Riders of the Purple Sage (band)
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The original Riders of the Purple Sage was formed in 1936 by singer and guitarist Buck Page. The group spent three years as the staff band for radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh, performing five hour-long shows each week. In 1938 the band went to New York City and performed on radio station WOR and at various venues such as the famous nightclub called the Village Barn.
It should be also noted that in 1932 there was another "Riders of the Purple Sage" for approximately two years on the West Coast in the L.A. area formed by Jack Dalton.
Buck Page's Riders of the Purple Sage first brought the name and Western three part harmony to the Country on Coast to Coast radio prior to having to end their successful careers during World War II as members fulfilled their military commitments. Later in California, however, a radio DJ and singer from Texas, Foy Willing organized a second band known as Riders of the Purple Sage while Buck Page and his "Riders" were in the military. Willing's band performed in several movies during the 1940s and had a string of hit recordings. It disbanded in 1952.
Page's original Riders of the Purple Sage is often incorrectly credited with the film appearances and recordings by Willing's band, according to Gary Bright of RPS Records, Page's recording label and management. However, it is historically very clear that Buck Page was instrumental in the beginning of what became known as Western Music's flagship cowboy band called the Riders of the Purple Sage.
In the early 1960s, Page, who relocated to California after World War II, once again organized his Riders of the Purple Sage band. This band released three CDs and toured the cowboy festival circuit until c. 2003 when Page disbanded the classic Cowboy/ Western band.
The latest incarnation of the group was formed by former members/employees of Buck Page's "Riders of the Purple Sage". Billed first as "Foy Willing's Riders of the Purple Sage," This group currently plays mostly in Southern California. The band is fronted by Cody Bryant (Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin). He is joined by another past employee of Page, Mike Ley (Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonicas), Evan Marshall (Vocals, Mandolin, Fiddle), Jimmy Harris (Vocals, Bass), and Landon McCoy (Drums)—although the personnel often changes for live concerts.
Buck Page's and Jack Dalton's band derived the name from the title of a Zane Grey novel. In 1932 (when Jack Dalton formed his Riders of the Purple Sage), Buck Page was nine years old, and at 13 when he formed his "Riders of the Purple Sage" coast to coast radio was nonexistent. With Page on the East Coast and Dalton on the West Coast, it is uncertain if either would have had reason to know of each other's band. When Page and his "Riders" were forced to case their instruments to serve in the military, they did so during the peak of their successful live performances and radio appearances. Page's "Riders of the Purple Sage" are credited with establishing great momentum in what was becoming a very popular genre of music in the late 1930s and 1940s.