Conrad’s singing cowpoke and world-famous yodeler, Wylie Galt Gustafson, has put out another gem of Montana-made songs on his 22nd album, 2000 Miles from Nashville. As is his wont, the prolific singer/guitarist writes about his ranching life in a slew of new originals. He sings four covers as well.
Accompanying him on this ride are stellar pickers Kenny Vaughan, guitars, Chris Scruggs, steel and electric guitars, Mike Bub, upright bass, John McTigue, drums and percussion, Clayton Parsons, electric and steel guitar, and Mark Thornton, electric guitar. Gustafson plays Gretsch electric guitar and ukulele, and sings all the vocals.
The first tune, “Nashville Never Wanted Me,” is a jumpy, shuffly jitterbugger wherein Gustafson chides the music suits for ignoring the music that’s made by hard-working farmers and ranchers – the music he’s performed throughout his career.
“Stranded on a Gravel Road” is a bluesy hip-shaker about Gustafson’s farm rig. “She blows a little smoke, she burns a little oil, but a brand-new rig will just make a man spoiled,” he sings, putting a yip in his voice at times. Ha!
In “Cowboy Vernacular,” we are treated to a reverb-y swamp-rocker with an infectious drumbeat and cool guitar riffs. Gustafson makes fun of rodeo lingo, singing, “It’s a western convolution of proper elocution.” This one is a terrific dancer!
And what album would be complete without Gustafson’s gorgeous yodeling? “Ukulele Yodel” has a simple, pretty melody; he sings all three harmony parts. Stunning! “Hot Rod Yodel” is a quick 12-bar blues in the “Hot Rod Lincoln” style, and features lots of great drum work. It cooks!
Gustafson is on top of his game on this album. And, he says it’s “getting lots of Americana radio airplay, which we are not used to.” It’s about time, I say!
– Mariss McTucker