Chris LeDoux plans to rock Carson City
Chris LeDoux hasn’t given up up the cowboy life to sing about it.
On breaks from building corrals at his Wyoming ranch, he’s preparing for his Friday concert in Carson City.
“I go out in the truck and sing so I’ll be ready,” he said. “And the corrals are coming along pretty good.”
LeDoux has always balanced ranching and rodeoing with songwriting and performing.
And that’s how he likes it.
“I’d go crazy if I couldn’t get back to the place and do some irrigating and ride the range,” he said.
Although he speculates that his singing career might have been more successful if he dedicated himself to it full time, it’s his interpretation of genuine experience that draws his most loyal fans.
“I’m really flattered that people have latched onto what I’ve done, especially the ranching and rodeo people,” he said. “They’re who’s important to me.”
LeDoux wasn’t raised on a ranch, but he has cowboy in his blood.
He was born on a military base in Mississippi then moved with his family to Air Force bases across the country and, once, to France.
But he dreamed of a different life, a life he’d seen in old Western movies. He wrote about his longing in his first song, “Bareback Jack”:
“In the rodeo arena I’ll take my stand
I wanna be known as a rodeo man
I’ll come flyin’ from the chute with my spurs up high
Chaps and boots reachin’ for the sky
Spurrin’ wild with my head throw’d back
You’ll ask who’s that — well, that’s Bareback Jack.”
At 12, his dad’s career took the family to Texas, where LeDoux entered his first rodeo.
He was hooked.
“It just gets ahold of you,” he said. “When you want to be a cowboy, that’s the place to go. You can go work on a ranch, or you can hit the road riding bucking horses.
“It’s like the song says, ‘My heroes have always been cowboys.’ It’s kind of neat to become one.”
Through his songs, LeDoux has chronicled both good and bad times.
His latest album, “After the Storm,” expresses the turbulence of his recent illness that lead to a liver transplant.
“I was going through all that physical and emotional stuff,” he said. “I was in more of an emotional place when we put it together. It shows a renewed love of life. It’s kind of a reflective album.”
He said he owes much of his ability to recover and to succeed to his wife.
“I’ve seen guys in situations where they just didn’t’ have the support, and it really hurt them,” he said. “My wife’s given me my wings.”
His next album, “Horse Power,” due out in July, will have a mix of slow and upbeat songs.
But he has no intention of giving a slow-paced performance Friday.
“It won’t be very mellow,” he said. “We pretty much do what we’ve always done. We have a good time and want everybody else to.”
After all, “even cowboys like a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll.”
I F YOU GO
What: Chris LeDoux concert
Where: Pony Express Pavilion at Mills Park
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Tickets and information: Go to http://www.carsoncitymusic.com or call 1-800-216-0891 or 887-3688.
June 13 — Chris LeDoux
With guests Rich Hays and American Steel, and The Buckin’ Band, as part of the 20th anniversary of the Carson City Rendezvous. 7:30 p.m.
July 18 — Acoustic Harmony
Artists to be announced. In celebration of the new Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center, at the Carson Community Center’s Bob Boldrick Theater. 7:30 p.m.
July 26 — The Mountain Top Tour
Bluegrass musicians Dr. Stanley, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, and Clark. 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 2 — Classic Hits Live
1970s artists Ambrosia, Poco and Gary Wright. 6 p.m.
Aug. 17 — American Roots Revival
Jazz, gospel and blues by James Cotton Blues Band, Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, and the Gospel Hummingbirds. 4 p.m.
Aug. 29 — The Neville Brothers
New Orleans dance music, with guest Bob Malone. 7:30 p.m.