“Heck, for me a day without yodeling is like a day without sunshine.” (Wylie Gustafson, from the liner notes of Way out West)
Jon from Poetry is for Assholes told me he heard some songs of Wylie and the Wild West. So here’s a post about him. Wylie is in fact Wylie Gustafson, the man responsible for the Yahoo yodel. He is known for his repertoire of western swing, country, rockabilly and yodel.
He was born in 1961 in Montana (USA) and learned to yodel from his father, who himself learned it from the Austrians from the ski team at Montana State College. In the liner notes of his Total Yodel ! album, he says this: “My dad used to yodel up on the ski hill. Every time he’d get to the top of the hill, he’d shake the snow off his skis and let out a yodel. That was our signal to go down the hill. Off course, that led to us trying to mimic him. I remember when I was 10 or 12, I tried to yodel and I could do it better than my brothers.” Later, he would fine-tune his yodeling with the help of an Austrian yodeling lessons record.
Wylie formed his group, the Wild West Show in 1989 and since then, they have recorded 13 albums and toured around the world. At the same time, Wylie Gustafson is a real cowboy: he owns a ranch where he trains and sells horses. And if you want to learn yodel, buy his book: How to Yodel: Lessons to Tickle Your Tonsils.
His songs are sometimes nostalgic, inspired by the sounds of West Coast country music, like western swing or honky tonk, with some touches of rockabilly in some song. His inspiration comes from the life of the cowboys and many songs speak about cattle, fence building and tumbleweeds.
Here are some songs from different albums. He also made a full album of yodels (Total Yodel !), at popular demand, with Jimmie Rodgers songs and more European style yodels but this will be for another post.