Bringing the beautiful message of Christmas to the Spencer stage - cowboy style- are the world famous Flying J Wranglers of Alto. These longtime Lincoln County entertainers celebrate the heritage of the west and the spiritual wealth of the holiday season with rich melodious western yodeling, vocals, fiddle and guitars in soaring renditions of spirituals like "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and "Beautiful City," and old time cowboy Christmas tunes like "Corn, Water and Wood," "Christmas For Cowboys" and "Yuletide Yodel." The exceptional beauty of songs like "Virgén María" and "Mary Did You Know?" resonates with power, as do new works like an a-cappella version of the traditional religious carol "The First Noel." (The latter is included in the Flying J Wrangler's most recent western flavored Christmas CD). Rounding off the night's repertoire are Flying J originals like James' "Riding to Ruidoso" and "White Mountain Christmas"; sizzling hot western instrumentals and ballads, and lots of down-home Flying J Wrangler humor for which the Flying J Wranglers have long won acclaim.
The outstanding performance group appear in concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, December 13. Excellent seats are available for $30 at the Spencer Theater Box Office. Call 336-4800 or go online to www.spencertheater.com for ticket information.
The Flying J Wranglers are master musicians and entertainers who've showcased original western harmonies, instrumentals and comedy to over 44,000 summertime visitors at their Flying J Ranch (chuck wagon & stage show) for 30 years. Their Christmas show, first staged in 2001 and refreshed with new songs & comedy each holiday season, is now toured to a dozen-plus western towns and cities including gigs in Amarillo, Abilene, Lubbock, New Braunfels, and El Paso, Texas; Alamogordo and Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Adored by many for their authenticity and commitment to western heritage and humor, the Flying J Wranglers were established in 1982 by rhythm guitarist James Hobbs, whose grandfather founded the N.M. city of Hobbs. James is an accomplished singer and songwriter whose works glow with lovely sentiments and gentle lyricism. His ballad, Song of New Mexico, listed by the Academy of Western Artists as one of the top 10 Western Songs in the 1990's, has twice been nominated by state legislators to be the official state song.
James' wife Cindy, the Wrangler's main vocalist, is distinguished by her powerful and beautiful three-octave voice. A Tennessee native, she is a Western Style Female National Yodeling champion and has been nominated twice as Best Female Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists. She
is also a brilliant jester, channeling up mock regional characters whose good-natured absurdities have become as famous as the group's harmonies.
Multi-instrumentalist RAndy Jones is considered one of most skilled and versatile musicians in the entire region, an absolute virtuoso on guitar, mandolin, banjo and dobro. Randy is also a strong vocal performer who many in the Ruidoso area remember from his 15-year career with the "Moon Pie Dance Band" of El Paso, Texas, a regional favorite.
California native Corinna Ripple first joined the Wranglers in the summer of 2007. She is a talented vocalist, harmony singer, and outstanding fiddle player all wrapped up in a 5' 1'' package with an infectious laugh and a great big smile! Corinna, who graduated in 2009 with a degree in commercial music from South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, was honored as the school's Female Instrumentalist of the Year in Bluegrass Music and Bluegrass Vocalist, and as Female Instrumentalist of the Year in Country and Western Swing.
Colton Boyles, the group's acoustic bass guitarist, is the newest member of the Wrangler's, having joined the band this past summer season. Hailing from Lubbock, Texas, he started playing right handed guitars backwards as soon as he was old enough to hold them, but moved on to a left handed guitar at age 13. Following high school, Colton performed with college buddies in the bands Garagemajal (drums) and with Spirits of Music, playing bass guitar and singing lead vocals. His mastery of music includes sound technology, and when not singing with the Wranglers, he works freelance as a sound technician and is an independent commercial and residential insurance claims adjuster. Colton enjoys studying conspiracy theories, economic history and nutrition. He is also the son-in-law of James & Cindy.
Baritone singer Greg Meeks is a former member of the Western music group, Sagebrush Sounds, out of the Panhandle of Texas. He is a life-long friend of James, and grew up in a farming and ranching family which helped feed his love for Western and Gospel Music. Whether he is singing the high tenor, the lead harmony, the classic Western baritone, or chipping in a bass part on a gospel song, you never know where Greg will turn up in the show. The retired school teacher (a 33 year career!) started working at the Wranglers' ranch primarily in PR and parking lot administration about six years back, but became a full-time singer with the group three years ago.