Wylie Gustafson

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Wylie Gustafson
Wylie Gustafson with guitar.jpg
Wylie Gustafson, March 2007
Background information
Birth name Wylie Galt Gustafson
Born (1961-06-07) June 7, 1961 (age 56)
Origin Conrad, Montana
Genres Country, cowboy, folk, yodeling
Occupation(s) Yodeler Singer Songwriter Cowboy Horseman
Years active 1992-present
Website "Wylie & the WIld West"

Wylie Galt Gustafson (born June 7, 1961, Conrad, Montana) is an American singer-songwriter who has toured nationally and internationally with his band, "Wylie & The Wild West". The band is known for its blend of cowboy, traditional country, folk and yodeling.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

Gustafson learned to sing and yodel from his father, R.W. "Rib" Gustafson, who is a traditional folk/cowboy singer, retired large-animal veterinarian, and author. The elder Gustafson learned to yodel from Austrians on the ski team at Montana State College (now Montana State University), Bozeman, Montana. Among Rib's credits are two books (Under the Chinook Arch, Room to Roam) about his life as a pioneering Montana veterinarian.

Wylie Gustafson founded his band, The Wild West Show, in 1988 in Los Angeles at the world famous Palomino Club where they were regulars on Ronnie Mack's Barn Dance. It was there that Gustafson showcased the first version of the Wild West Show which then included guitarist Will Ray. The group developed their sound alongside artists such as Dale Watson, Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam, Rosie Flores and Dave Alvin. Since then, Wylie & the Wild West have played thousands of gigs, delighting audiences around the world with their unique brand of music which included elements of cowboy, traditional country, western swing, folk and yodeling.

Throughout his musical career, Gustafson has remained a working cowboy. Born into a ranching family in the empty sprawl of Northern Montana, Gustafson’s unique American perspective is the primary theme of his music. Gustafson and his family were featured in the 2013 Dodge Super Bowl commercial “God Made a Farmer”. Their image resembled a working-class family producing daily labor to help feed the United States as a whole. This ancient way of life remains the backbone of Gustafson's art.

Gustafson is particularly noted as a virtuoso yodeler, having originated the slow and ethereal High Plains Yodeling style that evokes the wide open spaces of his Montana home. He also created and voiced the signature "Yahoo-oo-oo!" for Yahoo, Inc.. His book and album, "How to Yodel- Lessons to Tickle Your Tonsils," was published by Gibbs Smith in 2007, and is the top selling publication on the rejuvenated vocal art. As of 2016, Gustafson remains one of the top choices of yodelers and his clean and clear style can be heard frequently on national advertisements, television and movies. Some major companies that have used his yodel include Yahoo!, Walt Disney Films, Porsche, Mitsubishi, Miller Lite, Taco Bell and Montana Tourism.

Gustafson is also an accomplished horseman (2005 & 2008 NCHA Western National Finals Top Ten Open Finalist) and cowboy. When not performing, he operates his Cross Three Quarter Horse Ranch near Conrad, Montana breeding, raising and training cow horses. When Gustafson was young, he was a competitive team roper. Sometimes when at home at his ranch, he participates in roping contests at local ranches.[3] In 1998, he was a champion team roper at the Reba McEntire/Ben Johnson Celebrity Rodeo.[4]

On April 25, 2007, "Montana Lullaby" was declared the official lullaby of Montana. A yodel by Gustafson was used to write the lullaby. As a result, Montana was the first state to have an official lullaby.[5][6]

As of 2016, Gustafson continues to front Wylie & the Wild West Show, and they continue to record and tour on a regular basis. The group is one of the United States' major folk and cowboy festival attractions with their energetic dance songs, aesthetic ballads, and Gustafson's unique High Plain's yodeling. Gustafson's songwriting continues to gracefully challenge the preconceptions of their genre and boldly reflect the ever-evolving West.

Wylie & the Wild West Show have released twenty-one albums through 2015, most of which are available on iTunes, Amazon, and the band's official website: www.wyliewebsite.com.

Notable appearances[edit]

  • Grand Ole Opry, WSM Radio, Nashville, Tennessee (more than 50 guest appearances)
  • American Routes to China Tour 2015
  • CMC Rocks Australia Country Music Festival 2015
  • Thredbo Country Music Festival Australia 2015
  • American Routes to China Tour 2013
  • Yahoo! on the Road Summer 2013 promotional tour for Yahoo!
  • God Made a Farmer Dodge television advertisement. January 2013 & 2014 Super Bowl commercial
  • Merlefest- Wilkesboro, NC -April 2012. Wylie featured in Songwriter Showcase with Jim Lauderdale and Claire Lynch
  • Horse Talk with Lizzie Iwerson- RFD TV 2012
  • American Seasons Tour in Russia sponsored by The American Folklife Center and CEC Arts Link- March thru April 2012
  • Don't Fence Me In West Coast tour hosted by the National Council for Traditional Arts- March 2012
  • Push the Button, hosted by Ant and Dec (2010 season debut)
  • Gold Coast Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (2008, 2009)
  • The National Folk Festival
  • Lowell Folk Festival
  • Bangor Folk Festival
  • Great Lakes Folk Festival
  • Richmond, VA Folk Festival
  • Late Night with Conan O'Brien (2008)
  • National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Elko, Nevada (2000, '01, '02, '03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14, '15)
  • A Prairie Home Companion (2006, 2010)
  • Lincoln Center
  • The Kennedy Center
  • The Los Angeles Music Center
  • Western Folklife Center tour of Brazil and Argentina 2007
  • Country Gold Festival, Kumamoto, Japan
  • Tom Russell's Vancouver-to-Toronto Canadian Cow Train (2005, 2007)
  • Merlefest, Wilkesboro, North Carolina (2002, 2010, 2012)
  • Bumbershoot International Music & Arts Festival, Seattle, Washington
  • Equiblues Festival, St. Agreve, France
  • Personal Appearance with lines in the movie "Slaughter Rule"
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast (1996 episode: "Freak Show")



Year Album
1992 Wylie & the Wild West Show
1994 Get Wild
1996 Glory Trail
Cattle Call
1997 Way out West
1998 Total Yodel!
2000 Ridin' the Hi-line
2001 Paradise
2004 Hooves of the Horses
Cowboy Ballads and Dance Songs
2005 Live! at the Tractor
2007 Bucking Horse Moon
Christmas for Cowboys
2008 Yodel Boogie!
2009 Hang -n- Rattle!
2009 Unwired
2011 Raven on the Wind
2012 Rocketbuster
2013 Sky Tones- Songs of Montana
2015 Song of the Horse


Year Single Chart Positions Album
1994 "Ugly Girl Blues" 38 Get Wild
1995 "Hey Maria"
"Cattle Call" Cattle Call
1998 "Girl on the Billboard" Way out West
2001 "Saddle Burn" Paradise

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1992 "This Time" Randy Cohen
1993 "Doctor My Heart"[8] Brooks Dailey
1993 "Black Boots and Blue Jeans" Mitchell Cohen
1993 "Yodeling Fool"
1994 "Ugly Girl Blues"
1995 "Hey Maria"
"Cattle Call"
1998 "Girl on the Billboard"
2005 "Live! at the Tractor Tavern" Brian Barnett


  1. ^ Nickell, Joe (October 15, 2010). "Wylie Gustafson Sings More Than Yodels, Really is a Cowboy". Missoulian. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Wylie and the Wild West". Montana Living. August 21, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Cross Three Quarter Horses - Introduction to our ranch". Cross Three Quarter Horses. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  4. ^ "Wylie's Biography | Wylie & the Wild West". Wylie & the Wild West. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  5. ^ "Montana's Lullaby". Billings Gazette. April 25, 2007. Retrieved September 5, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Montana Designates Nation's First Official Lullaby". PRWeb. April 27, 2007. Retrieved September 5, 2011. 
  7. ^ RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks
  8. ^ "CMT : Videos : Wylie & the Wild West Show : Doctor My Heart". Country Music Television. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 

External links[edit]