Wylie & The Wild West Hooves of the Horses
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- Released: June 15, 2004
- Label: Western Jubilee
Uncut - p.1544 stars out of 5 - "[W]ith honky tonk lullabies..."
- 1.The Hooves of the Horses
- 2.I Grab My Saddle Horn and Blow
- 4.Equus Caballus
- 5.Leather Lover
- 6.Out Here
- 7.Luther Played the Boogie
- 8.A Good One
- 10.The Sky Above Mud Below
- 12.Saddle Broncs and Sagebrush
- 13.Happy Rovin' Cowboy
- 15.76 With a Miss
- 16.Rockabye Lullaby
Wylie & the Wild West: Wylie Gustafson (vocals, acoustic guitar); Hoot Hester (guitar, background vocals); Duane Becker (steel guitar, dobro); Dennis Crouch (acoustic bass guitar); Ray Doyle (background vocals); Jimmy Clark, John McTigue, Mark Thornton.
Personnel: Ray Doyle (guitar, baritone guitar); Mark Thornton (electric guitar, gut-string guitar); Duane Becker (steel guitar, dobro); Hoot Hester (mandolin, fiddle); Jimmy Clark (trumpet); Dennis Crouch (acoustic bass); John McTigue (drums, percussion).
Recording information: Sidekick Sound Studios, Madison, TN (12/2003).
Author: Joe Baker.
Photographer: Bill Watts.
If a relaxing country style that brings to mind George Hamilton IV or, to a lesser extant, Marty Robbins, sounds good, then this album is for you. From the lovely little country amble on "Hooves of the Horses" that blends folk and country, lead singer Wylie Galt Gustafson is as mellow and laid-back as one can be. A tad more up-tempo is the country swing of "I Grab My Saddle Horn and Blow," which brings to mind the Squirrel Nut Zippers if they were raised in Dallas or San Antonio. One surprise is how the band takes Buddy Holly's "Everyday" down to a crawl but is able to keep the song's greatness is check, even down to the subtle hi-cupping that closes some lines. But the classic country mid-tempo toe-tappers are what sell this album, especially on the gorgeous "Equus Caballus" with its Tex-Mex guitar strumming. This same format is followed later on during the swaying, horn-tinged "Manolito." "Leather Lover" sounds a bit too lightweight though, resulting in a song that might be best left for the likes of Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch. Thankfully this is more than atoned for during the stellar and soothing "Out Here" as drum brushes create a flavor that only Neil Young might be able to pull off as well. The same could be said for the ranch narrative entitled "A Good One," a song you can almost envision Gustafson singing on horseback, like Roy Rogers or Gene Autry. The highlight is the lengthy story of "The Sky Above, The Mud Below" which could be mistaken for a Townes Van Zandt song. While the songs are all traditionally performed, there's a freshness to each tune few can master, as evidenced on "Saddle Broncs and Sagebrush." The yodel-fuelled "Happy Rovin' Cowboy" is another strong effort with violins and an almost polka-like backbeat. ~ Jason MacNeil
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