The Sons of the Pioneers will be appearing in concert at the Dekker Centre in North Battleford Thursday, June 21.
For decades the western singing group has musically painted images and stories of horses, cattle, cowboys, “night herds,” tall timber, cool water, canyons and prairies. Their original songs, like Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Cool Water and Ghost Riders in the Sky, are classics forever entwined into the lore and mystique of the North American West. Both Tumbleweeds and Cool Water have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Founded by Roy Rogers Sr. and Canadian-born songwriters Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer, the group garnered national and international fans through appearance in almost 100 western films during the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s. Numerous albums were recorded under contracts with Decca, Columbia, RCA and others.
The group provided songs for several John Ford westerns including the soundtrack for The Searchers starring John Wayne. When television came along, they regularly appeared on the Roy Rogers Show and had guest appearances on such programs as the Barbara Mandrell Show. Walt Disney called upon the Pioneers to supply the soundtrack for the film Pecos Bill. They were the first cowboy musical group to perform at Carnegie Hall and the first to headline in Las Vegas casinos.
The current group’s configuration is part of a continuous and uninterrupted 84-year existence in which they have accumulated more coveted honours and awards than anyone in Western music. Current members include Roy Rogers Jr. (Dusty), Tommy Nallie, Ken Lattimore, John Fullerton and Bruce Hoffman (fiddler). The group has historically been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Western Music Association Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame among others. The Smithsonian Institute named them as “national treasures”.
The Pioneers are known around the world for their unique three- and four-part harmonies. According to their “trail boss,” Tommy Nallie who joined the group in the 1980s, “We are honoured to be returning to Canada in 2018, and visiting different cities,” Nallie said.
“Every concert is pure cowboy music packed with our timeless hits, solid western swing and a good measure of comedy and banter. Each of the five members share the vocals and instrumentals.”
Part of the hallmark sound comes from acoustic fiddles, upright bass and lead and rhythm guitars.
When not performing their regular theater concert season in September/October in Branson, Miss., the Pioneers have recently been invited to perform on RFD-TV PBS program, on Nashville's Grand Ol’ Opry and at various theaters and festivals across the country.
Local promoter of the group, Margaret Morrissette of Fort Qu’Appelle, said, “The Pioneers are revered legends in the field of Western music. Everyone I talk to is so very excited they are coming to Western Canada for a June 2018 tour. This will be a memorable performance. There is limited seating so we encourage everyone to get their tickets early.”
Tickets can be purchased by calling 306-445-7700 EXT 2, online at www.dekkercentre.com or in person at 623 - Carleton Tr. in North Battleford.