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CD Review: Wylie & The Wild West – 2000 Miles from Nashville – by Roque Lazarus for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

CD REVIEW: 2000 Miles from Nashville –
Wylie & The Wild West

BY ROQUE LAZARUS FOR COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE & RADIO SHOW

       Wylie & The Wild West –2000 Miles from Nashville

                                                             
01. Nashville Never wanted me 3:22

                          02. Stranded on a
Gravel Road 3:14                 03. Wild
Rose of the Range 3:43

                                        04.
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding 3:37

              05. Cowboy Vernacular 3:13            06. Hot Rod Yodel 2:31               07. Little Secret 3:14

                 08. Hope lives in you 2:38    09. Sea of heartbreak 3:19      10. I knew the Bride 3:55

          
11. Tears only Run One Way 3:06   
12. Cowboy Daddy 2:12    13. Road
to Narvacan 2:56

                                               14.
Ukulele Yodel 1:58                15.
Ukulele Yodel 2:36

Band-members: Regular: Tim Lashley-Drums,
Clayton Parsons-Guitars,

John Sporman-In-house Luthier, Musician and
Composer,

Session:Kenny
Vaughan: Guitars, Chris Scruggs: Steel and electric guitars, Mike Bub: Upright
bass, John McTigue: Drums and percussion, Clayton Parsons: Electric and steel
guitar,

Mark Thornton: Electric guitar and Wylie Galt Gustafson: Gretsch
electric-guitar, ukulele, vocals

The album titled, ‘2000 Miles from Nashville’
is by Wylie & The Wild West. Released on the 17th day of January in the
year 2018 under the Genre of Traditional-Country. Says Wylie: ‘ Our range born
dad would turn off the TV and crack out the old Martin D-18 with his oddball
repertoire of old cowboy and folk songs’. His love for this music grew as it
was his heritage and his roots and as he presents these 15 gems of finely
crafted-country brilliance we thank him for keeping the flame of Country-Music
alive!

Trying to fit 15 songs on a CD album is
quite a task but has been ably achieved here as it is evident from the smart
duration-calculation in Wylie’s compositions some which are just under
two-minutes and less than 4 minutes but around 3 minutes for most. Total length
of the CD is 45:27.

Released under the Music-Label ‘HILINE
RECORDS’. Wylie and his band, The Wild West, have produced more than twenty
albums now since 1989. 

Here is what folks have to say about Wylie
Galt Gustafson: “One of the consistently fine cowboy singers of his
generation!” -Michael McCall, Country Music Magazine

“He’s the real deal.  He loves it, he feels it, he cares about it,
and he creates it in a profoundly satisfying way. “- says Ranger Doug,
Riders in the Sky.

‘Nashville Never wanted me’- Wylie’s
conversational-tone whilst singing is characteristic of his infectious country-humor.
The hard-panned guitar fillers on the left and slides with rhythm on the right
compliment the singer in dead-center. This song is similar to a song I used to
play called ‘O Carol’ but has its own twist on the chorus. After those
Grammy-grabbin’ rogues sold their souls to the devil at the crossroads you can
be sure that yours truly won’t ever dare to; he solemnly promises you!  It talks of a sweet-sour relationship of the
singer with his hometown. He never made it big-time, his face never on a big-Billboard
or under the big lights on a grand stage. He quotes the Bible saying ‘The first
shall be last and last’; first reinstating his right to
be the prodigal son of that town…an outcast with his own respect intact! With
a steady beat and easy bass to boot this track is setting the pace right for
this lovely album with the quaint-in your face picture of an Ass/Mule/Donkey
(pardon my ignorance we don’t have those here in sunny Goa) carrying a big
combo-speaker/amp on one side of its back and a guitar cable plugged line-in
from Wylie’s vintage semi-acoustic electric six-string; he himself striking a
classic pose.

 ‘Stranded on a Gravel Road’ – An achy-shaky
style reminding me of do the ‘hokey-pokey’ but then this must be a common style
for country-rock. You gotta appreciate the tight-Bass and drum accompaniment
with those rhythm guitars holding the fort of movement yet in a firmly-loosely bound
sonic mesh-wire frame for all these great-tracks. No fancy guitar tones here
mind-you and Vai whammies and no Satriani squeals and Hallens Vain-taps,
neither Marmalady Malmsteens histrionics here but a straight-in your-face-
fuzz-mild overdrive-saturation and almost as dry as a bone in the parched
Kalahari desert.  This must be the track
specifically sung and played as displayed on the cover jacket with the
faithful-Ass following him. The solos here always are in stark-contrast to each
other in tone and drive. A heavily saturated guitar solo that I wouldn’t call distortion
leads into the last verse. Forty miles from town one wonders if Wylie will
reach home in one piece with don-key!

‘Wild Rose of the Range’- This is a
slow-sad country waltz opening with a slurred guitar strings seated in a
wide-spaced arena for the sentiment of the emotion-tinged voice. In a kingdom
where fools are not found-there she is in her thickets and thorns. I can’t help
but imagine is it a maiden or a secret-valley inside a mountain canyon…since
I’m an Indian (not red; but brown 🙂 As the chorus comes in and instruments
make their entry one by one. She’ll never be touched, she’ll never be changed’,
A beautiful slide guitar weeps like a weeping willow with delayed attack
leading into a deep-vibrato-guitar solo (always somehow mistaken for tremolo by
the press).  A simple chord progression
of I-ii-V-I pervades the domain of musical brilliance in its pure humility.
This is a 6/8 half-time composition in Andante. A beautiful ritardando
concludes this song longing for a re-listen.

‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and
Understanding’ – Opening to the characteristic shape of a by-now familiar motif
that runs throughout the album, here is a country-rock ballad with the
strumming of ‘jing-jingajinganaka’ rythm of a chorusy-acoustic guitar (wonder
if it’s a 12 string or two guitars double-tracked?). The cry in his voice
appeals to those mocking him and asks them to reconsider their verdict before
passing unjust judgement. A double-dominant makes the way for the repeat on the
last-line of the enigmatic chorus. Here and there with tiny inflections on
certain syllables he delivers his message loud and clear in the title of the
song. A vocal-fry here and there, a tiny falsetto passage surprises me no-end
and makes me marvel at the singer’s versatility. A subtly dropped fall on the
bass with altered-chords before the last chorus sung in a dynamic appeal.  A 8 bar coda ends the song nicely.

‘Cowboy Vernacular’- This progression of
7ths of bluesy-rock n roll or old boogie I can’t make up my mind. The 7th in its
flattened state being an integral part of the Universal Harmonic-series is
deeply embedded in human-psyche whether one admits it or not. But what’s with
all this whacky talk-cowboy vernacular eh! You gotta know the lingo baby if you
got to marry a cowboy and keep away from his friends. Rednecks, rodeo, barrels,
and some-rules: no four-finger Talisman…you gotta learn it while you can! A
palm-muted hard-attack plectrum driving a single string nuts with heavy-persistence.
Well there you are a cowboy now if you can speak that tongue!

‘Hot Rod Yodel’- It starts with a full-on
Rockabilly guitar riff and excites us with a classic-Yodel then a Room-tom
drum-solo for a gracious 8 bar while the hats and kick drum stay steady like bridling
a hoss’ in mid-canter! WOW there goes that rockabilly-guitar again with some
Chuck-Berry-styled pull-off HAMMER-on’s on guitar. The yodeling gets so intense
as if CUPPING HIS HAND OVER HIS MOUTH OR PRESSING A THUMB TO THE ADAM’S
APPLE…now in ADDICTIVE-harmony it sounds like a Trill without the formula.
And before you know it, it just ends. Just wow for this one!

‘Little Secret’- The beautiful
vibrato-Guitar SOLO invites the warm-vocals of Wylie. I know your little secret
he says. He got a mischievous glint in his eyes as he welcome homes his darlin’
asking if she would like some breakfast. A round bass pattern is it played with
the side of a thumb in classic country style I muse as  the full-sounding Fat snare cuts-though
‘real’ and without much reverberation giving a strong back-beat to the steady 8
beat ride on hi-hats. ‘I aint no fool’-says the singer. After the last chapter
wins after the Hero fouls and the villain wins. This is a smart
singer-songwriter who knows to say a lot with less words. The Tutti-riff
leading to the chorus and from it, well it’s composed very well and is very
effective as a breather. If viewed from another dimension, this most certainly
is a conspiracy of the New-World Order and of the Maidens who dictate!

‘Hope lives in you’- These lyric that have
seen the darkness of Gethsemane and the curse of humanity believes that hope
lies in you. This composition in common-time at roughly Andantino pace is
minimalistic in its instrumentation. The side-stick on the rim of the
snare-drum struck lightly by the drummer never interfered with the song’s
message. The slight-tempo lag or flexible rubato in the accompaniment section
is rightly made up for at the end of the phrase. To simulate this effect in a
midi-file sequence I’d need groove-quantize facility. But then it’d be possible
as hope lives in you!

‘Sea of heartbreak’. As I listen to this
album, I note that the instrument scheme has been maintained uniformly throughout
the album. Like a live-band of real people….no fancy E.Ps or synths jumping
at you like in your New age and EDM and what have you! A beautiful
Mediant-Major leads into a solo that in turn has the singer appealing her to
come to his rescue. Actually the absence of excessive reverb on the mix unlike
the contemporary mixes makes this series of songs like a canvas with a few
subjects; a prairie with a few cows grazing here and there and cowboys hooping
their lasso with a few brambles and a few bushes here and there but never
interfering with each other for want of movement. This is what I appreciate of
the Sound-Engineers for panning the instruments responsibly across the
spatial-field. The notion that Major is happy and minor is sad is amiss
here….unless of course if he is happy about that sea of heartbreaks!  

‘I knew the Bride’- From the title I’d
expect the style to be different on this one but it’s not my album. A secret
smile given to the singer by the bride when she passes him by seems to be a sure-sign
of an exhilarating-intoxication, a residual-infatuation.  Opening to the splash of hi-hats and a guitar
riff backing with fillers oh so subtle in classic rock-n-roll approach. He can
see her in her tight-blue jeans spending her money in the record -machine? He
knows her secrets so bride beware! One can safely surmise that Wylie knows his
stuff and exactly what he is doin’ and when! Like the beautiful mix through the
album and consistency of timbre of instruments but as a writer, this new-hued
guitar solo springs up on me like a firebird from unknown lands. The groom has
a glass-piece for an eye he reveals but she never would marry him if she found
out! Intervals of double-stopps in sliding-4ths constantly remind you of the
Genre. A long sustaining note on the coda makes you wonder what else does this
Rock-n -rock master know?!

‘Tears only Run One Way’- If you have heard
the term ‘Obbligato’, then here you here is in an amazing guitar arpeggio
respecting the harmony like a melody on its own standing under the voice…like
tiny-ripples on the surface of the placid waters of a lake with a tiny opening
to the river… whilst the undercurrents buzz agog with the Bass and subtle
lower frequencies frequently pushing the conglomeration of instruments forward.
This shuffle can have you slow-jiving in minutes if you got your dancing shoes
on and your inhibitions turned off! Never mind the desolation of the singer as
his tears run down like a river. I still wonder if that amp-combo on the Mule’s
back is a Fender-Twin reverb!

‘Cowboy Daddy’ Well here we are with a
cowboy-rapper in Andante 2/4 not a hint of hesitation in his obsession to be a
daddy. I have never seen anyone rap this way and with a melodious chorus. There
is a tune to his spoken-word and it will catch the attention of even a wailing
baby throwing tantrums. Well he wants to buy a .44 pistol while grabbing a
piece of Western-History. It all ends way too soon with a vocal-fried ‘yeah!’

‘Road to Narvacan’ -Cattle graze below the
mango/mangrove trees? Did I hear that right?!  Tangerine sun greets you on the road to
Narvacan. This song has been beautifully placed and it’s a pattern of
intelligent mind to have a sad slow ballad every third song. As the crying
slide guitar creates a suspension on a held note making way for double-stopps
in thirds on a steel-stringed guitar. As Wylie sings in vocal harmony to himself
he rides into the outskirts of that fabled town with a raven-angel gliding
above his head As a ghostly sliding melody weaves in and out of your mesmerized
psyche. Was that another language in the last verse? If yes was it
Indian-dialect or a border country language probably Mexico…I dunnho!

‘Ukulele Yodel’-A refreshing twangy Ukulele
strum sets the stage for yet another soothing-cooing yodel reminiscent of its
country ancestry. Listen to the Drum and bass hold the fort in half-time as the
guitars run in double-time.  Are the
horse coming back to the ranch after wandering ….its sundown and his good
missus mustta be a waitin at the door of his wooden cabin?  An instrumental to compliment any Hollywood
film as film-score for the wild-wild west or an alien space ship landing on a
dusty Colorado Plateau. Beam up the Bovines my alien!

‘(Ghost) Riders in the Sky’ – I just
mentioned space-ships and here Wylie has named this instrumental with a
paranormal name…again like a movie-sound track in a wild-west chase through the
deep gorges into a hollow canyon as they make camp for the night near an old
river-bed. This is the imagery I get as I listen to this track again. A shadow
of an influence from the 60s and yet fiercely original in all other aspects of
its venture. A beautiful Minor7 arpeggio plucked in reverse makes me stay on
the other side of the ‘thin-parting-veil.’

I am listening to this album for the 4th
time in a row on my faithful Sony headphones with a tee-extra bit Bass and
again on the tiny laptop speakers on this Toshiba, I smile at the magic of
finesse in mastering! I’d bet this would even sound great on circus-squawker
funnels with 4 kHz pumped up all the way up  12 decibels that you can hear in Nashville!

We are proud to know Wylie Galt Gustafson
has been inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame.

“A man of faith who used God’s gifts well”- are his own words
when during an interview he was asked how he would like to be remembered…

Do buy and gift this album to your near and
dear ones and enjoy the music which modern times has been hiding from us!

Roque Lazarus for Country Music News
International Magazine & Radio Show

lazarusroque@gmail.com  +91-8275439795    

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One Response

  1. Thanks you CMNI, its an honor to be accepted as a CD review writer for your prestigious Blog

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