Robert Joe Vandygriff grew up riding horses and strumming his guitar in Roxton, Texas. He competed in saddle-bronco and bareback in the sport of rodeo, as well as working as a rodeo clown and bullfighter.
As a country music recording artist, his records of ‘Big Blue Diamond’ and ‘Say Lady’ topped the charts in the early 1970s. Robert Joe’s ‘Dedicated’ album climbed to No.3 on the European country music chart and led to eight successful tours of England and the European continent.
Robert Joe and his band, ‘The Shades Of Country’, toured the United States, Canada and Europe, playing to sold-out audiences. Robert Joe appeared on stage with artists such as Garth Brooks, The Judds, George Jones, Alabama and Merle Haggard.
Nashville then came calling and Robert Joe Vandygriff made the move there in order to pursue a song-writing career. He then ended up a booking agent and represented acts such as John Anderson, Lee Greenwood, Hank Snow (Saturday 9 May 1914 – Monday 20 December 1999), The Wilburn Brothers, Archie Campbell and many more.
Nashville afforded Robert Joe Vandygriff the opportunity to work in various capacities, from representing to producing shows with many of the biggest names in country music, bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll.
Nowadays, Robert Joe Vandygriff feels that Nashville is a great place, but Texas is home. While working on a ranch in Grayson County, he received a call from a casting agent who needed a band for an episode of a new CBS series, ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’, starring Chuck Norris. One thing lead to another and Robert Joe made several appearances on the show as the character ‘Ranger Mike’.
In 2004, Robert Joe Vandygriff became the honoured recipient of the Will Rogers Award from the Academy of Western Artists.