The Old West Comes to Holstein

Listening to the Sons Of The Pioneers is a little like standing on an exquisitely made Turkish rug – rich and thick. It just feels right. Feels so right a person doesn’t feel inclined to move. Just wants to stand there for the pure pleasure of it. That’s the way folks felt at their concert last Saturday night at the Clausen Center in Holstein.

When The Sons Of The Pioneers sang their songs of “Tumbling Tumbleweeds”, “Ghost Riders in the Sky”, and “Adobe Haciendas”, they brought a quiet hush to the audience. Their renditions are haunting and call across the ages to a time when life was the way we wish it could always be – when we were young at the movies and the guy in the white hat always won. When everything was black and white and good always triumphed in the end.

It’s hard to take the men in this group separately and comment on them one by one. Their mellow harmonies and careful phrasing have melded them into the unified entity they have bee presenting to the public for years. Old members leave; new ones are welcomed in; but the unit – the group goes on. They are like the “cool clear water” they sing about. Always the same – always changing – always there.

And we need them to be. We need the memories, the hopes, the dreams they give us. We also need the occasional kicker like the old preacher who was trying to outrun a bear. He pleaded “If you can’t help me, for goodness sake, don’t help that bear!”. We need to laugh at ourselves a little and we need to put our faith in something larger than ourselves.

Luther and Tommy Nallie, Randy Rudd, Ken Lettimore, Mark Abbott, and Ricky Boen did all that and gave us some amazing riffs along the way. There were a few chorus girl kicks and a tongue in cheek tribute to the BeeGee’s just for fun.

Their performance ended with the iconic farewell, “Happy Trails to You” with the audience joining in on the chorus.

As one young man said on his way out of the theater, “That wasn’t Country – that was Cowboy.”. That about sums up the Sons Of The Pioneers. They are the keeper of the flame that once illumed the Old West. They are, indeed, a national treasure.