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.
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.
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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