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Byline: Alan Bjerga
NEW YORK _ Tim Johnson has studied classical violin for 38 years, and he still regularly performs recitals of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.
But most of the year he wears a cowboy hat as a member of The Sons of the San Joachin, a top group in the "western" genre of country music, where Hollywood glitz meets songs of Americana.
The sound, and many of the songs, of western music is familiar to anyone who's watched reruns of "Bonanza" or any western featuring Gene Autry or Roy Rogers.
But contemporary western comes with a twist. The music of big skies and open prairie is finding new life as an authentic music of the Plains, with a new generation of artists putting their own print on music that's as old as the American West but first popularized in horse operas a half-century ago.
Everyone in the Fresno, Calif.-based Sons …