In this era of prepackaged superstars, of pale imitations of country music being pushed onto the public by faceless media giants, the music of Wylie & The Wild West is a beacon of truth and honest beauty. As one critic says, “Wylie Gustafson is the coolest cowpoke around. Forget everything you hate about modern country, this guy is old-school cool without being a tired period piece.”
Five-thirty in the morning is not an hour generally claimed by musicians. While most singers and strummers are dozing on the bus or at the local Motel 6, there is one musician who is rising to face the day. Wylie Gustafson. Of course, there is a reason for his early waking. His horses aren’t going to feed themselves.
Despite his successful career as one of America’s most recognized and unique entertainers, Wylie still gets up everyday and tends to the livestock on his quarter horse ranch near Conrad, Montana. It grounds him and is the backbone of his art. The secret of Wylie’s honest, soulful music isn’t in any musical formula or flashy gimmick. Its purity lies in Wylie’s character: earnest and hard-working, beaming with friendly vigor, topped off with a smile as warm as first sunlight rising over the prairie.
Wylie’s special cowboy blend of Americana music–served up with a helping of infectious energy–gets the crowd going every time. No less authority than Billboard Magazine declared, “When Wylie & The Wild West play, folks get up and dance!” It rings true from festivals to state fairs, bars to barn dances.
When asked to define his music, Wylie explains, “We are a good-time cowboy band that hates to be boring. I know that the young urban crowds in Seattle appreciate us as much as the working cowboys do. Our music is not limited to one type of listener.”
His influence spread around the world. International tours have taken the band to Australia, Europe, South America, and Japan. Stateside, they have performed at such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, the National Folk Festival, MerleFest, the Bumbershoot Festival, and the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. And, they have made more than 50 appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. Wylie also appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and A Prairie Home Companion. A new symphony show is bringing his music to the classical set.
That is not the resume of a mediocre performer. Wylie’s dynamic stage presence keeps getting him invited back to venues year after year. As a seasoned singer/songwriter with over a dozen nationally distributed albums under his belt, Wylie has etched his presence onto the American music scene. His voice echoed in millions of homes as the prominent yodel in the successful Yahoo! advertising campaign.
All of Wylie’s music is dashed off with a hardy dose of trail dust. An accomplished cutting horse enthusiast, he claimed the 2005 NCHA Western National Finals Championship, 2007 Non-Pro Reserve Championship, and was a 2006 and 2008 Open Finalist. Guitar in hand and standing in the saddle atop a horse, he appeared on the cover of Western Horseman magazine. That shiny belt buckle he wears wasn’t purchased on eBay.
For Wylie, his western lifestyle and the recording studio are inseparable. “The connection between my cowboy life and my music is extremely close,” he says. “I believe in creating a song that inspires the listener, either lyrically or rhythmically. It is also important that I offer something that takes traditional ideas and bends them in a new direction.”
“Obviously Wylie makes phenomenal music,” says Minnesota State Fair Director Chris Tahti. “But he’s not just a good recording artist, he’s a great performing artist. People plan to be here to see him. The best part of his performance is the reactions of people who don’t know who he is. They walk by, and he pulls them into the seats. He’s a magnet,” Tahti beams. “Not only does he draw a crowd, he keeps them there.”
Wylie Gustafson: Songwriter, lead vocalist, guitar & bass guitar
Ray Doyle: Guitar, baritone guitar, mandolin & harmony vocals
Scot Wilburn: Guitar, fiddle, steel & vocals
Rick Bryceson: Drums & vocals
2010: Raven on the Wind
2009: Hang -n- Rattle!
2008: Yodel Boogie!
2007: Christmas for Cowboys
2007: Bucking Horse Moon
2005: Live! at the Tractor (CD & DVD versions)
2004: Cowboy Ballads and Dance Songs
2004: Hooves of the Horses
2000: Ridin' the Hi-line
1998: Total Yodel!
1997: Way out West
1996: Cattle Call
1996: Glory Trail
1994: Get Wild
1992: Wylie & the Wild West Show
Listen for our songs in rotation on Sirius/XM Willie's Place and Outlaw Country!
Wylie Pulls Them into the Seats
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Obviously Wylie makes phenomenal music. But he’s not just a good recording artist, he’s a great perf...Obviously Wylie makes phenomenal music. But he’s not just a good recording artist, he’s a great performing artist. People plan to be here to see him. The best part of his performance is the reactions of people who don’t know who he is. They walk by, and he pulls them into the seats. He’s a magnet. Not only does he draw a crowd, he keeps them there.
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It’s a dilemma I’ve suffered ever since I got hooked on the cowboy life. I love to ride. I love the ...It’s a dilemma I’ve suffered ever since I got hooked on the cowboy life. I love to ride. I love the West. But I also love rock-and-roll. Turns out Wylie Gustafson feels the same way. The Western singer, songwriter, and leader of Wylie and the Wild West confesses he grew up singing Rolling Stones tunes while riding on Montana cattle drives.
Hang-n-Rattle reveals not only Wylie the rocker, but also celebrates the West in a new way. Much of that fresh insight comes from his songwriting partnership with rodeo poet Paul Zarzyski. It’s like Lennon and McCartney in cowboy hats ...
“The times they are a changin’,” reads the liner notes. “So is Western music.” If Hang-Rattle is any indication of the change to come, count this cowboy in.
Bucking Horse Moon
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Wylie Gustafson is today's most widely heard cowboy singer, and whether you know his name or not, yo...Wylie Gustafson is today's most widely heard cowboy singer, and whether you know his name or not, you've heard him: He yodels the "Ya-Hoo-Ooo" for Yahoo.com (and had to sue to get just recompense. He's also the real deal: a rider, a rancher, and a genuine comer as a musical artist.
With his latest release, Bucking Horse Moon, he has established himself as the first giant of the new pantheon that will inherit, preserve, and enhance the Western music tradition from such current reigning luminaries as Don Edwards, Waddie Mitchell, Red Steagall, Ian Tyson, and Michael Martin Murphey (to name a few).
Gustafson wins such stature with an utterly charming album ably produced by John Carter Cash, son of Johnny and June Carter that hits all the bases with home-run style. Be it genuine Country & Western, cowboy music, yodeling, or his own burgeoning contemporary Western Country-folk style, Gustafson rides the musical range with the assurance of an old saddle hand. He proves himself a distinctive and affecting singer as well as a highly adept songwriter, with one boot firmly in the stirrup of tradition and the other in the stirrup of respectful innovation, gently spurring cowboy & Western music toward its future. And with Wylie Gustafson's sure hands on the reins, the sounds of the ranch and the range have a fine new trail boss to blaze the way for decades to come.
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The Ten Greatest Cowboy Figures of All Times ... the working cowboy, Will Rogers, John Wayne, Charli...The Ten Greatest Cowboy Figures of All Times ... the working cowboy, Will Rogers, John Wayne, Charlie Russell, Ben Johnson, Audie Murphy, Louie L'Amour, Gene Autry, Jim Shoulders, and Roy Rogers.
Who's Next? Great Cowboy Figures for the Future ... Juni Fisher, Brenn Hill, D.W. Groethe, Dave Stamey, Wiley (sic) Gustafson, and several other talented singer/songwriters could easily vie for a place in music history beside the likes of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.
Wylie & The Wild West
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Wylie & The Wild West are a show band, famous for multiple encores, the band you want to see close t...Wylie & The Wild West are a show band, famous for multiple encores, the band you want to see close the show. Because of this, Wylie and the boys are seeing the nation and the world, and learning that good music, laughter, and friendliness are contagious. The band performs some 90 shows a year, working as far east as France, as far west as Japan, and working at huge urban festivals in all parts of the nation, at famous halls such as the Kennedy Center and in scores of tiny rural school houses along the northern plains and in the Northwest. They are favorite visitors at the Grand Ole Opry and at Elko, Nevada's famous National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. And if you've ever heard the yodel on commercial for the internet company Yahoo!, well, that's Wylie.
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Yodeling never sounded so boss: Sop yourself to the succulent undulations of Montucky's country mas...Yodeling never sounded so boss: Sop yourself to the succulent undulations of Montucky's country master, Wylie & The Wild West.
At the Grand Ole Opry
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Every once and a great while, the real deal comes along. Wylie is indeed just that. Whether he's bel...Every once and a great while, the real deal comes along. Wylie is indeed just that. Whether he's belting out an up-tempo yodel, or singing a heartfelt ballad, his sincerity, talent, and dedicaton to the art form make him one of the most believable artists in country music. Wylie's recordings and his music overall, underscore that there's a lot more to country music than just what's being heard and played on Top 40 radio.
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When Wylie performed his subtle version of "Cattle Call," the cool, mainly young crowd became instan...When Wylie performed his subtle version of "Cattle Call," the cool, mainly young crowd became instant traditionalists.
Typical 4-piece band set runs 105 minutes; may include:
Goodbye Old Paint
Whoop up Trail
Hooves of the Horses
Don’t Fence Me In
Bucking Horse Moon
Miles of Texas
True Love Travels
Girl on the Billboard
Jingle Jangle Jingle
I Remember You
Luther Played the Boogie
Girl from the North Country
T for Texas
When I’m Ridin’ I’m Right
Ragtime Cowboy Joe
Rodeo to the Bone
The Yodeling Fool
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Symphonic Set List, with Wylie Gustafson as guest soloist:
Whoop Up Trail
America the Beautiful
Bucking Horse Moon
I Get High
Don’t Fence Me In / Red River Valley (medley and sing-along)
NOTE: Alternative symphonic programs include adding the remaining band members to the above set list, and the 4-piece band in combination with the poetry of Paul Zarzyski. Zarzyski is the recipient of the 2005 Montana Governor’s Arts Award for Literature, 2004 Western Writers of America Spur Award, and 1997 Wrangler Western Heritage Award from National Cowboy Hall of Fame for "All This Way for the Short Ride."