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Sunday, February 24, 2008 PRIOR ISSUE   -   ARCHIVES
Riders In The Sky Perform Riverside, B.J. Thomas Center Stage At Tropicana Express, 'The Man In Black' Show Headlines Harrah's, 'Big Band Dance' Invades, When We Were Fab Beatle Tribute, Laughlin River Stampede Coming, More...

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Jackie Brett
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For 30 years, the original members of Riders In The Sky have been the keepers of the flame passed on by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, and revitalizing the old country western genre. While remaining true to the integrity of Western music, they have become modern-day icons by branding the genre with their own legendary wacky humor and way-out Western wit. The group will be performing in Don's Celebrity Theatre at the Riverside, March 5-9, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $28.

Riders In The Sky's first official public performance was Nov. 11, 1977, at the Nashville nightspot Phranks & Steins. As a classic cowboy quartet, the trail has led them to heights they could have never predicted. Riders have chalked up more than 5,000 concert appearances in all 50 states and 10 countries, appearing in venues everywhere from the Nashville National Guard Armory to Carnegie Hall.

Their cowboy charisma and comedic flair landed them their own weekly show on TNN, as well as a Saturday morning series on CBS and countless TV appearances. Their animated likenesses have shared the screen with Daffy Duck on the Cartoon Network, and the Disney Channel's Stanley. They have penned award winning songs for their own albums, and written the score for Pixar Animation's 2002 Academy Award-winning short For the Birds. They composed the theme song for the Internet cartoon show Thomas Timberwolf.

The animated character they are most linked to is the loveable cowboy Woody, as Riders performed Woody's Round Up in Toy Story 2, with the album of the same name garnering Riders their first Grammy Award in 2001 for "Best Musical Album for Children." Two years later, Riders roped their second Grammy in the same category, for Monsters Inc. - Scream Factory Favorites, the companion CD to Pixar's award-winning movie.

Riders have been the Western Music Association's "Entertainers of the Year" seven times, and won "Traditional Group of the Year" and "Traditional Album of the Year" multiple times. The Academy of Western Artists has named them "Western Music Group of the Year" twice in five years, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has bestowed Riders with their Wrangler Award statuette three times.

B.J. Thomas will take over the stage in the Pavilion Showroom at the Tropicana Express on March 15. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $25 and $35.

Young Billy Joe adopted the nickname, B.J., when there were too many young men with the name of Billy Joe on his Little League baseball team. After being convinced by his older brother Jerry to audition for a local band, The Triumphs, he became the group's lead singer. The group's version of the Hank Williams tune, I'm So Lonesome, I Could Cry, caught the ear of young promoter Steve Tyrell, who talked Scepter Records into releasing the song nationally and Thomas became one of Scepter Records most successful solo artists.

Soon after becoming a solo artist, B.J. met his wife Gloria in Houston and they were married on Dec. 9, 1968, in Las Vegas, Nev.

During the four decades Thomas has performed, he has sold more than 70 million records, earned two Platinum records, had 11 Gold records, and won five Grammy Awards. He's had 15 Top 40 pop/rock hits which include Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head, and Hooked On A Feeling and 10 Top 40 country chart hits. Thomas became the 60th member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1981, and has been the only artist ever to have the "Song Of The Year" on the pop, country and gospel charts.

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Johnny Cash's music has spanned some five decades and crossed several generations. Today, Brown Productions presents an authentic recreation of the music and the man with The Man In Black Show starring Shawn Barker and W.S. Holland. Barker's uncanny resemblance and astounding voice captures the true essence of Johnny Cash, who passed away on Sept. 12, 2003. The Man in Black Show will be appearing in the Fiesta Showroom at Harrah's, March 27-31. Tickets for the 8 p.m. nightly shows plus a 10 p.m. show on Saturday range from $22.95 to $32.95.

Barker recreates the presence of the legendary performer, not only through his music, but also with his storytelling, and from the moment he takes the stage with a guitar slung over his back. The show also features a back up band of seasoned professionals and two talented back up singers.

Starring with Barker is W.S. "Fluke" Holland, one of Cash's original band members. Holland performed with Cash from 1960 until 1997, recording such classics as Folsom Prison Blues, A Boy Named Sue and Ring of Fire, and was one of the men behind the unique Cash sound.

The Big Band Dance with the Colvin Rampton Orchestra will be featured in Don's Celebrity Theatre on Monday, March 3. With the onset of dance-offs and dancing reality shows, the popularity of ballroom dancing is on the rise. This show covers all types of music for different dance styles. The event begins at 5:15 p.m. and tickets are $15.

The Colvin and Rampton behind the name of the orchestra are Jeff Colvin on guitar and Dale Rampton on drums, two musicians whose credentials include playing with the likes of the Benny Goodman Orchestra, Johnny Mathis, The Harry James Orchestra, Tony Bennett, Michael Feinstein and The Glenn Miller Orchestra, among many others.

When We Were Fab is a Beatle tribute show that will take place on March 8 at the Aquarius Outdoor Amphitheater at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Mary Wilson of the Supremes is headlining from Feb. 26-March 2 at the Riverside in Don's Celebrity Theatre. The lovely real life "Dreamgirl" has been a part of dozens of hit records, written a best-selling autobiography, performed on stage and screen, lectured and toured the world, and continues to be looked up to as a singer who set the standard for females in the recording industry. Tickets for her 7 p.m. shows are $32.

The Comedy Shop at the River Palms continues to rotate a noteworthy lineup of three stand-up comics weekly. Tickets for the 8 p.m. shows, Monday through Saturday, are $14.95 and $19.95. Scheduled from Feb. 25-March 1 is Carole Montgomery, Don Barnhart and Joe Lowers.

The next big city-wide event is the Laughlin River Stampede, March 27-30. This will be the 14th year for the four-day PRCA rodeo featuring the top cowboys in the world competing for more than $225,000 in prize money.

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