New Riders of the Purple Sage
Southland Ballroom, Raleigh
Thursday, October 1, 2015

More than six years passed since New Riders of the Purple Sage last stopped off in Raleigh. At that time, co-founding member John Dawson had just passed away from stomach cancer. In the interim, the group has carried on, anchored by David Nelson, the group’s other founding member, and renown steel guitarist Buddy Cage. New Riders have said their goal in reforming the group in 2005 was to carry the music forward, paying respect to their own legacy while taking their special brand of strange country rock in new directions. Adding Michael Falzarano on guitar, Ronnie Penque on bass and Johnny Markowski on drums, they have breathed life into a catalog that dates back to the late ’60s.

Despite the threat of Hurricane Joaquin, an eager crowd gathered inside Southland Ballroom as the band kicked off a hit-filled set lasting about 90 minutes. The highlight was undoubtedly the steel playing of Buddy Cage. He has a remarkable tone and produces a big sound from an instrument often relegated to the background. When Cage takes a solo, you hear every note clearly and crisply. The groove-heavy band played many favorites including “The Ballad of Casey Jones,” a take on the traditional song. “Henry” and “Glendale Train” also stood out. The group sent the crowd off on a high note, as the flickering sounds of the Grateful Dead classic “Ripple” could be heard while exiting into a chilly, rainy evening.

See some of the show’s highlights below. (Thanks to Robbie Dunn for extra audio assistance.

New Riders of the Purple Sage, “The Ballad of Casey Jones”

YouTube video


Set list:
I Don’t Know You
You Never Can Tell
Sunday Suzy
Panama Red
Lo & Behold
Wookie Kids
Down For The Ride
17 Pine Avenue
Casey Jones
Paddy On The Turnpike >
Death & Destruction
Friend Of The Devil >
Glendale Train
Take A Letter
Dead Flowers