Playing the classics, the Sons of the Pioneers set to take Red Deer Memorial Centre stage

Playing the classics, the Sons of the Pioneers set to take Red Deer Memorial Centre stage

They may draw a largely older crowd, but fans of The Big Lebowski should be able to recognize at least one song from the Sons of the Pioneers.

A band that has spanned more than 80 years of music, the lineup has changed a lot over the years. But the songs haven’t, said “trail boss” Tommy Nallie.

“We still do a lot of the same arrangements,” said Nallie. “It always brings a smile to the audience’s face to hear the old songs they usually know the words to.

“One of the biggest compliments we get is when you see a gentleman in his 70s and 80s and he’d come up after the show and say ‘I’ve listened to the Sons of the Pioneers all my life, this is the first chance I’ve had to see you live and it still sounds the same.’”

Tumbling Tumbleweeds, a staple of the band, was made famous by a 1935 Gene Autry film of the same name. Then, more than 50 years later, it was a part of The Big Lebowski’s score.

The band dates back to the 1930s when Roy Rogers (Leonard Sly), Tim Spencer, Hugh Farr and Canadian-born Bob Nolan started recording together. They appeared in more than 87 films as well as movie shorts and a television series. Their music has appeared in films such as Rio Grande, Pecos Bill and The Searchers.

They will perform on Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Red Deer Memorial Centre, 4214 58th St.

“It’s never stopped,” said Nallie. “As one member retired, they replaced him with someone who wants to do the job and that’s what we want to do, just keep the legacy going.”

Recently they were invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, an experience Nallie said was “nice.”

“When we were all younger we’d listened to the music and it’s quite an honour to be part of it,” said Nallie.

Other songs the band is known for include Cool Water and Don’t Fence Me In.

Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased through the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre by calling 1-403-755-6626 or 1-800-661-8793 or online at

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