Keeter Stuart comes by his skill at singing and writing songs naturally. His uncle, Stan Jones, was one of the finest songwriters of Western music to ever put pen to paper. His most popular song, â€œGhost Riders in the Skyâ€, became one of the most enduring and memorable American ballads of all time.
About the time his Uncle Stan Jonesâ€™ most famous song was at the peak of its popularity, Keeter Stuart was born in Woodland, California. His family moved to Mexico when he was six and lived there for four years. While living in Guadalajara, Keeter grew to love the local music, from the singing of the cook working in the family kitchen to the Mariachi bands that his father would occasionally hire to play at parties. After returning to the States, the family settled in Sonoma, California on his grandfatherâ€™s ranch in the Valley of the Moon. It was there that Keeter first learned to ride. He loved to explore the far corners of the oak covered hills of his valley home on his quarterhorse filly, Sundown. At the age of fifteen, he caught that ramblinâ€™ fever again. His family moved to Tahiti for two years, where, as in Mexico, the local music had a big influence on him. A passing sailor gave him his first real guitar, showed him a few chords and how to fingerpick, and Keeter was on his way. He began to sit in with the local band entertaining the tourists at the Hotel Bali Hai, and so began his performing career. At the age of sixteen, Keeter wrangled a berth as a crew member on a sailboat and sailed from Tahiti to Newport Beach, CA. Returning to Sonoma, he finished high school and worked for a time as a park aide at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and a vineyard foreman at his songwriting seriously.
A few years later, Keeter rolled in to Portland, Oregon, fell in with a bunch of aspiring pickers and singers, and began to play music around town. Opening shows for artists like Emmylou Harris, Chris Hillman, Doc Watson and many others honed his songwriting and performing skills. It was then that he began to include some of his uncleâ€™s songs into his repertoire. He co-founded a band, Triggerâ€™s Revenge, which became very popular in the Portland area. One of the highlights of any Triggerâ€™s Revenge performance in those days was their powerful and haunting version of â€œGhost Riders in the Skyâ€.
Keeter rambled back to California in 1986, and continued to write and perform songs. He released a CD of original songs in 2001 that included two songs written by his uncle, Stan Jones; â€œThe Lilies Grow Highâ€, and â€œGhost Riders in the Skyâ€. Keeter and his family moved back to the northwest in 2004, settling in West Linn, Oregon. He has just released a new CD of songs written by his uncle Stan. Keeter and some talented musical friends have infused these great old songs with new energy and purpose. Dusting off these timeless gems and polishing them up a bit has them gleaming once more as they ride on; tall in the saddle, on horses snortinâ€™ fire, across these endless skiesâ€¦