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WILL RYAN & the Cactus County Cowboys
���Modern cowboy classics sung by authentic Western characters!���
Will Ryan, ���The King of the Radio Cowboys���, and the Cactus County Cowboys, ���the Band that Won the West���, have been entertaining horses, cattle and people since those dimly remembered, far-off days before the Barack Obama administration. Will and the boys have perplexed audiences near and far with their unique repertoire, their tricky pickin��� and what they proudly call their ���inadvertent humour���. In fact, their first appearance (Will Ryan, backed by Westy and Presto) was at the Golden Boot Awards with Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and a whole slew of Cowboy Legends as their captive audience. Wait. Let���s make that ���captivated audience���.
Meet WILL RYAN
���The King of the Radio Cowboys���, handles guitar, ukulele and song-writing chores when performing with the Cactus County Cowboys. Will is a Westerner who has written hundreds of songs for people like the Pointer Sisters, Patti LaBelle and the O-K Corral Chorale (and for characters like Elmo Aardvark, Tigger, the Grinch and the Muppets). Over the years he���s written many a Cowboy tune and continues doing so, thereby keeping the band in fresh supply of material.
Also known in certain circles as a cineloquist (���voice-actor���, to the layman), Will Ryan has provided dozens of voices in many an Oscar-nominated animated film (e.g. Petrie in ���The Land Before Time���, Seahorse in ���The Little Mermaid���, a dozen characters in ���Thumbelina���, featured roles in ���Looney Tunes: Back in Action!���, Mickey���s Christmas Carol���, etc.). He is also heard in hundreds of episodes of award-winning TV shows (e.g. Tigger and Rabbit in Disney���s long-running ���Welcome to Pooh Corner���, Willie the Giant in the current hit series ���Mickey Mouse Club House���).
And, yup, he played a singing cowboy on Disney���s ���Dumbo���s Circus��� for fifteen years.
The music organization BMI has given Will a Pioneer/Silver Circle Award, the animation industry has given him an Annie Award and the TV industry has awarded him Emmy and Writers Guild Award nominations.
Though he once performed as a percussionist for avant-garde composer John Cage and has appeared as a guest artist with several orchestras (including the Cleveland Orchestra), Will has always felt a whole lot more at home crooning cactus ballads.
Meet the CACTUS COUNTY COWBOYS
The Cactus County Cowboys, ���the Band that Won the West���, are a select group of top musicians hand-picked by Will Ryan. Most of them have been recording with Will for years on TV and movie projects. Together they are the founders and principal perpetrators of the nascent musical/dance style known as ���Cowboy Skiffle���.
Westy Westonhofer, ���the Continental Cowpoke���, plays upright bass, euphonium and tuba, though rarely simultaneously. As a long-time member of the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band, Westy was notable for his refined behavior. Ditto his impersonation of a gentleman in the internationally popular music act, the Palm Springs Yacht Club. Westy is one of the world���s two leading exponents of the emerging musical phenomenon known as Western Bi-Labial Fricitation.
John ���Presto��� Reynolds, ���the Fastest Drawer in the West���, takes care of lead guitar, banjo, jazbo, whistling and the Windsor number two brush. One of the most in-demand acoustic guitarists in Hollywood history, he is also a talented artist. His paintings of strange scenes from every-day life grace the homes of tasteful patrons of art as well as the storage rooms of fine museums throughout the West. Presto is also one of the world���s two leading exponents of the emerging musical phenomenon known as Western Bi-Labial Fricitation (a demonstration of which is a frequent high-point of shows, by the way).
When Will, Westy and Presto join in three-part singing ���the harmonies are so smooth they sound like they came out of a Waring Blendor!��� says critic ���Tex��� McClintock, which just might be a compliment. The three ��� Will, Westy and Presto - are the vocal and instrumental core of Will Ryan and the Cactus County Cowboys.
More CACTUS COUNTY COWBOYS
Frequently playing with the band is Ralf Reynolds, the cowboy who invented the automatic washboard. He handles washboard percussion like Thurston handled disappearing elephants: with stunningly magical finesse!
Another regular on the Cactus County buckboard is Bennie Brydern who, when he���s not busy flabbergasting crowds with hot his fiddle-playing, spends time scoring movies and television shows for American and European producers.
Frequent Guest Star band-member is Ian ���Oxbridge��� Whitcomb, the cowboy who put the West in Westminster Abbey. Having moved to the United States as part of the Great British Pop Music Invasion of the 1960s, he topped the American charts and lived to tell the tale (as the author of over a dozen books on and of music). Ian returns now to his first musical love: Western songs. His hi-falutin��� accent contributes an authentic immigrant flavour to the vocals, while his accordion and ukulele extend extra-added Western punch to the instrumental blend. His virtuoso performance of ���My Horse Likes Accordion Music��� is an audience favourite.
An occasional Guest Star member of the band is Grammy-winning Clark ���Buddy��� Burroughs. Buddy is the lead singer one of the greatest jazz vocal groups in history: the Hi-Los. Winners of the Playboy Jazz Poll five years in a row, the Hi-Los have performed with everyone from Nat ���King��� Cole to Frank Sinatra to you-name-���em, they���ve-worked-with-���em! But before all the Grammies and primetime network shows, Buddy was ridin��� the range with Gene Autry, Gail Davis (TV���s ���Annie Oakley���), Jock Mahoney (TV���s ���Range Rider���) and other familiar Western favorites as a kid actor. Whenever Buddy joins the Cactus County Cowboys line-up, it���s a real joy for all concerned! (A special treat is hearing the band do ���Cowtown���, a song Will Ryan wrote in honor of a film in which Buddy plays Gene Autry���s kid sidekick.)
A recent Guest Star is Johnny Crawford, former Mouseketeer and long-time star the international hit series ���The Rifleman���. Johnny is also a former rodeo star and was even murdered in a movie by John Wayne! So what better way for Johnny, who���s a smooth crooner and an expert rope-twirler, to relax than to sit in with the Cactus County Cowboys?
Another Guest Star in recent performances is Chester Whitmore, the dancer, percussionist, choreographer and film-maker. A prot��g�� of the Kennedy Center Honorees the Nicholas Brothers, Chester is one of the most exciting performers on the scene today. He played a buffalo soldier in the movies, but he gets to be a post-Civil War buckaroo when he sits in with the band.
Will Ryan & the Cactus County Cowboys are the originators and principal perpetrators of the music & dance craze known as ���Cowboy Skiffle���. A happy cross between Western Swing and the ceremonial hi-jinks of the Cuyahauga Indians, Cowboy Skiffle has been declared a clear and present danger to the morals and safety of the youth of our Nation, which clearly bodes well for its continued success.
WILL RYAN & the Cactus County Cowboys ��� Current Activities:
Will Ryan and the Cactus County Cowboy���s first CD, ���Rhythm Rides the Range��� on Audible Records, was released in late 2008 and immediately went tin. We���re not sure what that means either, but it doesn���t sound too bad. Neither does the record, come to think of it!
Undeterred by all the positive reviews and international sales, Will and the boys are back in the studio recording their next CD ���Gallopin��� Guitars!���, due out in May 2009.
Will and the boys hold down the Will Ryan Cactus County Round-Up at Hollywood���s Steve Allen Theatre every month. It���s a wild, unpredictable Western frolic featuring rope-spinning, gun-twirling, surprise guests and lots of great music. It���s become something of an institution in Los Angeles, kind of like City Hall only with chaps and better harmony.
Will Ryan & the Cactus County Cowboys frequently appear at private functions, entering by the front door, and always leaving the mansion as tidy as they find it.
From the CACTUS COUNTY Rumor Mill:
���Will Ryan and the Cactus County Round-Up��� is a radio show heard at various times on various radio stations throughout the West. The Stendigrine Company continues to be its proud sponsor.
Will Ryan is in talks with Maxwell DeMille, A.C. Lyles and Mammoth Motion Pictures regarding a feature film based upon a dream Will once had when he was kicked on the head by his horse Cimarron, the Wonder Horse of the Radio. Strangely enough, Mr. DeMille claims to have had a similar dream when kicked by the same horse. He has offered to let bygones be bygones and not sue for damages if he is allowed to share screenwriting credit. The Writers Guild West is arbitrating and Will and the boys are excited to be working with such a legendary and forgiving figure.
In the meantime, a short film based upon their first CD���s title song ���Rhythm Rides the Range��� featuring Will and the band is about to enter production.