CONRAD — Wylie Gustafson has been the front man with his band "Wylie and The Wild West" since 1989. Wylie and The Wild West has toured for 30 years, playing original country folk songs that highlight his passion for yodeling.
“I take it seriously, to me it’s a vocal art form that shouldn’t be lost. I found that there is an audience out there that really appreciates yodeling,” said Gustafson.
After a year without festivals due to COVID, Wylie and The Wild West recently hit the road to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to perform at the The Chuck-Wagon Cook Off.
“It was great having Wylie & the Wild West back. We have had them in the past. Wylie's always been a big hit in this part of eastern Tennessee. He has a pretty good following so I think everyone we talked to was just ‘Oh wow it’s so great to get out and go to a live event.’ And the fact that it was Wylie and the band, it was just like the icing on the cake,” said Butch Helton, City Special Events Manager in Pigeon Forge.
Wylie says the pandemic has been a humbling time where he could step back and appreciate time spent with family. Now he’s happy to be spending some of that time with his fans of old school western folk music. “I felt really good about performing but I also realized that the audience needed music just as much as the musicians neded to get out and play. So it waws very symbiotic in terms of everybody was happy. In terms of going out to hear music again and us to play music. It was wonderful,” said Gustafson.
Last year, he was inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, and in 2017 he became a member of the Montana Pro Rodeo Wall and Hall of Fame.