Legendary western musicians perform at Ellen Eccles Theatre

The legendary 'Sons of the Pioneers' performed Monday at the Ellen Eccles Theatre in downtown Logan.

LOGAN – When talking about the Old West, if legend contradicts reality they say go with the legend.

In the best of all possible worlds, however, the legend is reality and the Sons of the Pioneers are both.

Those famous cowboy troubadours performed live in Logan on Monday, thrilling a near packed house of western music fans in the Ellen Eccles Theatre downtown.

The sextet’s repertoire here included many crowd-pleasing classic western tunes, including their trademark “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and “Cool Water.” But those familiar songs were performed with innovative arrangements, skillful harmonies and a hint of old-fashioned yodeling thrown in.

Thanks to Hollywood, the Sons of the Pioneers are synonymous with the golden age of western movies in the 1940s and 1950s because their music was featured in many those vintage films. The audience here was predominantly made of local residents old enough to recall having seen those movies in theaters and on old black-and-white television screens.

The Sons of the Pioneers was founded in 1934 by Leonard Slye, who would later go on to fame as Roy Rogers, the king of the singing cowboys.

Although the original Sons of the Pioneers have long since passed away, the group’s fame continued to grow as replacement members were carefully selected.

The band’s current membership includes lead vocalist Roy “Dusty” Rogers, Jr., the son of the beloved singing cowboy; lead guitarist Tommy Nallie; multi-talented tenor Ken Latimore, who plays guitar, fiddle and ukulele; rhythm guitarist and baritone John Fullerton; fiddler Paul Elliot; and Chuck Ervin on upright bass.

In addition to a nostalgic trip down memory lane, the Sons of the Pioneers concert here was also a reminder that we’re accustomed to hearing western tunes accompanied by a single guitar more often than not. Hearing those songs performed by multiple instruments played by gifted musicians was a revelation about the rich legacy of western music.

The Son of the Pioneers concert was part of the 2021-2022 National Touring Season planned by the Cache Valley Center for the Arts at the Elllen Eccles Theatre.

CacheARTS is an independent non-profit organization that promotes the use of Cache Valley’s publicly owned cultural arts facilities.

Those facilities include the Ellen Eccles Theatre, the Thatcher-Young Mansion and the Bullen Center.

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