SIGNAL PEAK -- The Desperados, New Mexico’s premiere western swing band and Academy of Western Artists 2004 Duo/Group of the Year, will perform on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Pence Center at Central Arizona College, 8470 N. Overfield Road.

Admission is $22 per ticket.

Formed by Ted Scanlon and Jim Tomlinson in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1976, the group is dedicated to the preservation of western swing music in the tradition of Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys. The band developed into one of the top western swing bands in the nation, a press release said.

The group includes:

  • Scanlon on bass and lead vocals,
  • Jim Tomlinson on pedal steel guitar and fiddle,
  • Phil Telford on pedal steel guitar and standard guitar and vocals,
  • Gordon Butler on fiddle and vocals,
  • Jacy Yarbrough on fiddle and vocals
  • Joe Seltzer on drums and vocals and
  • El Paso jazz musicians Curt Warren on guitar and Ruben Gutierrez on piano.

Over the years, the band has produced seven albums. Their sixth recording, “Roots & Branches,” is a history of western swing music spanning three centuries and, received consideration for Grammy Awards in four categories. It contains their No. 1 charted hit, “Lyla Lou.”

They hosted the Legends of Western Swing Music Festival, held in several locations in Texas and Arkansas for 14 years, and have appeared with such legendary performers as George Strait, Asleep at the Wheel, Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys, Ray Price, Hank Thompson, George Jones, Billy Walker, Loretta Lynn, Lynn Anderson, Johnny Bush, Willie Nelson and others.


Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at