Hooves of the Horses

Hooves of the Horses

by Wylie & the Wild West


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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 n' Cowboy" is another strong effort with violins and an almost polka-like backbeat.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/15/2004
Label: Western Jubilee
UPC: 0803020116320
catalogNumber: 18
Rank: 73737

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Wylie & the Wild West   Primary Artist
Jimmy Clark   Trumpet
Dennis Crouch   Acoustic Bass
Ray Doyle   Guitar,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony,Guitar (Baritone)
Hoot Hester   Fiddle,Guitar,Mandolin,Rhythm Guitar,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Mark Thornton   Electric Guitar,Gut String Guitar
Wylie Gustafson   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
John McTigue   Percussion,Drums
Duane Becker   Dobro,Steel Guitar
Duane Becker   Dobro,Steel Guitar

Technical Credits

Johnny Cash   Composer
Tom Russell   Composer
Buddy Holly   Composer
Norman Petty   Composer
Joe Baker   Author
Bob Nolan   Composer
Mark Thornton   Engineer,Mix Control
Wylie Gustafson   Composer,Audio Production
Paul Zarzyski   Composer
CJ Shelker   Back Cover
Joel Nelson   Composer

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Hooves of the Horses 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wylie Gustafson's return to rural living in the mid-90s continues to pay dividends in his music. Bred in Montana, Gustafson's act was born of the California scene and tempered by a stretch in Nashville. But years of Eastern Washington ranching and horsemanship has taken his Western-themed music to a more sacred level. He takes a page from the book of Marty Robbins, not only with sweet Western ballads like "Hooves of the Horses" and Mexicali-flavored tunes like "Manolito," but with variety that includes the slinky blue "Leather Lover" and a jazz tinged cover of Bob Nolan's "I Grab My Saddle Horn and Blow." ¶ Covers of Buddy Holly ("Everyday"), Johnny Cash ("Luther Played the Boogie"), and Tom Russell ("The Sky Above, The Mud Below") complement fine originals like the slyly sweet "Mmm… Montana" and the instrumental walking blues, "76." Gustafson crafts songs from cowboy poetry and pulls out his considerable yodeling skill for a cinematic cover of Bob Nolan's "Happy Rovin' Cowboy." The song selections move from country to western to folk to blues to swing with a fluidity that puts this release among the group's best.