Western Underground mixes the old and the new huge outdoor concert on Aug. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
There are still people out there who are unaware that Western Underground is Chris LeDoux's band. They are the rock and roll rodeo sound that helped make LeDoux famous. Mark Sissel on guitar said, "A lot of people aren't aware that we follow that same tradition we gained in 16 years of traveling with Chris. We try to play to that fan base and we have plenty of Chris in the show. Our new CD 'Unbridled' is just our new music.
"We stay true to our western core and follow that same tradition. Rodeo rock and roll is what we are good at. Chris' son Ned LeDoux sings a song on "Unbridled" for his dad. We haven't heard him sing much so we put that song on there. We also have a video with the show. We started the show to say a farewell to Chris the summer of the year he passed away. After that summer, we decided to continue. Chris always told us to go out and be a band. So we decided to go with it. The video we show behind the band, makes it special for Chris' fans. We love to have Chris' fans come out so we can prove to them, that we are still an act to see.
"When you travel with someone as legendary as Chris LeDoux, it's hard without him. But, a portion of our show is still dedicated to Chris and we mix in our new music. I really like our new music. We hope Chris' fans will come out and see us.
"We have Dustin Evans on vocals and he opened for Chris and the band probably 20 times over the years. Dustin's dad had recorded a record on Chris' label so we knew Dustin quite well. Dustin was worried about people thinking he was trying to fill Chris' shoes. Dustin does a great job performing Chris' material and his own material as well. We have Bobby Jensen on keyboard, Ned LeDoux on drums and KW Turnbow on drums. The bass player is Lyle Evans. Our band members are from all over. We have two from the Salt Lake area, Lyle is from Boise, Ned is from Wyoming, three from Nashville. Chris settled in Wyoming, but he was born in Biloxi, Miss. He ended up in Cheyenne. He loved it there. His other son, Will travels with us and sells our merchandise and Chris LeDoux memorabilia shirts and CDs.
"Bobby and I are from the original bunch, and KW Turnbow came about a year and a half after that. Ten years later Lyle Evans joined and in 1998 Ned joined. KW was in a car wreck and was out for seven months so Ned came and drummed with us then and just stayed after KW came back. So, we have been playing all together as a group for seven years. We have had a slight variation of players over the years, but no one ever left. We had one guy retire, but we've never fired anyone and we all work well together.
"Chris passed away in March of 2005. It took a couple of months before we could even get together and talk about it. Everyone was so close to Chris. It was a devastating loss for everyone involved. But, Chris had always encouraged us to be a band. We decided to have a memorial tour for Chris and we had 11 shows. We just played Chris' music and made it a farewell. But, the response from the fans was so favorable. They were glad we were carrying on and they encouraged us to continue. We thought, 'maybe this will work,' so we continued. We made our own record, found our own material. We toured in 2006 and 2007 and we're back this year. We are still plugging along. We are like a family. It's hard to break up a family. It was hard to think of never seeing our great fans again. After this many years and repeat performances we really got to know the fans. The fans have been a big help with the video. There's a man in Phoenix who does all our video work for free. He just wanted to see us continue so he kicked in and helped. We have been writing some of our own material and some of our friends have material we've picked up on.
"We've had a lot of people who love the new music and they write in and tell their stories of how the songs have affected them. One of the songs, 'Think about Rain' is about the drought and how people are suffering. The song addresses that and some people have written in and said they felt like that song was written for them. It touched them. If people can relate to the songs and feel them, then we've done a good job.
"Another song, 'King of Wyoming,' relates what it was like for me running with Chris. Chris was an extraordinary character. If a song touches someone then that's a good song. If you can create an emotion then that's the best thing to do with music. We all categorize our lives with music. Everything ties to a song. Chris wrote a lot of his own material early on and then he let good writers do most of the work. His life was rodeo and cowboys. He stayed true to his character. People just kept coming back to see him.
"We want to encourage everyone to come out to the concert on Aug. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Heck, it's free what do you have to lose? Come out and get fired up. Just have fun. Utah is a special place. It is one of our best markets, everyone here just loved Chris and Chris loved it here. We are doing 25-30 shows this year. Mostly in the summer, fairs and festivals. We always do a stockshow in Denver in January and we always play somewhere at the rodeo finals in Las Vegas. We were at Country Jam in June. I don't think anyone has played Country Jam in Grand Junction more than us. We've been there 13 out of the last 15 years," said Sissel.
It's free, it's fun, it's outdoors behind the rodeo arena at the Castle Dale fairgrounds on Aug. 2 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Bleachers will be set up or you can bring your own blankets and chairs.
The show will begin with the newly crowned Miss Emery royalty performing and then opening act Gwen Sebastian. Western Underground will headline the event.
Desertview Federal Credit Union will be giving away a free cruise along with $500 spending money to a lucky concert goer. Enter at the fair on Saturday or at the credit union offices in Huntington or Ferron.
The Emery County Progress, and Desertveiw Federal Credit Union will also be giving away Lagoon tickets to those attending the concert.