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YONDERING - Songs of the American West

Nominated ALBUM OF THE YEAR, 2008, Academy of Western Artists
Winner, WILL ROGERS COWBOY AWARD, Best Song ("Blue Prairie”)


YONDERING, the CD, contains fifteen authentic American cowboy favorites, plus an original song about a new frontier. 

In this album we’ve created fresh renditions of timeless songs of the Western wilderness, evoking far horizons and freedom under endless skies. Some of the songs are well-known; some deserve to be better known. Musical Medicine, the newsletter of The Inner Harmony Health Center summed up the album: “The music of Yondering reaches deep into the heart, bringing a sense of peace in an unsettling world. In the tradition of the great cowboy singers - The Sons of the Pioneers, Rex Allen and Roy Rogers - these are fresh, authentic, lushly textured renderings of the most beautiful songs of the wide open spaces.”

Album Credits 
Rich Flanders: Lead & Harmony Vocals 
Ken DeAngelis (guitars, accordion, additional vocals) 
Rachel Handman (fiddle)
Barry Wiesenfeld (bass) 
Julie Ziavras (additional vocals) 
Arrangements: Ken DeAngelis & Rich Flanders 
Engineering, Mixing, Mastering: Ken DeAngelis, JAZ Music Productions, Inc. 
Produced by JAZ Music Productions, Inc.


Blue Shadows on the Trail (4:00)

Written by Johnny Lange & Elliot Daniel – Ever since I saw the 1948 Walt Disney film, Melody Time, with Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers narrating and singing the saga of Pecos Bill, Blue Shadows has been one of my favorite western songs. The group sang this during Pecos Bill’s lone ride through the moonlit desert. Blue Shadows is a tone poem of the West, forever capturing its mystic beauty.

The Timber Trail (2:16)

Written by Tim Spencer – Here is one of the heartiest, happiest celebrations of nature and the beauty of the mountains I know, written by one of the original members of The Sons of the Pioneers. Timber Trail was one of the group’s most requested songs during their concert and rodeo performances, and one of my favorite “riding songs.”

 Blue Prairie (3:12)

This rendition of Blue Prairie was chosen as winner of Best Song in the 2008 Will Rogers Cowboy Award from the Academy of Western Artists.

Written by Bob Nolan & Tim Spencer – Another founding member of The Sons of The Pioneers, Bob Nolan, was also its leading songwriter, composing some of the finest music of the American West. While most famous for Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Nolan wrote many other exquisite songs of the wilderness, such as this plaintive, mystical ballad of the blue nighttime prairie. It’s a pleasure to recreate its lyric beauty for a whole new audience.

Ghost Riders in the Sky (3:50)

Written by Stan Jones – A former forest ranger in Arizona, Stan Jones wrote many fine songs of the West, although he is known chiefly for this classic. Ghost Riders was an enormous hit record in 1949 by such artists as Vaughn Monroe and Frankie Lane, but the composer always preferred the more authentic version by The Sons of the Pioneers. We tried to keep that in mind for this recording! Few songs are as satisfying to perform as this dramatic tale of a spooked cowpoke on a dark and windy mountainside.

Ridin’ Down the Canyon (3:37)

Written by Smiley Burnette/Gene Autry – I love singing this, and you can tell that our magic fiddler, Rachel, loved playing it! In fact, all the musicians fell into the langorous spell of that horse and rider on their sunset ride down the canyon. The pure, simple connection to the grandeur of nature draws me to this classic cowboy song of again and again.

Chant of the Plains (2:18)

Written by Bob Nolan – Another gem from the West’s greatest songwriter. The power and beauty of the pure, unfettered forces of nature are captured in the haunting chant, “Listen to the rhythm of the padded feet…”

Trees (2:26)

Written by Joyce Kilmer & Otto Rasbach - Like many of the songs on this album, this one seems particularly timely. For me, there is nothing more wondrous than a tree. We hope our arrangement of this classic helps stir a new awareness of the special beauty of trees and their place in our world. Dedicated to Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement and Shaklee Corporation’s Million Trees campaign.

Sierra Nevada (3:05)

Written by Joel Herron – This easy, jaunty riding song expresses my favorite sentiment - “Way up high…that’s where I want to be!” Singing it has always kept my spirits high during trying times. I first heard the smooth and laconic version by Jimmy Wakely, then several renditions by The Sons of the Pioneers. Sierra Nevada is one of the most memorable western melodies, and we all loved doing it, I think you can tell!

Cool Water (3:57)

Written by Bob Nolan –Along with Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Cool Water is Bob Nolan’s most famous composition and was a huge hit for The Sons of the Pioneers. Today, it takes on a whole new meaning as climate change continues to bring sustained drought to the American West. More than the tale of a desperate search for water, Cool Water is about a thirst of the soul. We hope this fresh arrangement captures the stark flavor of this relentless quest.

River of No Return (3:41)

Written by Lionel Newman & Ken Darby – From the 1954 movie of the same name, this haunting ballad was sung on soundtrack by Tennessee Ernie and subsequently recorded by The Sons of the Pioneers.  I’ve been singing this lovely lament in the shower and on lonely country roads for years. It’s about time a whole new audience hears it! That stunning female voice you hear belongs to operatic soprano Julie Ziavras (Mrs. Ken DeAngelis).

One More Ride (3:14)

Written by Bob Nolan – Here’s another great riding song from The Sons of the Pioneers that I have always loved singing and yodeling along with. Like many of the songs on this album, singing One More Ride has always spirited me through grey days. What more could a songwriter have hoped for?

All Wild Things (2:14)

Written by Stan Jones – This startling little hymn on behalf of our four-legged kin, written by the same man who wrote Ghost Riders in the Sky, seems particularly timely. I felt it was especially important to get this out to a wider public. Beautiful, but little known, it gently reminds us of the true meaning of stewardship of the earth. “If the wild beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit.” – Chief Seattle

Song of the Trail (1:56)

Written by Stan Jones – Another one I love to sing while on the trail, or even better, while stuck in traffic. Beautifully recorded previously by both the Norman Luboff Choir and by The Sons of the Pioneers, this little gem is a stirring tribute to the rugged beauty of the West and to the harmony between man and nature. Try singing this when you’re feeling caged in!

Man Walks Among Us (4:18)

Written by Marty Robbins – The wild creatures find their voice. Like All Wild Things, this deeply felt song seems to carry special meaning for our time. We hope this little known beauty gains a much wider audience. The fine guitar work by Ken DeAngelis weaves throughout the CD, but especially stands out on this one.

Midnight Skies (3:57)

Music and Lyrics by Rich Flanders © 2007

This song, celebrating the sense of wonder, the diversity and harmony of all of Life, and a vast new frontier, was inspired by a series of experiences in the spring of 2000 while in the field with the “Ambassadors to the Universe” project


Let me wander through the meadows 
Of the teeming midnight skies
Let me feel you walk beside me there
With wonder in your eyes

I only know I feel a call
A pulsing from afar
A longing pounds within my heart
For brothers in the stars

And who’s to say what mystery
Awaits us in the blue?
Or if they seek the mystery 
That shines in me and you?

One Universe, one people
Scattered through the stars!
The promise of the Ages,
We’re becoming who we are!

Feel the glowing heart pound
In every living thing
Through the Universe…
Everlasting Love

From many stars to many lands
Have they come to lend a hand?
The lights are glowing in the sky
And from the ground on which you stand.

And on and on and hand in hand
Across the galaxies
The harmony of all of life,
Divine diversity

One Universe, one people
Scattered through the stars!
The promise of the Ages,
We’re becoming who we are

Feel the glowing heart pound
In every living thing
Through the universe!
Everlasting love

And as I go along my way
My eyes’ll rove the skies
And you may come and you may go
But nothing ever dies

The lights are dancing deep within
And soaring high above
And through the sun, and through the clouds
The everlasting love!

One Universe, one people,
Scattered through the stars!
The promise of the Ages, 
We’re becoming who we are.

Feel the glowing heart pound
In every living thing
Through the Universe,
Everlasting love
The everlasting Love

Tumbling Tumbleweeds (3:21)

Written by Bob Nolan – That five of the sixteen songs on this album were penned by one man, Bob Nolan, is testament to his gift for capturing the eternal spirit and beauty of the American West. One of The Sons of the Pioneers’ greatest hit recordings, Tumbling Tumbleweeds was so popular it became their theme song. Today it is a classic sung the world over. A new world is born at dawn.

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