Home Editor's Picks Ride into the Mesa Arts Center with the cowboys of Western comedy

Ride into the Mesa Arts Center with the cowboys of Western comedy

(Courtesy of Riders in the Sky)

Riders in the Sky, the critically acclaimed purveyors of “Comedy and Western” for the past 39 years, will be taking the stage tomorrow, Nov. 26, at the Mesa Arts Center.

America’s favorite two-time Grammy Award-winning comedy cowboys pay tribute to Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and the history of Western music in their shows. 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!”

Riders in the Sky are: Guitarist Ranger Doug, “Governor of the Great State of Rhythm,” who sings lead and baritone vocals with an ever-present big grin and warm twinkle in his eyes; upright “bunkhouse” bassist Too Slim is easily the sharpest wit in the West; 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; and accordionist Joey, the “CowPolka King,” is a master musician who apprenticed with the late polka king Frank Yankovic and has recorded with everyone from Roy Rogers to U2.

After originally performing a solo cowboy show the act quickly morphed years ago into the group it is today and Ranger Doug said: “We thought, America would pay to see this.” And the rest is history.

The cowboys have appeared on “Austin City Limits,” have been members of the Grand Ole Opry for 35 years, used to have a radio show on National Public Radio that they’ve now turned into a podcast and even had their own television show for a year on Saturday mornings, replacing “Pee-wee’s Playhouse.” In addition, they sang “Woody’s Roundup” for the movie “ToyStory 2,” and two of their albums have won Grammy Awards.

As they head into their 40th year, Riders in the Sky has made more than 7,000 appearances and have played in Mesa at least five times with their show appealing to all ages.

“Singing about the West, we have a good following in the West,” said Ranger Doug. “We love coming to Arizona. We have a lot of friends here and Arizona has been good to us.

“There will be a lot of comedy that the people expect from us, but we’ll be singing many songs from the past to keep that classic sound live,” Ranger Doug continued. “It’s a fun show because it’s a little unpredictable and not just about the music.”

As a classic cowboy quartet, the fun cowboys are: “Proudly carrying the Western tradition forward.”

For more information on Riders in the Sky, visit: http://www.ridersinthesky.com.

The Mesa Arts Center is located at 1 E. Main St. in downtown Mesa. For tickets, visit: https://www.mesaartscenter.com/.

– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at kmixer@mynewsmesa.com.

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