2019 Featured Performers
Photo by BillWatts.com
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Wyoming rancher and performer Dave Munsick shows audiences the way back into a country that few have imagined and even fewer have seen. A former New Mexico state fiddle champion, Dave combines his musical and poetic gifts into memorable pictures that he writes and sings. Drawing widely from a diverse palate of experiences, Dave colors his western folk style with a unique harmonic and lyrical smoothness in creating a genre of music he describes as Western Americana. These are songs about the people, places, and times of a west that lives without borders; a west where stories fly and horses run.
Dave has performed across the west for 40 years and has worked as a sideman or opened for acts including Chris Ledoux, Ian Tyson, and Lyle Lovett, both as a solo artist and as a member of the bands that he has led. These include his family band, The Munsick Boys, who were voted the number one western band of 2016 by the Academy of Western Artists.
Jarle turns his experiences with horses, rodeo, and North Dakota rural living into humorous verse. He's been writing cowboy poetry for over 25 years, sharing his stories with friends and family members over trail ride campfires, at various community events, and at cowboy poetry gatherings throughout the country.
He is also host and producer of "Back at the Ranch," a weekly half-hour radio show featuring a mix of western music and cowboy poetry. The program is available as a podcast at http://keyaranch.podomatic.com.
Jarle and his wife, along with an ever-changing number of horses, live north of Dunseith, North Dakota, not far from the Canadian border.
High Country Cowboys
Remembering the good old days of Western Music and the Silver Screen Cowboys like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and the Sons of the Pioneers, the High Country Cowboys present to you, their brand of this Classic Genre! Born and raised in the heart of ranch country in south central Montana, they grew up playing 'cowboys and ...native americans' and watching the old B-western films on VHS which instilled in them their love for the west and of course cowboy music. Since their beginning in 2014, the Pro Cowboy Country Association has awarded them "Music Group of the year, 2017 and 2018. They also received "Best Album of the Year" (for their album "Cowboy" in 2018). Their lead singer Marty has been awarded "Yodeler of the year" (2017) and "Male Vocalist of the Year" (2018). The International Western Music Association has also recognized their album "Cowboy" as "Best Album of the Year" 2017, and Marty has won IWMA "Yodeler of the Year" 3 times. Their traditional sound and three part western harmony has been compared to the Sons of the Pioneers and Marty Robbins.
Raised among the blood thirsty chiggers and varmint infested persimmon thicket of Southern Oklahoma, Sky grew up in a small town helpin' feed the family cow herd, ridin' horses on the town's blacktop streets and occasionally an angry "widder" woman's manicured lawn.
In 1991, Sky started presenting "hands on" living history programs based on research, personal experiences and stories gathered from his life in the cowboy world. Now working full time across the United States and Canada as an Award Winning Storyteller, Sky is in demand in several different areas of education and entertainment. Trunk programs banquet speaking, concert appearances, featured performances at cowboy gatherings, and presenting workshops at schools, colleges and public libraries have all become a part of Sky's life as a professional storyteller.
Sky has been described as a mixture between Bill Cosby and Jeff Foxworthy in a cowboy hat! His stories have been described as clean family style western folk humor. Because of his ability to paint vivid scenes in your mind's eye with his picture words and colorful phrases, ornery western sense of humor, and his knack for connecting with a wide range of folks, Sky has become Oklahoma's favorite cowboy storyteller.
Wylie and the Wild West
Wylie Gustafson is a native Montanan singer/songwriter with 20 albums and 4 decades of performing, writing, and recording under his belt. Wylie has matured into a dynamic talent, and has become one of the few authentic voices of the American West. One critic called him, “…the coolest cowpoke around. Forget everything you hate about modern country, this guy is old-school cool without being a tired period piece”.
Wylie is an American Original. For over the last 30 years, he and his band, The Wild West, have performed their refreshing blend of cowboy, western swing, old school country, and yodeling music worldwide. They are hugely popular on the festival and theatre circuit. Stateside, they have performed at such prestigious venues as the National Folk Festival, MerleFest, the Bumbershoot Festival, The Stagecoach Festival, A Prairie Home Companion, The Conan O’Brien Show and the Grand Ole Opry (with over 50 guest appearances). Worldwide, their universal appeal has taken them to China, Russia, Australia, Europe, South America, and Japan. That is not the resume of a mediocre performer!
Wylie’s music has been baptized with a hardy dose of trail dust and horse hair. As an accomplished cutting horse and roping enthusiast, he has claimed several hard won regional and national titles within the National Cutting Horse Association astride his super-horse, “Whiskey”. That shiny belt buckle he wears wasn’t won on eBay.
Despite his successful career in music and yodeling, when not touring he still gets up every day and tends to the livestock on his Cross Three Quarter Horse ranch near the town of Conrad, Montana. It grounds him and is the backbone of his art. The secret of Wylie’s honest, uplifting and soulful music isn’t in any musical formula or flashy gimmick. Its purity lies in Wylie’s character: earnest and hard-working, beaming with friendly vigor, topped off with a smile as welcoming as the Big Sky sunshine. In 2014 Wylie, along with his family members, appeared in the popular Dodge Truck “God Made a Farmer” commercial that appeared during the Super Bowl.
Wylie’s dynamic stage presence keeps getting him invited back to venues year after year. As a seasoned singer/songwriter, Wylie has etched his presence onto the American music scene and is the originator of the High Plains Yodeling style which evokes the loneliness of his northern Montana home. His voice echoed in millions of homes as the prominent yodel in the successful Yahoo! Advertising campaign with his trademark “Ya-hooo-ooo!” His top selling book “How to Yodel-Lessons to Tickle Your Tonsils” is the number one selling book of its genre. Wylie has become a nationally renowned voice-over artist for the advertising, movie and TV world.
When asked to define his music, Wylie says, “We are a good-time cowboy band that hates to be boring!” The band members, guitarist Clayton Parsons, drummer Tim Lashley, and bassist Johnny Pope, are all virtuoso players with winning personalities. The fans appreciate the band’s friendliness.
A few years back, with guitar in hand and standing in the saddle atop his horse, Wylie appeared on the cover of Western Horseman magazine. “Western Horseman is the Rolling Stone Magazine of the horseman world,” laughs the lanky cowboy. For Wylie, his western lifestyle and the recording studio are inseparable. “The connection between my cowboy life and my music is extremely close,” he says.
“Obviously Wylie makes phenomenal music,” says Minnesota State Fair Director Chris Tahti. “But he’s not just a good recording artist; he’s a great performing artist. People plan to be here to see him. The best part of his performance is the reactions of people who don’t know who he is. They walk by, and he pulls them into the seats. He’s a magnet,” Tahti beams. “Not only does he draw a crowd, he keeps them there.”