Riders Radio Theater is a half-hour show that ran on National Public Radio from 1988 to 1995. It was created by, and stars, Riders in the Sky, a band that’s famous for their faithful performances of western music and unique brand of comedy. Now Bluegrass Country brings back these classic shows to the radio.
For more than 30 years, Riders in the Sky has kept alive and revitalized the classic western music of the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Along the way they’ve become one of the most influential and consistently entertaining groups in the country, known for their way-out western wit as much as their fine harmonies and instrumental skills. The band has won multiple Grammys, and awards from the Country Music Foundation, the Academy of Western Artists, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Western Music Association. In 1982 they became the first – and so far the only – exclusively western band to join the Grand Ole Opry. They’ve performed in all 50 states and ten countries, recorded numerous albums, hosted radio and TV shows, and composed and performed songs for movie soundtracks.
The members of the quartet come from a variety of backgrounds. “Ranger Doug” Green (The Idol of American Youth), is an alumnus of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys and Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, among others, and is a recognized music historian and author. “Woody Paul” Chrisman (King of the Cowboy Fiddlers) is a member of the National Fiddlers Hall of Fame, and also has a PhD in theoretical plasma physics from MIT. Bassist Fred “Too Slim” LaBour has been an industrial galvanizer, puppeteer, sportswriter and wildlife manager, among other pursuits, and as a college undergrad played a big part in spreading the rumor of Paul McCartney’s death. “Joey the Cowpolka King” Miskulin is a hall of fame accordionist who studied and performed with Frankie Yankovic and has collaborated with a wide range of artists.
Bluegrass Country airs two episodes of Riders Radio Theater back-to-back. Sit back and enjoy the authentic western music and wacky comedy of Riders in the Sky, and you’ll understand the meaning of “It’s the cowboy way.”