The High Country Cowboys, comprised of Red Lodge’s Kosel brothers, possess the authentic sound of western groups like the Sons of the Pioneers, honed by many years of singing, playing with each other and listening to this western style with its smooth three-part harmonies. They show it off on their new album, mixing originals with time-honored hits, and the result is first rate.
Lead vocalist and songwriter Marty plays rhythm guitar; John plays lead guitar, and Joe covers the bottom on bass. The fellas have similar voices, and each sings lead at times. The group is joined by excellent players Tom Boyer, lead guitar; Matt Roland, fiddle; Kit Halloff, drums; Bryan Kuban, bass; and Jeannie Cahill on Dobro, concertina, mandolin, and harmonica.
The High Country Cowboys started performing in 2014, and have already been nominated by the Western Music Association for many awards. In fact, Marty won the coveted title of WMA Yodeler of the Year the last two years. He demonstrates why on his barnburner, “Cowboy’s Life.” His flexible baritone voice jumps from verse into lightning-fast yodel mode, bending gymnastically on the “yodel-ay-ee-tees.” Wow! High ooh-tee-ays of harmony and cool fiddle licks flesh out the piece.
His snappy shuffle, “Trail’s End,” is a true story about an NFR Hall-of-Fame bucking horse; the brothers sing a cappella a bit on this one. And the Fraser/Shannon song, “Cowboy,” gives me goosebumps when Marty glides upward into his falsetto range, adding a little vibrato on the sustain.
Stan Jones’s “Ghost Riders in the Sky” has the spot-on ambience of a storm on the plains, with harmony vocals echoing “ki-yays” and “yippee-ohs.” Guitarist Boyer provides atmosphere with his supple note-bending.
Cindy Walker’s moody “Gringo’s Guitar” is a slow waltz with a south-of the border flair; John’s leisurely guitar riffs enhance this one. And the Cowboys’ three-part harmony on the chorus is haunting. So much more here. You won’t be disappointed!
Vist the group at thehighcountrycowboys.com.
– Mariss McTucker