Tonight’s concert with Riders In The Sky and the Nashville Symphony was a pure delight, start to finish.
They’re recording a live CD during this three-night run, and those attending the concert had the opportunity to pre-order an autographed copy accompanied by a 30th-anniversary RITS pin. I sprung for it before the concert, and was even gladder I did after the concert.

It’s funny but, as “Ranger Doug” Green stated in an interview in this month’s program, as the years go on the band members just look more and more like real cowboy stars. Woody Paul, particularly, looks like an old western star.

My parents enjoyed the concert as well, particularly my father, who loves that style of music but has had only a vague familiarity with the group.

The first part of the concert, with just the symphony, was fine as well. Kelly Corcoran (“Cowgirl Kelly,” as the Riders referred to her) conducted western-themed film scores from “The Cowboys” and “Dances With Wolves,” as well as selections from Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo.” I love anything by Aaron Copland. Of course, I’m so pop-culture oriented that I still think of the fourth Copland selection they played, “Hoe-Down,” as the “Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner” theme.

It’s the cowboy way, as Ranger Doug would say.

The Idol of American Youth, et al

The Nashville Symphony announced its 2008-2009 schedule today. Even though it’s more than a year from now, I may have to try to figure out some way to attend this pops concert, either through my symphony connections or by getting my parents to get an extra ticket for that night’s concert when they make their reservations for next year. (They have had a ticket package with the symphony for several years now.)

My brother and I went to see Riders In The Sky at a taping of their public radio show, “Riders’ Radio Theatre,” many years ago at TPAC. Here’s how long ago: their guest star for one of the two episodes taped that night was a young up-and-coming country star. Michael and I looked at each other and said something like, “Wow — he’s good.”

His name was Garth something-or-the-other.