Aiming toward performance # 2500 of their 25 year career as Wisconsin’s foremost “Singing Cowpokes”, KG & The Ranger (Karen Gogolick & Rick Roltgen) have cause to celebrate! They are releasing Moonlight Trails, their sixth album of vintage western songs, and marking this milestone year with special anniversary performances throughout the year.
In 1986, Karen Gogolick was a successful jewelry designer with a retail store in Madison Wisconsin. She also had a passion for folk and early country music, which led her to be deeply involved with the folk music community. She played bass and banjo in two bands, volunteered for the local coffeehouse, hosted a radio show - and began collecting any song she could find about cowboys and cowgirls. That same year, Rick Roltgen was working at a local credit union and playing bass in a country/bluegrass band. He always had music in his life in some way, and had honed his harmonizing and humor skills in a barbershop quartet called the “Colonels of Korn”. He had grown up with Gene Autry and Roy Rogers for heroes and always loved their music.
One summer night, Karen took her bass to a local park to play in a pick-up band for a square dance. Rick showed up with his bass, too. As they say, “the rest is history”. Karen invited him to play in her band, “Stone Soup”, and a musical friendship began. The band took its name from a folk tale about poor villagers contributing a little of this and that to make a soup. That’s the way the band worked, with each member bringing in songs they liked and adding them to the mix. It quickly became obvious that Karen and Rick shared a love for the old cowboy songs, especially the Sons of the Pioneers. After a while, they decided to try singing as a duo - and started dating, too. In 1989 they married and headed down the musical trail together with their debut performance as “KG & The Ranger”.
That first year, they had three shows. The next year six, and the next year fifteen. When they found themselves playing over 100 gigs in 1999 they decided it was time to make a major life decision. In 2000 they took the plunge into full-time performing and have made their living as entertainers since then. Now, over 25 years later, they are still going strong and music is both their full-time occupation and passion.
They were voted “Outstanding Entertainers - Duo” by the Western Music Association in 2010 and are three-time winners of the WMA’s harmony yodeling contest. They were inducted into the Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame in Iowa in 2011. Other awards include the Montie Montana Award for Showmanship, and several for harmony singing. Thanks to the Western Music Association, they have had amazing opportunities to meet many of their musical heroes, including Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. They have learned from the best, sharing the stage with the Riders in the Sky, the Sons of the San Joaquin, Sons of the Pioneers, and too many others to name.
Their long musical career has had many rewards deeper than simply making a living. The spirit of the music and the “cowboy way” is a passion for them. The wholesome quality of this music acts as an antidote to many of today’s problems. Bringing back memories for small audiences of nursing home residents is as important as filling a beautiful theater with fans. Preserving these old western gems has become a mission as important as contributing fresh new songs to the genre.
KG & The Ranger want to thank all their fans and friends who continue to make this story-book tale come true. Western music brought them together - theirs is a true cowboy success story!
See their current performing schedule: AlongThe Trail
|PRESSPAGE | RECORDINGS | SCHEDULE| TRAIL TALK | HOME| LINKS|
bookinginformation, or to get on our mailing list,
Karen Gogolick & RickRoltgen
2517 Waunona Way, MadisonWI 53713
All images areprotected by copyright ©1998 K. Gogolick