppeteer, 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” Chrisman, “King of the Cowboy Fiddlers,” sings lead and tenor vocals. He 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 Miskulin, the Cow-Polka King, plays both ends against the middle, as they say, on his “stomach Steinway.” The master magician, 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.
“Get your tickets now to enjoy this truly exceptional show,” said Margret Wood, president of the Ritz Theatre Board of Directors.