The Sons of the Pioneers tip their cowboy hats as they prepare to perform Western music classics at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre June 26. (Photo submitted)

Cowboys tell tales of the Prairies through music

The Sons of the Pioneers take the stage at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre June 26

As the quintet takes the stage, they’re backed not only by the heritage of the music they perform, but their 80 years of performance history.

The Sons of the Pioneers are tipping their cowboy hats as they perform Western music classics at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre June 26.

“If you’ve ever been to the old Westerns, that’s the kind of music to expect to hear,” said Sons of the Pioneers’ trail boss Tommy Nallie as he rested in his Texas home to prepare for the mini-tour. “It’s Western music, not country music.”

With their songs about the cowboy lifestyle, The Sons of the Pioneers have painted vivid images through their music of horses, cattle, cowboys, night herds, tall timber, cool water, canyons, and the North American prairies.

Their original songs, like Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Cool Water, and Ghost Riders in the Sky are classics that have become tangled into the lore and history of the American West. Both Tumbling Tumbleweeds and Cool Water have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

“We’re pretty excited about coming up. We’ve played a lot through Saskatchewan and Alberta,” Nallie said, adding that their six-stop B.C. tour is going to be a new experience for the group.

The Sons of the Pioneers began with Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan, and Tim Spencer. After appearing in numerous Western films in the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s, the group garnered Western music fans across the globe. Numerous albums were recorded under contracts with Decca, Columbia, RCA and others. The group provided songs for several John Ford westerns including the soundtrack for The Searchers, starring John Wayne. Walt Disney also called upon the Pioneers to supply the soundtrack for Pecos Bill. They were the first cowboy musical group to perform at Carnegie Hall and the first to headline in Las Vegas casinos.

Known for their three and four part harmonies, the five-piece band brings together acoustic fiddles, a mandolin, an upright bass, and lead and rhythm guitars.

“I think they’re going to enjoy the show,” Nallie said. “It’s very fun music to play. The people will walk away with a good feeling.”

Their current lineup is part of an uninterrupted 80-year existence, in which they have accumulated more honours and awards than any other group in Western music. The group has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Western Music Association Hall of Fame, and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, among others.

“We are honoured to be returning to Canada,” Nallie said. “We had western Canadian tours in 2015 and 2016. We were parade marshalls for the Calgary Stampede in the 1990s.

“Every concert is pure cowboy music packed with our timeless hits, solid Western swing, and a good measure of comedy and banter.”

Sons of the Pioneers are performing at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre June 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 for adults and $45 for seniors from the Ticket Seller,, 250-549-7469.

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