Wylie & The Wild West

Wylie & The Wild West

 Conrad, Montana, USA

With 22 years of round-the-globe experiences under their hand-tooled belts, Wylie & The Wild West draw and hold a crowd with contagious music, laughter, and friendliness. They are rock ‘n’ roll, old-school, cowboy cool without being a tired period piece.


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.”


Ain’t No Life after Rodeo

Written By: Wylie Gustafson—Two Medicine (BMI) Paul Zarzyski—Bucking Horse Moon Music (ASCAP)

There ain’t no life after rodeo
Sulled-up cowboys will tell you so

So when you feel your spur-lick weaken
And your bareback riggin’ starts to leakin’

Bury your gripper elbow-deep
To hell with lookin’ before you leap

Fight for them holts, sight down that mane
Spit in the face of age and pain

It’s a long slow roll to a six foot hole
And there ain’t no life after rodeo.

Give that hammerhead a hardware bath
Dazzle the judges with 90s math

Spur the rivets off your Wranglers
A cappella rowels don’t need danglers

Fast-feet-fast-feet, gas-it-and-mash
Toes turned out with each jab and slash

Insanity, love, wicked aggression
Call it passion, call it obsession

It’s a long slow roll to a six foot hole
And there ain’t no life after rodeo.

Adrenalined fury, 200 proof
Like guzzlin’ moonshine up on the roof

Runnin’ on Bute, LeDoux and caffeine
You rollickin’ rosined-up spurrin’ machine

So charge that front-end for those 8
You ain’t no rodeo reprobate

You’re Casey Tibbs, Muhammed Ali
Raking the manes off of Neptune’s sea

Grit each stroke out with every tooth
You’re swimming the cowboy fountain of youth

Love that sunfish, love that high-dive
Believe you will ride ‘til you’re 95!

It’s a long slow roll to a six foot hole
And there ain’t no life after rodeo.

It’s a long slow roll to a six foot hole
And there ain’t no life after rodeo.


2010: Raven on the Wind
2009: Unwired
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
2001: Paradise
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!

Set List

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
Yodel Boogie
Miles of Texas
True Love Travels
Double Wild
Girl on the Billboard
Jingle Jangle Jingle
I Remember You
Luther Played the Boogie
Girl from the North Country
T for Texas
Equus Caballus
Cattle Call
When I’m Ridin’ I’m Right
Buffalo Gals
To Her
Ragtime Cowboy Joe
Rodeo to the Bone
The Yodeling Fool

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Symphonic Set List, with Wylie Gustafson as guest soloist:
To Her
Cattle Call
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 Aw