Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wylie and The Wild West at the Tractor 1-21-12


Remember the yodel from the internet company Yahoo? Wylie Gustafson is the man behind the voice. This guy is a force of nature; he is a multi-talented maniac who tames wild horses, ranches 100 miles from the nearest civilization and sings cowboy songs.

I have rarely seen such a prolific gentleman as he. He has been playing with his band for 20 years and produced over 17 albums. http://www.wyliewebsite.com/

He has his own horse training center in Conrad Montana. He trains horses for cutting and sorting cows, shit, I didn't think they did that stuff anymore. Here is the link to his site: http://www.crossthreequarterhorses.com/

I could have seen him before but I put it off. This all-seated show offered the chance to see him on an early Saturday evening. He was releasing his 17th album and he had a special CD release party at the Tractor. This early (5pm) show gave me the chance to date the lovely Mrs. Ghia. I was really happy that she was able to join and as it turned out she had a gas.

The audience was quite a bit different than I am used to, lately I have seen bands that attract a younger set. This crowd was much older and crustier. He draws a cowboy crowd, but also baby boomers (yours truly belongs to this group) who like country. It was all sit down, weird to see at the Tractor. But it was quite nice, I sat in back so I could stand and dance. There were few opportunities to dance for anybody else.

And shoot, you just had to move to Wylie and his band. He is the most animated performer you ever have seen; James Brown, Jackie Wilson and Mata Hari all wrapped into one. He slithered like a snake, he bobbed like a chicken, he glided across the stage, he knocked his knees and a sang like a bird.

I was amazed at his voice. He is known for yodeling; incredible voice control and such a beautiful pitch. He sang several tunes A capella doing Buddy Holly's True Love Ways, amazing. The yodeling was cool too, he added several tunes that pleased the crowd.

After 20 years his main band members left for other pastures. He had a new lead guitar and a new bass guitar. Neither had been to the big city before, the lead was 21 and played quite conservatively. There were times when we could barely hear him, they did crank it up in the second half. The drummer was from Spokane (my hometown) and also added vocals. He was accomplished and looked comfortable backing the crazy man up front.

I would have liked to see him when he had his old band. Although Wylie could have performed without anybody accompanying him with no instrument and he would have still wowed. It helped that he had an audience that loved him and hung on every word.

I bought several of his cd's; they are independently produced but sound as good as any pro disc. I can't imagine he makes a ton of money touring (our tickets were only 10 dollars) and I am sure the direct sales of his cd's help the bottom-line.

I encourage each one of you to buy local music. Go see some live music and make sure to grab one of their discs if available. Support your local musician.

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