Saturday’s SuperPops concert pairs the Spokane Symphony with the legends of Western music, Riders in the Sky.
For 30 years this award-winning quartet has kept the tradition of the singing cowboy alive with a hefty helping of humor. And they’ve introduced younger audiences to Western music as part of “Woody’s Round Up” in “Toy Story 2.”
Among the classic Western tunes slated for the evening are “Cool Water,” Yellow Rose of Texas,” “Rawhide,” “Red River Valley” and, naturally, “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”
The group has performed twice in the past for Spokane audiences – 2004 and 2009. This is their first time partnering with the symphony, said manager Josh Minton.
Spokane Symphony resident conductor Morihiko Nakahara said Riders in the Sky has done a number of symphony shows.
“I’m looking forward to having a fun and nostalgic time working together with the band and sharing our joy with our audience,” Nakahara said.
“Before I left South Carolina last week, I had a chance to talk with several of my friends down there who played a show with Riders in the Sky last year when they came to Augusta, Ga.,” he said. “They were all raving about how much fun they had playing with them and about how entertaining and musically accomplished all the band members were.”
“Riders in the Sky are truly exceptional,” said Annie Matlow, the symphony’s marketing director. “While remaining true to the integrity of Western music, they have themselves become modern day icons by branding their 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!”
The Riders are lead singer and guitarist Ranger Doug (Douglas B. Green), singer and bassist Too Slim (Fred LaBour), singer and fiddler Woody Paul (Paul Chrisman), and Joey the Cowpolka King (Joey Miskulin) on accordion.
The group has performed in more than 6,100 concerts in all 50 states and 10 countries, appearing in such diverse locations as the Nashville National Guard Armory to Carnegie Hall, and from county fairs to the Hollywood Bowl.