Ronda Billerbeck

Kent Parks, Recreation & Community Services

(253) 856-5050



Wylie Gustafson

(509) 549-3364

Kent, Wash. - The Kent Arts Commission is proud to present Wylie & the Wild West as the first Spotlight Series performance of 2005. This wildly popular band blends western swing, classic country, cowboy, and folk music, and serves it up with a healthy helping of rock'n'roll energy. Wylie & the Wild West bring the rich tradition of Western music to Kentwood High School Performing Arts Center (25800 164th Ave. S.E., Covington) on Saturday, January 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Not only is Wylie & the Wild West front-man, Wylie Gustafson the consummate cowboy singer, he is a real, working cowboy. Despite his successful career as one of America's most popular traditional entertainers, Wylie still gets up everyday and tends to the livestock. It grounds him and is the backbone of his art. "The connection between my ranch life and my music is extremely close," Wylie says. "Most of my songs reflect the great wide open where I live and punch cattle. I believe in creating a song that inspires the listener . . . either lyrically or rhythmically. It is also important that I offer something that takes traditional ideas and bends them in a new direction."

Keeping his home base in Dusty, Washington (population 11), Wylie has spread his influence the world over. He has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry over 45 times, and also performs at such prestigious venues as the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the National Folk Festival and NPR Radio. In addition to his live appearances and broadcasts, Wylie's voice has echoed in millions of homes as the prominent yodel in the advertising campaign.

Whether they are playing prestigious performing arts centers, festivals, bars or barn dances, the music of Wylie & the Wild West never fails to inspire audiences. Billboard Magazine declared, "When Wylie & the Wild West play, folks get up and dance!" According to Wylie, "We are a hybrid that tends to defy a simple classification. I know that the young urban crowds in Seattle appreciate us as much as the working cowboys do. Our music is not limited to one type of listener."

In this era of prepackaged superstars - of pale imitations of country music being generated by media giants - the music of Wylie & the Wild West stands out as authentic, honest and beautiful. "In our music and our presence," explains Wylie, "we try to offer a simpler, less common, and more soulful essence. We try to be ourselves." By being himself Wylie Gustafson has become one of the most exciting and endearing acts in contemporary music - country, western, folk or otherwise.

Wylie & the Wild West appear in Kent as part of the 2004-2005 Spotlight Series. The season features performances by regional, national and international touring artists in a variety of genres. The schedule features 15 performances on three stages and includes something for every interest and all ages. For the complete schedule and more information on Spotlight Series,  call (253) 856-5050.

Tickets for Wylie & the Wild West are $15 for adults and $13 for students and seniors. Tickets may be purchased at the Kent Commons, 525 4th Avenue North, Kent, or by phone with a Visa or Mastercard during business hours at (253) 856-5050. Spotlight Series is presented by the Kent Arts Commission and Kent Parks, Recreation and Community Services. The Wylie & the Wild West concert is sponsored by Sir Speedy Printing. For information call (253) 856-5050 or visit