It was on the Festival Express tour that the New Riders of the Purple Sage became acquainted with Cage. The New Riders were a psychedelic influenced country rock band that had been founded by Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, along with John Dawson and David Nelson. The New Riders and the Dead would perform concerts together, with Garcia playing pedal steel for the New Riders, then playing electric guitar and singing with the Dead. Near the end of 1971, Garcia left the New Riders, enabling them to headline their own concert tours. Buddy Cage was invited to join the band as Garcia's replacement.
Cage was the New Riders' pedal steel guitar player from 1971 to 1982, except for a period of about a year in the late 1970s. The New Riders were quite popular. They toured extensively, and released a number of albums. During this same period Cage continued working as a session musician, recording with various musical artists, including David Bromberg and Robert Hunter. In 1974, Bob Dylan asked him to play on recording sessions for the album Blood on the Tracks.
In the years after Cage's departure from the New Riders, he continued working with many different bands and musicians, including Solar Circus, Stir Fried, the Brooklyn Cowboys, the Zen Tricksters, and Mike Gordon.
The New Riders of the Purple Sage, led by John Dawson, but without Buddy Cage or David Nelson, had continued touring and recording albums from 1982 until Dawson's retirement from the music business in 1997. In 2005, Cage and Nelson re-formed the New Riders of the Purple Sage. The band continues to perform concerts throughout the United States. They have released three albums — Wanted: Live at Turkey Trot, Where I Come From, and 17 Pine Avenue. Cage is also still working as a session musician with other artists, including collaborations with Boris Garcia, George Hamilton IV, and Richard Buckner.
^Liner notes for Hard Times – Mickey McGivern & the Mustangs Featuring Billy Adams (Arc #766), 1967. "Buddy Cage at a tender age of 21 is considered one of North America's No.1 steel, lead guitarists. Buddy, a Torontonian, demonstrates why on this recording."