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‘Riders in the Sky’ Concert on Ozark Folk Center State Park stage

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The Riders in the Sky are the only uniquely "Life of the Cowboy" Western band to win two Grammy Awards.

The Riders in the Sky are the only uniquely “Life of the Cowboy” Western band to win two Grammy Awards.

For more than three decades, Riders In The Sky have been keeping the flame passed on by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, reviving and revitalizing the cowboy musical genre.

This year they will bring their special music and humor to the Ozark Folk Center State Park stage on Saturday, Sept. 5. There are still tickets available for this Celebrity Concert.

Riders are known for their entertaining radio show and concerts. 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!”

Classic Poster of the Riders in the Sky with Gene Autry.

Classic Poster of the Riders in the Sky in a Centennial Salute to Gene Autry.

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, two actually), but by the fact that their accomplishments are an exception to the rule.

Tickets are available by calling 870-269-3851 from 10-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. All seats for this concert are reserved; there is no general admission. Tickets are $20 for Premium Seating and $15 for Regular Reserved.

Ranger Doug
Guitarist Ranger Doug, “Governor of the Great State of Rhythm,” sings lead and baritone vocals with an ever-present big grin and a yodeler’s of breathtaking technique. He is also an award-winning Western music songwriter in his own right – and a distinguished music historian whose 2002 Vanderbilt University Press book, Singing in the Saddle: The History of the Singing Cowboy,” was the first comprehensive look at the singing cowboy phenomenon that swept the country in the 1930s.

Too Slim
Upright “bunkhouse” bassist Too Slim, easily the sharpest wit in the West, was, prior to the Riders, a janitor, industrial galvanizer, puppeteer, rumor-monger, hay stacker, burlesque show emcee, sportswriter, wildlife manager, and electric bassman. Besides his superb bass play and comic wit, he has inspired thousands to whack out tunes on their faces.

Woody Paul
Woody Paul, “King of the Cowboy Fiddlers,” sings lead and tenor vocals, and 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, the CowPolka King, “plays both ends against the middle,” as they say, on his “stomach Steinway.” The master musician, 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.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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