Wylie Gustafson is a native Montanan singer/songwriter with twenty albums and four decades of performing, writing, and recording under his belt. Wylie has matured into a dynamic talent, and he has become one of the few authentic voices of the American West. One critic called him, “…the coolest cowpoke around. Forget everything you hate about modern country, this guy is old-school cool without being a tired period piece.”
Wylie is an American Original. For over the last thirty years, he and his band, The Wild West, have performed their refreshing blend of cowboy, western swing, old school country and yodeling music worldwide. They are hugely popular on the festival and theatre circuit. Stateside, they have performed at such prestigious venues as the National Folk Festival, MerleFest, the Bumbershoot Festival, The Stagecoach Festival, A Prairie Home Companion, The Conan O’Brien Show and the Grand Ole Opry (with over fifty guest appearances). Worldwide, their universal appeal has taken them to China, Russia, Australia, Europe, South America, and Japan. That is not the resume of a mediocre performer!
Wylie’s music has been baptized with a hardy dose of trail dust and horse hair. As an accomplished cutting horse and roping enthusiast, he has claimed several hard-won regional and national titles within the National Cutting Horse Association astride his super-horse, “Whiskey.” That shiny belt buckle he wears wasn’t won on eBay.
Despite his successful career in music and yodeling, when not touring he still gets up every day and tends to the livestock on his Cross Three Quarter Horse ranch near the town of Conrad, Montana. It grounds him and is the backbone of his art. The secret of Wylie’s honest, uplifting and 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 welcoming as the Big Sky sunshine. In 2014, Wylie, along with his family members, appeared in the popular Dodge Truck “God Made a Farmer” commercial that appeared during the Super Bowl.
Wylie’s dynamic stage presence keeps getting him invited back to venues year after year. As a seasoned singer/songwriter, Wylie has etched his presence onto the American music scene and is the originator of the High Plains Yodeling style which evokes the loneliness of his northern Montana home. His voice echoed in millions of homes as the prominent yodel in the successful Yahoo! advertising campaign with his trademark “Ya-hooo-ooo!” His top selling book, How to Yodel – Lessons to Tickle Your Tonsils, is the number-one-selling book of its genre. Wylie has become a nationally renowned voice-over artist for the advertising, movie and TV world.
When asked to define his music, Wylie says, “We are a good-time cowboy band that hates to be boring!” The band members, guitarist Clayton Parsons, drummer Tim Lashley, and bassist Johnny Pope, are all virtuoso players with winning personalities. The fans appreciate the band’s approachability friendliness.
A few years back, with guitar in hand and standing in the saddle atop his horse, Wylie appeared on the cover of Western Horseman magazine. “Western Horseman is the Rolling Stone Magazine of the horseman world,” laughs the lanky cowboy. 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.
“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.”
Their 22nd and latest CD, 2000 Miles from Nashville, was released in early 2018.