Wylie and the Wild West | Sky Tones: Songs of Montana

New Albums

With his new CD, one of Montana’s most prolific songwriters and “a simple cow-horse man from the Big Sky Country” has given us a treasure-trove of the songs about Montana that he’s recorded over his career.

Re-recorded and produced by the same crew in Nashville responsible for last year’s gem, Rocketbuster, and featuring a slew of the same pickers, this compilation is vintage Wylie Gustafson.

The studio musicians include Dennis Crouch, bass, John McTigue, drums, Mark Thornton, guitar, Robby Turner, steel, Jeff Taylor, accordion, and Larry Marrs, background vocals.

The CD has a cross-section of what the native son describes as tunes about the “beauty of such a stunning land and the charm of her characters.” Possessing a spiritual love for his state and unabashedly crooning about it is Wylie’s forte; it doesn’t hurt that the Yodel King packs the musical muscle to pull it off in grand style.

Nuggets abound, from ballads to snappy dancers and back again. There’s the boogie-fied “Buck Up and Huck It” ; the swingy and shuffly M-m-m Montana” ; the Bob-Wills-inspired “Whoop Up Trail (“ridin’, ropin’, lopin’, laughin…” ), featuring some tasty yodeling; and don’t forget “Yodeling Fool,” from 1993’s Wylie and the Wild West Show recording.

The tenderly presented “Grace” is soulful and gorgeous, and “Montana Love Song” feels like you’re rollin’ along the rails, thanks to killer trap work. “I Get High” is an exalted and sweet delivery of Wylie’s love for Montana, wherein he soars to his famous falsetto range on “high.”

You got your “Hi-Line Polka” and its rockin’ rhythm (“yeah, you betcha” ), and the sweet waltz, “Ridin’ the Hi-Line.” The boy from Conrad never forgets his roots, and neither willl you when you listen to this collection.

Visit the artist at www.wyliewebsite.com.

– Mariss McTucker