Ned LeDoux carving out his own legacy in country music

Carrying on the family name

Posted 7/19/19

Country singer/songwriter and Kaycee, Wyoming, native Ned LeDoux can pinpoint the moment he knew what role music would play in his life.

“I got a set of drums when I was maybe 5 or 6 years …

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Ned LeDoux carving out his own legacy in country music

Carrying on the family name


Country singer/songwriter and Kaycee, Wyoming, native Ned LeDoux can pinpoint the moment he knew what role music would play in his life.

“I got a set of drums when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old, and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do,” LeDoux said. “Music was my dream, my life, my passion. I remember seeing my dad play at barn busts back in the early ’80s, and it just looked like it was a lot of fun. The crowds seemed to enjoy it, and so that was the path I decided to stick to.”

LeDoux’s father Chris is a Wyoming legend, making a name for himself first on the professional rodeo circuit and then as an entertainer. In the fall of 1998, a then 21-year-old Ned was asked to fill in on drums during one of his dad’s concerts. The younger LeDoux had joined his first band at 14, and had played a variety of smaller venues, such as weddings and street dances; to suddenly be asked to play in front of a crowd of thousands was scary at first, then exhilarating.

“My first show playing drums for dad was in Pocatello, Idaho, in September of 1998,” he explained. “Going from these smaller events to playing in front of about 15,000 people — it was exciting. I was a little nervous, but man, it was fun.”

Chris LeDoux lost his battle with cancer in 2005, though Ned continued to tour with his dad’s band, Western Underground, for the next decade. During those years, Ned LeDoux began expanding his skill set as a performer, learning guitar and trying his hand at vocals. When his bandmates heard him sing a few of his dad’s songs, they encouraged LeDoux to step out from behind the drum kit and pick up the mic. But as gigs for Western Underground became fewer and farther between, LeDoux began venturing out on his own.

“If you’d asked me five years ago if I had any interest in singing and playing guitar, I’d have said no. I always just wanted to be a drummer in a band,” he said. “But one thing led to another, and I started to learn some songs on the guitar and playing solo gigs in different dive bars, places like that, anywhere that would have me.”

As LeDoux’s skills as a musician and singer grew, so did his popularity. When promoters began booking him for larger gigs, he knew it was time to form a band of his own. To help with that, he turned to some old friends.

“A lot of places would ask me if I had a band, if it was a bigger event, something like that,” he said. “That’s when I started asking some of the guys in Western Underground if they’d like to try something a little different. It’s been a great ride so far. I feel like I’m just getting started.”

LeDoux began adding songwriting to his repertoire, even using some of his dad’s old song ideas for inspiration. LeDoux’s mother Peggy had found an old box full of her husband’s song ideas, and not wanting them to collect dust in the attic, passed them on to her son.

“She [Peggy] picked out maybe a dozen different ideas and sent them to Mark Sissel, who was my dad’s guitar player and road manager,” LeDoux explained. “As soon as Mark got them, he mailed them to me and said, ‘Man, you ought to try to finish one of these.’”

At the time, LeDoux had never written a song, and his early attempts were a struggle.

“I just didn’t have the know-how,” LeDoux admits.

Fast-forward to four years ago, and singer/songwriter/producer Mac McAnally, who had produced Chris LeDoux’s final three albums, offered Ned some assistance.

“Mac McAnally found out that I was trying to finish one of these song ideas that dad had started, so he got ahold of me,” LeDoux said. “He invited me to his place, and we sat down and finished one.”

The song “We Ain’t Got it All” is the result of that collaboration, and is featured on LeDoux’s album “Sagebrush.”

“I’m pretty proud of that one,” he said.

LeDoux’s latest single “Where You Belong” dropped recently, and is an example of the singer’s growth as a songwriter. The song’s message is a familiar one, and the story behind its conception proves inspiration can strike when you least expect it.

“My wife and son had just got home from school, and then my sister-in-law came over with her kids,” he explained. “We were just kind of hanging out, and I told them ‘I’ve got this melody in my head, I’m gonna go downstairs and see what I can do with it.’ It just kind of fell out — once in a while, a song will do that. You have no control, you just try to keep up with the pen.”

LeDoux said “Where You Belong” is about never giving up, a lesson he’s taken to heart throughout his career.

“Don’t let people tell you you can’t do it,” he said. “All you gotta do is believe in yourself. If you follow your dreams and put a lot of hard work into it, it will pay off.”

The summer portion of LeDoux’s tour kicked off in Kaycee over Father’s Day weekend, part of the annual Chris LeDoux Days festivities. The second half of July will be busy for the singer and his crew, with six shows scheduled in nine days, including the Park County Fair in Powell. He said concert-goers can expect a mixture of new favorites and old classics.

“We try to keep it high energy, we like to have a lot of fun up there,” LeDoux said. “As far as a set list goes, it’s about 70-30. We play most of my stuff, but then the crowd’s guaranteed to hear some of dad’s classics as well.”

Though he now makes his home in northeast Kansas, LeDoux always enjoys revisiting his Wyoming roots.

“Anytime I see a date come on the schedule that says Wyoming, I’m always excited to get back home,” he said.

LeDoux will perform live in concert on Thursday night at the Park County Fair. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Main Grandstands with special guest Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band. Tickets are $40 (floor), $35 (box seats) or $29 (grandstand). Tickets can be purchased at the box office at the fair or online at