Hill City Slickers
Their mutual interest in singing and playing music brought the members of the Hill City Slickers together. They met in their church choir. From there they went on to sing and entertain at coffee houses,play at concerts, festivals, conventions perform for bus tour groups, and provide nightly campground entertainment during the summer months at the Palmer Gulch Resort and KOA near Mt. Rushmore. Memorial Day until Labor Day. In May of 2003, the Slickers were the featured artists with the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra in Rapid City South Dakota.
The Hill City Slickers began in November of 1994. Their repertoire ranges from classics to contemporary, including folk, bluegrass and western music to gospel and original compositions. A growing repertoire has since included 50’s and 60’s music both aCapella and instrumentally accompanied. Their style is a blend of tight vocal harmony and acoustic instrumentation, which contributes to their increasing popularity in the Black Hills area. Their variety of music and interaction with the audience, appeals to all age groups.
The members of the Hill City Slickers include Bruce Jordan, playing the cello(bass) and the teapot and vocals. Gary Daiss plays guitar, banjo, harmonica, saxophone and rain stick and vocals. Ken Anderson plays guitar, mandolin and vocals.
Bruce Jordan was born and raised on a farm in eastern South Dakota, near Hartford. He grew up in a musical family and sang in a quartet with his father and two brothers, known as the Three Lads & Dad. They performed and entertained in the three state area. Bruce moved to Hill City, South Dakota in 1987 when he became principal of Hill City High School. Bruce is currently a principal at Stevens High School in Rapid City.
Gary Daiss was born in Deadwood and raised in Lead, South Dakota and after graduating from high school spent four years in the Navy on a submarine. Gary then went on to counseling children and families in the Black Hills area for 30 years. He took a two year sabbatical and worked on construction projects in the Black Hills area, including the reconstruction of Wilderness Trail #9 from Willow Creek to Harney Peak. Gary continues his family counseling practice. Gary has spent many a night sitting around the campfire, with friends, playing his guitar and singing songs.
Ken Anderson was born and raised in Texas and moved to Hill City, South Dakota in 1971. He ranched in the area for 22 years. Slick Tunes Music is a company that Ken has organized, to help market the Hill City Slickers. Ken now raises organic vegetables and runs Slicktunes Recording Studio, near Hill City. Ken has played in a few bands since the early 60’s and also enjoys singing around the warmth of the campfire and howling to the coyotes.
The Hill City Slickers released their first CD, Original Tracks, in July of 1997. “Original Tracks” consists of 14 original songs, that the band members have written. Their Second CD, Classic Tracks, consists of classic songs from the 30’s and up to the present, that they perform in their musical variety show. The CD’s were digitally recorded at Wolfsong Studios in Rapid City, South Dakota and show off the vocal harmonies and acoustic styles of the Hill City Slickers.
The Slickers third CD, No Back Door To Heaven, was released on September 2005. It was recorded and mixed at Slicktunes Recording Studio. The CD is a mixture of gospel and spiritual favorites of the Slickers and their fans.
The music of the Hill City Slickers is best described as homegrown. “We’ve got our feelings, their in tune to the campfire light. There’s nothing better than the friends we’ve got as were singing into the night. Sittin’ around the campfire tonight.” These lines, taken from their song “Sittin’ Around The Campfire Tonight”, best describes how they feel about the music they play, the friendship that has developed and the fun they have with their audiences through music.
Ken learned to play guitar in a band in the early 60’s. Ken moved to South Dakota in the early 70’s where he worked on his grandfathers ranch near Deerfield. He was a member of the Hill City Jam Band with Scott Simpson. Scott and Ken wrote the song, South Dakota Blues in 1975, which is one of the Hill City Slickers hits. In 1976, Ken married, had three daughters, and ranched on what was left of his grandfathers ranch. In the 80’s he commuted to Spearfish and five years later, graduated with a B.A. in Music. In the 90’s Ken moved, from the ranch, down to Hill City. At the end of 1994 the Hill City Slickers were born and have been growing ever since. Besides playing in the Slickers, Ken has set up a recording studio (Slicktunes Recordings) and also grows organic vegetables.
Gary is native to the Black Hills. He was born in Deadwood and grew up in Lead South Dakota. He perceived himself as musically inclined as a child, although the nuns who taught him piano, didn’t appreciate his ear and it grew as a result. He sang with a makeshift Motown group while in the Navy in the 60’s. As an undergrad in college he sang with a trio for a short time. Music has always been a passion but not fully realized until he met “the boys” in the church choir. The rest is hysteric.
He’s been married for 42 years to his soul mate Linda, and has four awesome children and seven grandchildren. Life has been good to him and his goal is to spread some of that good stuff around through his music.
Bruce grew up in eastern South Dakota on a homestead farm. It was an early age that he and his brothers were introduced to music and it wasn’t long, they were singing in their country school and church Christmas programs. Throughout high school Bruce participated in various vocal and instrumental groups. Then, on to college were he honed his skills with the stage and tour groups. After college, Bruce taught instrumental music at Humbolt, S.D. While there he pursued advanced degrees in school administration, which is what brought him to Hill City. Through the church choir in Hill City, he met Ken, Gary and Pat, also refined gentlemen, and formed the group later to be called the Hill City Slickers. Their style and blend of vocal and instrumental harmonies cater to any and all groups. Bruce never left the homestead, however, as he still drives John Deere tractors, collecting and restoring them as his hobby. He is also a licensed pilot and finds time to fly guests over Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorials and provide them with an awsome experience. In March of 2011 Bruce and his wife Sandy of 39 years became grandparents. Although their son and his wife live several hundred miles away, they Skype/webcam weekly to enjoy their new grandson.