Wylie and the Wild West - Raven on the Wind
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Raven on the Wind (Two Medicine Music, 2010)

Wylie and the Wild West

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Wylie Gustafson is that renowned Yahoo! yodeler, but you won't hear yodeling on his and his band's new "Raven on the Wind." The Maestro, in contrast, is drenched in soul, while Rip This Joint is saturated with rockabilly vibes. About the only song that even remotely utilizes the upper range of Gustafson's yodeling voice is Hi-Line Polka.

Elsewhere, Gustafson sounds like a campfire cowboy dispensing wisdom during the acoustic guitar and Dobro-driven I Believe in Love. This 12-track release opens with the smoky and twang-y guitars of Punchy, which could easily pass for a Creedence Clearwater Revival or latter day John Fogerty number. And if all that variety isn't enough, the title track has a clip-clopping, honest to goodness reggae beat!

This project's true revelation is the way it spotlights Gustafson as an all around great vocalist. Yodeling may have been the vocal skill that brought the man fame, but he can also be a fine deep-voiced singer when he needs to be. Gustafson is closely associated with the modern cowboy music movement, and he includes plenty of cowboy lyrical elements within these songs. Wild Mustang, for instance, speaks about the unbridled ways of an untrained horse, from the horse's perspective.

If you have the mental aural picture of Wylie Gustafson as being little more than a happy yodeler, this CD will most certainly expand your perception. This is simply one fine country music album.

CDs by Wylie and the Wild West

2000 Miles from Nashville, 2018 Relic, 2013 Rocketbuster, 2011 Raven on the Wind, 2010 Bucking Horse Moon, 2007

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