Sundown with Sons of the Pioneers; STGnews Photo Gallery

Sons of the Pioneers perform at Kanab High School, Kanab, Utah, Aug. 23, 2014 | Photo by Barry Glazier, St. George News

KANAB – A packed auditorium greeted a group of true Western music legends Saturday night as the Sons of the Pioneers performed to a sold out crowd at Kanab High School. The concert was one of the concluding events of Western Legends Roundup.

Sons of the Pioneers perform at Kanab High School, Kanab, Utah, Aug. 23, 2014 | Photo by Barry Glazier, St. George News
Sons of the Pioneers perform at Kanab High School, Kanab, Utah, Aug. 23, 2014 | Photo by Barry Glazier, St. George News

With their melodious marriage of transcendent vocal harmonies and rich instrumentals, the Sons of the Pioneers claim an illustrious history in Western music that spans 80 years.

“We’re trying to keep it alive, because it’s a part of the fabric of our culture in this country – Western music,” group member Randy Rudd said.

The Sons of the Pioneers originated in 1934 with Western great Roy Rogers – then known as Leonard Slye – as one of the founding members.

Western music traces its origins to cowboy crooners like Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers, who created a distinctive sound and style of music that came to be identified as “Western.” Many country standards that have been recorded and re-recorded over the years, like “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” “Blue Prairie” and “Cool Water,” were originally penned and recorded by Sons of the Pioneers.

Historically, as original members retired from the group or passed away, new Sons of the Pioneers recruits have taken their place. In its current incarnation, the group features Luther Nallie among its members – known by the other Pioneer members as “the Trail Boss.” Nallie has been a Sons of the Pioneers member for more than 40 years.

Performing in Kanab Saturday were Nallie, his brother Tommy Nallie, Rudd, Mark Abbot and Ken Lattimore.

“We’re a brotherhood of musicians,” Rudd said.

Sons of the Pioneers members, left to right, Randy Rudd, Ken Lattimore, Luther Nallie and Mark Abbot, Kanab, Utah, Aug. 23, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News
Sons of the Pioneers members, left to right, Randy Rudd, Ken Lattimore, Luther Nallie and Mark Abbot, Kanab, Utah, Aug. 23, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

The group stayed true to its roots throughout the show, performing favorites like “Streets of Laredo (A Cowboy’s Lament),” “Don’t Fence Me In,” “Happy Trails,” “Blue Shadows on the Trail” and, of course, proprietary Sons of the Pioneers numbers like “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and “Cool Water.”

“They were wonderful, they really were,” audience member Pat Sauzer said.

Sauzer traveled from Las Vegas with her husband and sister to attend Western Legends Roundup, and she said the Sons of the Pioneers concert was the crowning event of the festival.

“This was definitely the highlight of the week,” she said.

Singer/songwriter Stan Corliss opened the concert.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Sons of the Pioneers August 28, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Thanks for the coverage of Western Legends Festival. We sure had a great time in Southern Utah. The hospitality was great. The audience was terrific. The Festival was super. It’s an event the whole area can be proud of. We appreciate the opportunity of being a part of the festival. Thanks to everyone.

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