It takes a lot of adventuresomeness to cull up stakes and accord up aggregate a being knows to booty a bound of acceptance and chase a passion, no amount how crazy it sounds to others. But that’s what Pioneer Pepper did aback he traded in his gun and his brand for a guitar and a Stetson and confused his ancestors to the Arizona arid added than 20 years ago.
His dream was to disclose the era of the singing cowboy by acceptable a singing cowboy. Without a bright destination in mind, he and his ancestors headed west to the one abode he knew the music and the affairs would be accepted and cipher would anticipate he was absolutely nuts.
Pioneer Pepper created an “Old West” date appearance forth with the Sunset Pioneers, assuming the music of yesteryear from guys like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Marty Robbins, and groups like the Sons of the Pioneers. The accumulation appeared at the Avi Resort & Casino abounding years ago. Aback that time, the appearance added ball and dancing ladies to the acceptable cowboy music for a absolute ball experience.
He took a chance, adult luck smiled in his favor and it’s a action that has served him able-bodied anytime since.
“I went from cop to singing cowboy,” Pepper said. “I vividly bethink this anamnesis like it happened yesterday. Aback I was a 5-year-old boy, I bethink alert to my father’s old 78 almanac of the song ‘Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds.’ Aback I heard that blemish old song, I instantly fell in adulation with the sounds and aggregate about the era of the singing cowboy.
“I candidly knew that this is what I capital to be aback I grew up,” he added. “But I became a badge administrator aloof west of Chicago, Illinois. I was the primary earnest adjudicator for the county. I never absent a being in all the years of negotiating with barricaded gunmen and earnest situations.
“I formed my aboriginal cowboy bandage aback I was in eighth brand — that’s how abundant I’ve admired this music. Alike aback I was a cop, I had a part-time bandage in the Midwest accomplishing all the old cowboy songs. Again 23 years ago, I abdicate the badge force, went from cop to cowboy and never looked back.
“We confused out actuality to Arizona to be afterpiece to the absolute American West and it’s aloof been incredible,” he said. “When I angry in my two-week notice, anybody said I was nuts.
‘How are you activity to abutment your family?’ they asked. ‘I’m activity to become a singing cowboy,’ I told them and they anticipation I was crazy.
“I had this affection and I took these accomplish of faith. I had my wife, a 2-year-old babyish and a 6-month-old baby, and three dogs,” he said. “We awash every actual control we owned, we awash our abode and furniture, we had a 26-foot biking bivouac that we towed abaft our barter abounding with music accessories and the kids’ stuff. We headed west like the old antecedents and we didn’t alike apperceive breadth we were activity to settle. We took accomplish to chase this affection and I aloof never looked back. What a ride!”
What a ride indeed.
“The appearance now has absolutely evolved,” Pepper said. “Before it was aloof the songs from the Old West, but now we’ve congenital our showgirls that do Western choreography. It’s absolutely added of an Old West date production. It aloof brings aback not alone the music from the era of the singing cowboy, that cornball music, but it additionally brings aback the admirable date shows you’d see in a Gene Autry or Roy Rogers movie. It’s a absolutely alarming show.”
What makes the appearance a continuing success is the musicianship at the actual affection of all of it.
“We’re a five-piece now,” Pepper said. “I accept an accordion player, Doc Bellows, who’s been with me now 16 or 17 years. I accept ‘Perfesser’ Rolland who’s my dabble player. He’s the Arizona State Dabble Champion 17 times and certified analysis U.S. National Oldtime Dabble Champion three times. I’ve got Rowdy Strings on advance guitar and he additionally subs on dabble being as well. He’s toured all over the world. My bass player, Private Lee, who absolutely plays 22 altered instruments, he’s been arena banjo, trumpet and added being during the show.
“My two daughters accomplish as showgirls,” he added. “My oldest daughter, Cassie, is our arch choreography for all our showgirls. She does all the costuming and choreography. My youngest daughter, Calena, dances in the appearance as well. For banquet shows, she’s on the aliment ancillary because she’s a pastry chef at the Four Seasons Resort actuality in Scottsdale.
“My wife does all box appointment stuff, the sales of our CDs and she’s in allegation of the complete and lighting crew, so it’s absolutely acquired into a full-stage production. It’s aloof been incredible.”
In accession to sold-out banquet shows in the Phoenix area, to demography the singing cowboy persona for an all-embracing ride, the Sunset Antecedents accept toured Austria, England, Canada and beyond the U.S. They performed for the “Little Abode On The Prairie” TV appearance alliance at the Western Film Festival, filmed with the BBC-TV for the TV alternation “Only In America” and with the Midwest Country TV Appearance on RFD-TV
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