By Jessica Isaacs
Go west this weekend and join Tweetsie Railroad as classic country superstars Riders in the Sky return for their annual summer concerts at the park. The group’s quirky combination of comedy and talent brings the sights and sounds of western music to life and offers fun for all ages.
Affectionately known as “America’s Favorite Cowboys,” this hilarious, classic country quartet first performed together in Nashville, Tennessee in 1977. These entertainers at heart have been wowing fans of all ages across the country ever since, and they’ve stopped in the High Country to play at Tweetsie Railroad every summer for most of their career.
This critically acclaimed group has been recognized on countless occasions over the years and have been members of the Grand Ole Opry since 1982. They’re known throughout the nation for their fun and family-friendly form of entertainment, and their notable works include writing the “Woody’s Round-up” music for the computer-animated Disney/Pixar adventure “Toy Story 2.”
These four funny cowboys — Ranger Doug, Too Slim, Woody Paul and Joey — will return to Tweetsie for four performances this weekend. The concerts will begin at noon and again at 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, and each time the group will offer hours of music and fun for the whole family.
Guitarist Ranger Doug said the group is delighted to be back at Tweetsie this weekend.
“Oh, we’re so excited about coming. Of course, we’ve been playing there so many years that the Robbins family, the staff and the dozens and dozens of fans who return year after year have all become like family to us,” he said. “It’s sort of like coming home.”
The quartet looks forward to returning to North Carolina’s High Country and joining the celebration of music in the area.
“We have played throughout the state in our 37-and-a-half year career. It’s a hugely musical state to begin with and definitely a top 10 state for us,” Doug said. “There’s a wonderful North Carolina tradition of acoustic music, especially in the mountains, where there are so many brilliant musicians, craftsmen and dancers.
“Even though we don’t necessarily play mountain music, it’s kind of like the bluegrass of the desert,” he said with a laugh.
This weekend, the group will play tunes from its latest album, “Riders in the Sky Salute Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys.”
Admission to each concert is included in the daily general admission ticket to the park — $41 for adults, $27 for kids ages 3-12 and free for ages 2 and under.
If you plan to spend the weekend at Tweetsie, you can take advantage of the “Enter After 3, Next Day Free” special. When you enter the park after 3 p.m., you can use your tickets the next day at no additional charge. Just keep your ticket stubs and present them to the ticket office when you return the next day.
“We feel very honored that they come every year to Tweetsie. They enjoy our audience here at the park and it’s been a nice partnership all these years,” said Tweetsie Marketing Director Cathy Robbins. “They’re incredible musicians and it’s a fun show. They’re extremely talented Grammy Award-winners and they have quite the following. A lot of our guests come back to see them every year.”
Check out the Riders in the Sky biography at the Grand Ole Opry online.
Visit Tweetsie.com for ticket information.