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Ridin' the Hi-Line

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Album Review

Wylie hits his stride full-on here, turning in not only his best collection of original songs, but some of the purest, sincerest music to grace the genre in years. If Way Out West's unsaddled energy left a gimmicky (but ecstatic) impression, and Total Yodel! was reverent almost to the point of irrelevance, Ridin' the Hi-Line takes the best elements of both and transforms them into an album that stands alongside the best country records of all time. It's not just that Wylie's songwriting hits its peak here, but the production is nuanced and enriching in all kinds of ways, from the addition of clarinets and vocal harmonies to the crisp reverb of dancefloor swingers like "Jitterbug Boogie" and "Ol' Coyote." He's also helped immensely by the addition of two new and outstanding guitarists, Ray Doyle and Duane Becker, whose effortless musical rapport fleshes out every detail. Wylie's love for cowboy life really comes into its own here as well, as self-penned songs like the gorgeous "Ridin' the Hi-Line" transcend nostalgia to the point of becoming modern classics.


Formed: 1989

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s

After moving to Los Angeles from his native Montana, Wylie Gustafson formed the Wild West Show in 1989. Influenced by his father, a Montana rancher who also played guitar and sang cowboy songs, and an older brother, whom he was once in a band with, Gustafson is an accomplished yodeler, who blends West Coast honky tonk with Western music. Landing in Nashville in 1992, Wylie & the Wild West Show released several videos that received regular airplay on both CMT and TNN; and although the tall, bespectacled...
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Ridin' the Hi-Line, Wylie & The Wild West
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