From: MT, United States
Genre: Folk, Americana, Country
Wylie Gustafson is a singer/songwriter of international acclaim. A dynamic performer and authentic voice of the West, one critic describes him as “…the coolest cowpoke around. Forget everything you hate about modern country, this guy is old-school cool without being a tired period piece.” Born in 1961 and raised in Conrad, Montana, Wylie was brought up in a family that treasured music. As a young man, his father “Rib” wrangled horses and entertained for a historical Sheridan, Wyoming dude ranch and soon had a repertoire of cowboy songs that he would later pass on to his song happy children. Wylie’s mother took him to church every Sunday to sing the old hymns. As a teenager he learned the songs that his father taught him in the living room and started playing bass guitar for his older brother’s high school dance band. Rock and Roll had permeated American culture and could be heard bouncing on the airwaves of northern Montana. Along with the classic country music of his childhood, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, and The Rolling Stones provided a repertoire for the local dances. Wylie went on to lead his own dance band and after years of Northwest club work ended up in Los Angeles where the seed of Wylie & the Wild West was planted amidst the Southern California traditional country scene of the late 1980’s. In 1992 Wylie used a credit card to take a Los Angeles film crew back to his family’s ranch in Montana where they filmed a video of “This Time” from the band’s debut album. Heavy airplay ensued on CMT and the band was soon in demand for festivals and clubs around the country.
Wylie stumbled upon his first National Cowboy Gathering in Elko NV in 1995 and was surprised to find a thriving audience for the music he loved to perform while growing up in northern Montana. He moved back to the family ranch in 1995 and began writing the songs that reflected the lifestyle that he loved. In 1998 he recorded the album “Ridin’ the Hi-Line” for Rounder Records which fused the driving traditional country elements of his dance band past to the cowboy side of his life in the Northwest. Wylie’s music has become a unique hybrid of American music balancing the driving rhythms of his dance band work with the heartfelt music of his rural culture. Wylie & the Wild West have performed at such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, the National Folk Festival, MerleFest and the Grand OleOpry (over 50 appearances). Wylie has also appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and A Prairie Home Companion. 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.