OURAY – The Diamond W Wranglers, known as “the band that took cowboy music to Carnegie Hall and the Great Wall of China,” play their classic American music at Ouray’s Wright Opera House this Thursday through Saturday, June 12-14. Show time each night is 7 p.m.; Ouray residents John and Virginia Ast organized the visit.
The Wranglers’ material ranges from old trail songs to original material; the repertoire ranges from the classic “Cool Water” to “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” to “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” as well as classic cowboy trail songs. Tight harmonies and polished banter make this a show the whole family can enjoy.
“I’m not sure if we’re cowboy singers who do comedy, or standup comics who also sing cowboy music,” said bass player Orin Friesen. “We just like to have a good time and spread the fun to our audiences.” Friesen, Stu Stuart and Jim Farrell founded the band in 1999 when they got together to perform at the Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper on a Kansas cattle ranch. Soon, fourth member Steve Crawford joined them, playing drums and percussion.
The group plays, on average, 200 shows a year and has recorded 11 albums.
Guitarist Farrell, who says he loves the complex chord changes and close harmonies of Western music, owns and operates his own recording studio, where he produces and engineers albums for everyone form Rex Allen Jr. to Roy Rogers Jr. Stuart, the group’s lead singer, lead guitarist and fiddler, is the grandson of Hal Stuart, who first recorded the cowboy classic “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”
Bass player Friesen recalls how, as a child, he sang to his horse and the cattle as he rode fences and counted the beef cattle his family raised in Nebraska. “I was too shy to sing to people,” he says, “but I didn’t have a problem singing to the cows. And it didn’t seem to bother them.” For a dozen years, Friesen’s syndicated bluegrass show was aired on radio stations from coast to coast.
Drummer Crawford, known as “Stevie C, the Rhythmic Cowboy,” picked up his interest in music from his mother, who was an accomplished pianist and organist. While in grade school, he began acting, singing and playing the French horn. When he’s not performing, Crawford works on his “quick draw” skills as an architect.
Tickets for all performances are $20, general admission, and available through www.tellurideticket.com.