Two or three times a year, the Grammy-award winning cowboy quartet Riders in the Sky performs with a symphony orchestra as part of a Pops series. However, when the band joined the Nashville Symphony Orchestra for three sold-out performances at Schermerhorn Hall in February 2009, it was a unique experience decades in the making.

Riders in the Sky formed in 1977 and is based in Nashville, yet it was the first time the band played with its hometown orchestra for a hometown crowd.

Under the baton of celebrated conductor Kelly Corcoran, the orchestra provides lush symphonic accompaniment and subtle touches to concert staples such as “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” “Cool Water,” and “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky.” The big, blended sound was well-rounded and never overwhelmed the arrangement.

Judging by the enthusiastic crowd reaction, the performances were a high-water mark for the Riders in the Sky. The spirit of those wonderful nights shines through on this live concert release.

“It’s the best we’ve ever done,” says singer and guitarist Ranger Doug. “It was a rush for all of us.”

—David Wolfe

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