Meet Rich Flanders
Fresh Renditions of the Songs of the American Cowboy
Now, I’m not a cowboy, and I don’t own that big spread on the far side of the Divide. But growing up in northern California, the West has always been part of me, and no music is closer to my heart.
Inspiration from Sons of the Pioneers and Other Great Singing Cowboys
The rhythms of the Big Bands, in which my dad played, echoed through the house, as did the blend of The Sons of the Pioneers following every Roy Rogers movie we saw. Their harmonies captured a longing in my soul for vast and distant horizons.
After school in San Mateo I could walk over to the Borel Riding Stables, hire a horse and ride in the hills of the Coast Range, and the spell of the West grew with every family trip to the Rockies, the Sierras and the Black Hills. Like many boys of that time, in my heart I lived on that ranch on the big screen with Roy and The Sons of the Pioneers.
Each summer between semesters at college, I set out to hitchhike through the West, seeking adventure, or maybe seeking that mythical ranch. Along the way I picked up work - helping a cowman build his home high up in the White Mountains of Arizona, picking fruit in a northern California valley, helping out at a lonely crossroads store. With enough pocket money, I’d take off again across the open country of the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, finding back roads, little towns and big ranches. One memorable afternoon I found myself on the Cheyenne Reservation – strictly forbidden - among the descendants of those Cheyenne who had helped the Sioux wipe out Custer in 1876. A wrong turn had deposited me on their land in Montana, not all that far from the Little Big Horn. The Coca Cola delivery man spotted me on the road, and instead of being picked up for trespassing I got to spend a magical few hours with a people I had long felt drawn to but would never otherwise have been privileged to experience.
Songs Celebrating the Beauty of the Wild
Along the way I heard some great songs, and while I have performed many kinds of music, from Broadway to doo-wop (Read my BIO here.) the songs I sing to myself are mostly the ones on RIDE AWAY and YONDERING, songs celebrating the beauty of the wild.
Some of the songs are brand new; some are well-known classics. Most are very timely. Creating imaginative arrangements of these songs for the wide audience they deserve has been deeply rewarding. I hope you love YONDERING and RIDE AWAY as much as we loved making them.
The New "Cowboy Bob"
The folks at Rubber Chicken Cards took a liking to YONDERING and asked me to step into the roles of "Cowboy Bob" and "Woody Guppie." Rubber Chicken Cards are some of the most original card-toons on the internet, and I invite you to drop by www.rubberchickencards.com and check out the "Cowboy Bob" Passover and Christmas #2 card-toons, as well as the Missing You with "Woody Guppie." "Cowboy Bob" and "Woody Guppie" are just two of the characters in the zany gallery at the Rubber Chicken website, and I am honored to be a new cast member for their heartful, hilarious e-cards.
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