Know Your Product: Riders In The Sky 

Stars Pick Their Top 5!

Like four cartoon cowboys, the Riders in the Sky weave a colorful landscape of frontier escapades and stories told around a campfire. Riders in the Sky is a Western music ensemble with more than four decades under their belts, blending comedy and country into a dry cowboy style that is far catchier than you might expect. Over their dozens of albums since the late '70s, they've crafted a wacky yet tight comedic and musical style that transports listeners into a world of tumbleweeds and cattle skulls. But don't be distracted by the bright costumes and jokes—Riders in the Sky display technical proficiency on the accordion, standup bass, fiddle and more. Ahead of their roughly 8,000th show, guitarist and vocalist Ranger Doug told us about some of the albums that inspired him to be a ramblin' man.

See Riders In The Sky at Hotel Congress. 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. 311 E. Congress St. $30.  All ages.

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The Smothers Brothers

Two Sides of The Smothers Brothers

Where I first learned you could be musical and hilarious at the same time.  

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Sons of The Pioneers

Memories of The Lucky U Ranch

Glorious live recordings from their early 1950s radio program. Classic songs, impeccable harmony, great vocal and instrumental step outs. This set circulated among fans on tape for years before finally coming out on CD. 

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Gene Autry

Gene Autry's Country Music Hall of Fame

Gene's greatest hits. I learned the classic songs, and learned much from Gene's easy vocal delivery.

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Freddie Green

Mr. Rhythm

Small band jazz with the master of the rhythm guitar. The source of my sound and style. 

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Count Basie Orchestra

Live at The Sands (Before Frank)

Freddie at his finest in a big band setting.

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Bonus: Marty Robbins

Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs

I know this makes six, but how could I leave off an album I played a thousand times, and taught me so much about singing, harmony, and songwriting?

More by Jeff Gardner


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