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Higher Education
Riders in the Sky to bring Western swing, cowboy comedy to Bayou Theater
News Release
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

HOUSTON — When “Ranger” Doug Green was a boy, he heard his uncles playing guitar and yodeling. After listening to the country and folk singer Jimmie Rodgers do the same, Green was hooked and he knew he’d found his calling. In 1977, he formed a trio that ultimately became a Grammy-winning quartet of Western singers and songwriters called Riders in the Sky. They’ll perform their hilarious blend of cowboy comedy and “in-tune singing” at University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Bayou Theater Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

“Yodeling is like learning the trumpet. It’s awful at first, but it gets better,” he said. “You practice in your truck with your windows up or you lose friends.”

Green said he went to the first annual Western Swing Fest in Tulsa in 1974 and saw a group called the Sons of the Pioneers on stage. “They sang in beautiful harmony and yodeled,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘This is it!’ They sounded like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers when I was a boy. I loved the beautiful, complex and challenging music and the poetic lyrics. I just fell in love with it.”

Initially a trio consisting of Green, Fred LaBour and Bill Collins, Green said they eventually found Joey Miskulin. “He was playing the accordion by the side of the road with a sign saying, ‘Will squeeze for food,’” he said. “He’s been with us for 30 years.”

In the early days of the group, Green said, they played to an audience of young adults, and then noticed they started bringing their children. “We discovered we had a perennial appeal to children,” he said. “They would outgrow the music, and then the next generation would come along.”

Just over 41 years later, the group, which now consists of Green, LaBour, Paul Chrisman, and Miskulin,  continues to perform – and the music is not just for children. “We won Grammys for Best Musical Album for Children for (“Toy Story 2”) ‘Woody’s Round-Up’  in 2001, and another Grammy for our album, ‘Monsters, Inc. Scream Factory Favorites’ in 2003,” he said. “The Grammys are for the kids’ music, and although they do enjoy it, it’s serious music. And we try to display good musicianship and sing in tune.”

He added, “I think we’re the only album by an all-Western singing group to sing an album that’s all about monsters.”

The animated short film, “For the Birds,” produced by Disney Pixar, won an Academy Award in 2001. “That’s our music on that soundtrack,” Green said.

Infused with references to John Wayne and other old cowboy movies, Riders in the Sky’s master comedian, “Too Slim” (Fred LaBour) delivers all the punchlines. “Forty years ago, we thought we were all funny,” Green said. “Turns out, it was really only Slim.”

Although the four members of Riders in the Sky are of retirement age, Green said they still love performing and continue to get concert dates. “We’ve all slowed down a little, but that’s no reason to quit,” he said. “What would I do, start another band?”

To purchase tickets or for more information about the 2018-19 Bayou Theater season, visit www.uhcl.edu/bayou-theater/events-tickets.




Remembering Jim Guidry M3 Global Medical Missions


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