Meet The Pioneers

Poster 2018


Tommy Nallie - Trail Boss


Tommy Nallie is the “trail boss” of the group, a place held by only three individuals before him. As trail boss Tommy is the curator of the famous “Pioneer sound” guaranteeing that every audience will experience the harmonies and music that made them world famous. He is also the archivist of the group owning a copy of practically every recording the group has made. Tommy grew up in a musical family, his brothers Luther and Jack are both prior members of the Pioneers. Luther was with the group for over 45 years and served as the trail boss before Tommy. His first instrument was the violin which he perfected in Beaumont Texas high school earning the honor of “first chair”. He played in local bands with Luther and learned to play bass. After high school Tommy played western swing around Beaumont with some ex-Texas Playboys. Then came a tour of duty in the Navy. Upon returning to Texas, Tommy picked up right where he left off by touring across the country as a vocalist and utility instrumentalist. By this time he had added guitar and drums to his resume. When not out on the road he worked as a back-up in the recording studio for country greats like Johnny Duncan. He started being asked to fill in when a Sons of the Pioneers member had to be absent.

Then in May, 1983, Tommy got a call from Luther inviting him to Nashville where the Pioneers were doing a week-long series of concerts. Dale Warren asked Tommy to take over a set of drums that was on stage during the first show. By the week's end, Dale had offered Tommy a position with the Pioneers. Dale and Luther started teaching Tommy the harmony and finer parts of the tenor position. It didn't take long because Tommy and his family had been performing Western music for years. Another significant tutor was Roy Lanham, perhaps the group’s best all-time lead guitar player. Tommy says, "It's difficult to put into words how greatly honored I was to become a part of such a rich and impressive musical tradition." Over the years Tommy learned every other part to all of the songs in the Pioneers’ repertoire and now he teaches them to any new member or substitute.

Currently Tommy plays bass, yodels and provides harmony. He also steps up and does a couple of vocal solos. Tommy has made his home in several places over the Southwest but now resides in the Branson area.

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Ken Lattimore


Ken Lattimore is one of the formal musical scholars of the group holding a degree in music from Texas Tech University. Ken is acknowledged as of one of the best tenors in Western music. He also delights audiences with his fiddle solos and duets. Before joining the Pioneers, Ken had a rich experience in a variety of music genres ranging from singing lead tenor in Gilbert and Sullivan productions to performing in Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and a country music festival in Austria. Ken continues his diverse musical interests in the “off season” by joining the violin sections of several different symphony orchestras throughout Texas and Louisiana.

Ken’s interest in western music and particularly the Pioneers dates back to childhood when he became a fan after listening to his parent’s albums. The harmonies and lyrics roped in his interest. As an adult he found himself falling deeper under the spell of Pioneer music and committed many of their songs to memory. On a fateful 1997 stopover in Branson Ken felt led to approach Dale Warren and give him a demo CD. Although Dale was friendly to Ken’s approach and accepted the CD, Ken did not expect to hear anything more. To his surprise Ken got a call from Dale the next day suggesting he try-out after Ken had learned his assigned part to six or so songs. Weeks later Ken returned for the try-out and got the nod. Ken says, “Singing and playing violin with the greatest western singing group ever proves the old adage...at times your fondest dream can come true.”

When not working on his music Ken enjoys a variety of outside interests especially American history. Ken’s family roots dating back to the American colonies has led to him becoming a member of the 19th Texas Infantry, a group of Confederate army reenactors . The Marshall, Texas, native has “fought in battles” at Gettysburg and other locations across the country. (top of page)

"Dusty" Rogers


People often comment how difficult it must be for Roy “Dusty” Rogers Jr. to stand on stage in his father's shadow. Dusty quickly responds, “As Roy's son, it is Not my job to stand in my father's shadow; but, it IS my job to lengthen it, and that is what I try to do on stage every day.”

As the only natural born son of Roy Rogers and raised by the famous western couple, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Dusty has been acting and performing since birth. As a small child, Dusty appeared in his parents' TV series “The Roy Rogers Show” on NBC. He performed with his parents during their summer tours at rodeos and state fairs. In 1989, he became manager for Roy Rogers. Shortly thereafter, Dusty served as President of the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum-a California 501c(3) nonprofit-until its closing in December 2009.

As for entertaining, it was only a matter of time before Dusty followed in the footsteps of his parents and launched his own recording career. He formed his own band, The High Riders, in 1982. Dusty's singing has taken him to many concert halls throughout the United States and Canada. In 2003 and 2004, he had the distinct honor of performing at the esteemed Carnegie Hall in New York. From 2003 through 2009, Dusty performed in his very own “Happy Trails Theatre” in Branson, Missouri. In 2010, Dusty moved his show to the Mickey Gilley Theatre in Branson. In 2012 and 2013 he took his show to the RFD-TV The Theatre. During off season in Branson, “Roy Rogers Jr. and The High Riders” took the show on the road to perform at various venues, festivals, and conventions.

Having hung around his Dad and former members of the Pioneers, Dusty is well educated as to the various components that make the Pioneers so popular. Dusty is part of the trio that captivates Sons of the Pioneers audiences with their distinctive harmonies. He provides a little yodeling and acts as M.C. sometimes sharing stories of growing up with his famous parents. Dusty says, "I'm happy to be continuing the tradition of quality entertainment by my family and the Sons of the Pioneers."

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John Fullerton


John Fullerton comes from a long family background in the horse and cattle business. He is distantly related to Cowboy legends Rex Allen and Tex Ritter. At age seven, John's Grandmother took him to a Sons of the Pioneers Branson concert and also introduced him to their 1959 RCA "Cool Water" album. Then and there John decided to make western music his life's career and has followed the group and their legacy closely ever since. Facinated by every Sons of the Pioneers song, John started learning all the vocal and instrument parts. He can tell you the different arrangements to every song according to how it was recorded from one album to the next. He's also collected a wealth of Sons of the Pioneers memorabilia and is known as the walking Pioneer Encyclopedia.

John has been performing professionally since 1994, and has appeared with a number of Western acts; Roy Rogers Jr. And the High Riders, and has had guest appearances with Three Trails West, Miss Devon & the Outlaw, and Riders in the Sky.  John created his own western band performing in various Branson venues.  John sings baritonein the trio, but knows all harmony parts, and besides rhythm guitar, plays mandolin and bass. Joining th Pioneers was a dream come true. John says, "I've spent my entire life preparing for this opportunity to join the Pioneers."

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Paul ElliottPaul

Paul Elliott grew up in a house filled with jazz, classical, and folk music and started playing violin when he was 7 years old. After years of lessons, youth orchestras, and summer music camps he discovered fiddle music as a young teenager. His immediate reaction was “why didn’t somebody TELL me you could do that with a violin?” His initial love of old-time and bluegrass quickly evolved into a love of Western Swing music, jazz, and country, and at 19 he began playing professionally in bands and as a studio musician in the western US and Canada. Paul has since racked up a long list of recording credits that span film, television, and radio, and a long list of CDs. Somewhere along the line he also got a degree in music composition from the University of Washington, with additional months of private study in London with the head of composition at the Royal Academy of Music. 

It was while preparing for a recording project dedicated to the music of the Sons of the Pioneers that Paul became deeply acquainted with their music, and with the playing of their fiddler Hugh Farr, and he immediately became a fan of Farr’s. “It’s rare to find a musician with so much skill, so much soul, and that much versatility. He could play hot swing jazz like Joe Venuti, then turn around and fiddle a breakdown or a schottische like a barn dance fiddler.” Paul continues: “I’m both honored and thrilled to be following in his footsteps as the fiddle player for the Sons of the Pioneers, one of the most significant bands ever in the music of the American west.”

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