Notable bands to play at Rand Old West Days

Notable bands to play at Rand Old West DaysBy LAURA QUEZADA

News Review Staff Writer There is something for everyone at Randsburg Old West Days: a car show, a bike show, parades, kids’ games with prizes, soda pop, beer, cocktails, food, ice cream, an array of vendors, a petting zoo and an Old West reenactment show. Within this environment there is live music to suit just about everyone.

Saturday and Sunday The Fulcos, a family band who feature music from the 1950’s through the 2000’s, are performing from 10am until 1pm outside of The Joint. On Saturday, Ridgecrest classic rock band, Diamondbacks, will be playing at The Cottage Hotel from 11am-4pm. Touring country band, The Reeves Brothers, will take the stage outside of The Joint from 1:30pm to 5:30pm. Local favorites, Station Street with their classic rock, R&B, swing, country and pop tunes close out Saturday night outside The Joint from 6pm-9pm. Sunday afternoon has a treat from 1:30pm to 5:30pm with music by Outlaws and Angels, a high energy Southern Rock Country band.

Ridgecrest native, Tex Whitson, a music industry veteran who once managed Merle Haggard, helped secure two highly acclaimed bands who have toured nationally: The Reeves Brothers and Outlaws & Angels. Tex has deep fondness for Randsburg and Ridgecrest. He says, “I wanted to help Hollie (Shotwell, who lines up entertainment). I was trying to find someone who likes our town as much as I do and could appreciate it as much as I do.”

Matt Reeves, of the Reeves Brothers who play Saturday afternoon, took a break from their tour during a recording session in Houston, Texas to talk about his band and their music, which he describes as “Merle Haggard meets Alabama.” Reeves says, “We are carrying on country music. We are trying to be the keeper of the key for it.”

Their efforts have been recognized. In 2018 they received the Ameripolitan Award for Honky Tonk Group of the Year at a ceremony at the Guest House in Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. There were about 1,000 people there in a venue filled with country stars. “I didn’t expect to win,” says Reeves. “I was actually out smoking a cigarette when they called our name. Someone came running out and said, ‘You better get in there!’”

Brothers Matt and Cole Reeves head up the band, singing and playing guitars. They are joined by Kelly Bishop on bass and Kevin Skrla on drums.

There was always music in the Reeves household growing up. “We were both in our dad’s band. I started in our dad’s band when I was 14 and took the place of the lead guitar player. About four years later Cole started playing bass for him.” Yet they both pursued solo careers, Matt in Arkansas and Cole in Nevada. Then in 2013 they were encouraged by their mutual manager to form a band. “It has been good,” says Matt. “Cole had Kelly Bishop who is still with us. Cole and Kelly moved to Arkansas and we have been going ever since.”

The Reeves Brothers have three albums under their belt, “Sweet Home Honky Tonk,” “King of Country Music,” and “The Last Honky Tonk” which is available to purchase on their website: thereevesbrothers.com.

This will be their first appearance at Old West Days. “It is going to be great,” says Matt. “Tex has been trying to get us up there the last two or three years. We are super excited. Ridgecrest is one of our favorite towns. We love everybody. We typically play Partners out there, we have done that five or six times now.”

Outlaws & Angels bring their high energy mix of rockin’ country, southern rock, classic rock and blues to the stage outside of The Joint on Sunday afternoon. “We want to make sure you have as good of a time as we do, and we have a good time,” says Pat Dalton, lead vocalist and songwriter for the band. “We play everything from Travis Tritt to Stevie Ray Vaughn and a whole lot of Leonard Skynard.”

Every member of the band sings and plays an instrument. Pat Dalton on guitar, Angel Mullif on bass, Paul Mills on lead guitar, Ted Champaign on keyboards, and David Vorce on drums. “All of the band are seasoned professionals,” says Dalton. “ Angel is a real highlight of the band, she played on the road and in Nashville for many years. We are more of a concert band. We are interactive with the crowd; if the crowd line-dances, Angel will jump out and join in with her bass and I will do the same thing.”

The band has been together for twenty years or so. Dalton, Champaign and Vorce have been together since the very beginning. Before Angel joined the band four years ago, they were known as The Dalton Gang and amassed some pretty good credits.

With a referral from Tex, Dalton wrote the theme song for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. A year and half later, Dalton was tapped to write the theme song for the XFL Football league. “They asked me to write something similar to what Hank Jr. wrote for the NFL. They wanted me because they said I was like Hank Jr. on steroids,” he laughs. Also to their credit is a song which was the opening of an HBO movie, “Poker Run,” which is now on Netflix. Dalton describes it as “a chainsaw massacre biker movie.”

We can look forward to a tour in the near future. “We just got a national sponsor,” says Dalton. “ A drink called Long Drink. They have been around since the 50’s but not in the USA. They are now in seven states. It will probably take us a few months to put together a tour. I had never had the drink before. It is a gin based drink, kind of like a gin and grapefruit drink.”

Dalton is looking forward to Old West Days and taking some time to explore the desert. “I looked it up and I’ve heard about it. I do know a little bit about Ridgecrest due to Tex and I have friends in the area that are horse people. I’ve heard so much about it over the years, when Tex said, ‘They have a festival out there with the Wild West Days, would you consider going out there to play?’ I said, ‘I’d be honored to to out there and play. Are you kidding? I’ll take the band there.’ It sounds like an incredible time. It looks totally fun. I loved the westerns growing up. When I was a kid it was the wild west. I am looking forward to seeing the Old West Reenactments.”

Pat Dalton and Outlaws & Angels music are available at all online outlets. You can learn more about them on their webpage: https://www.patdaltongang.com/

Old West Days kicks off on Friday night, September 17 at the Joint with Donny Ray Pryor and the Red Light Bandits. Saturday and Sunday mornings begin at 8am with a pancake breakfast. Vendors and activities begin at 10am. The Pancake Breakfasts benefit the Rand Desert Museum, Old West Days benefits the Historic Cemetery in Johannesburg.

Courtesy photo: Outlaws & Angels bring high energy music to Old West Days.

Story First Published: 2021-09-17