Sons of the Pioneers return to Prescott
The names may change, the times may change, the culture may change, sensibilities may change, but in all that change, the sound stays the same. Since its inception in 1933, the Sons of the Pioneers haven't changed their sound and on Friday, May 8, the group will present that sound that has gone unchanged for 80 years at the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center.
Group member Tommy Nallie has been in the group since the 1980s, along with his brother Luther, who has been performing since 1968. Tommy said he ended up in the group because he knew them, they knew he played and an opening came up.
"I came in and filled in with them for a week and they offered me the job," Tommy said. "I was with them for quite a few years. I had to leave for a few years in the middle because of a sickness in the family, then I rejoined and I've been back ever since."
Tommy called it a real pleasure to play in a western group, stating the country sounds of today are different than the music the Sons of the Pioneers plays. He said the group tries to keep it the same as it has always been. He said that people who grew up watching Roy Rogers and the Pioneers on television and listening to them on the radio expect to hear the same sound. Tommy said that not changing and keeping the sound the same is enjoyable to him.
The difference between the sound that comes from the Sons of the Pioneers and today's country, Tommy said is that the latter is getting away from the traditional country. However, the former still plays the same arrangements that it started with.
"There were some real nice arrangements that the guys came up with many years ago and if a new member comes in, we teach them the same arrangements," Tommy said. "People say they heard the group 30 to 40 years ago and it had a lot of the different members in it... and it still sounds the same. That's what we're after."
Tommy said that for those that listen to the group, life was simpler when they were younger and home with their parents, listening to the group on the radio. He said that when they come and hear them and the same sound, it gives them a warm feeling and takes them back to when they were kids.
"It's just a happy feeling that they get," he said.
The Sons of the Pioneers will be at the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center, located at 117 E. Gurley St., on Friday May 8. Showtime is at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $30 for seniors, $32 for adults and $45 for opera box seats and are available online at www.prescottelkstheater.com or by calling (928) 777-1370. Tickets are also available at the door one hour prior to showtime.
Follow Jason on Twitter @PrescottWheels.