“Sky Tones” is a compilation album of our Montana themed songs that I have composed and/or recorded over the years. In March of 2012 we went to Nashville and re-recorded Ridin’ the Hi-Line, Montana Moon, Goodbye Old Paint, the Yodeling Fool, Big Sky Lullaby, and My Home’s In Montana. It is the perfect soundtrack for any kind of Montana journey you plan on taking: physical or metaphysical, car or horseback, whether you are counting on loneliness or casting for love!
As I mature as a songwriter I begin to realize that the more I write, the more focused my songs have become to a sense of “place”. That place is Montana. My native land. My “querencia”. My sacred altar. I am a simple cow-horse man from the Big Sky Country. I have chosen to celebrate my life by picking up a guitar and singing about this way of life. Being a Western singer in the 21st Century is not an easy way to make a living… but oh, so fulfilling! The paucity and poverty of being a minstrel doesn’t seem so bad when you get to sing about the beauty of such a stunning land and the charm of her characters.
The mysterious and awesome power of music is nothing new. King David piqued God’s interest by strumming a few righteous chords on a harp several thousand years ago. Good music always has found a way to into the hearts and souls of those who listen. For me, there is no better inspiration to celebrate the wide open spaces than by being a songwriter from Montana. To sing about another place seems almost unfaithful. And although her depth and beauty are bottomless and complex, I will continue to sing about her until my voice is silent.
1. Mmm… Montana
2. Whoop Up Trail
4. My Home’s in Montana
5. Buck Up and Huck It
6. Montana Love Song
7. I Get High
8. Hi-Line Polka
9. Big Sky Lullaby
10. Montana Moon
11. Ol’ Montan
12. Goodbye Old Paint
13. Summer Leases
14. Ridin’ the Hi-Line
15. The Yodeling Fool
Recorded at Sidekick Sound Studios, Nashville, TN
March 14-17, 2012
Produced by Wylie Gustafson
Engineered by Mark Thornton and Larry Marrs
Mixed by Larry Marrs
Dennis Crouch: Upright bass
John McTigue III: Drums
Erik Gustafson: Electric Guitar and harmony Vocals
John Gardner: Drums and percussion Hoot Hester: Fiddle and Mando on My Home’s in Montana, Mando on Goodbye Old Paint Mark Thornton: Gut-string guitar, Larry Marrs: Upright Bass, Harmony vocals
Robby Turner: Steel guitar on Ridin’ The Hi-Line Wylie Galt Gustafson: Vocals, electric and acoustic guitars
This album is dedicated to the loving memory of Patricia Jane Gustafson
Graphic design by George Garfio from painting by Tim Cox (www.TimCox.com), all rights reserved. Back cover photo by Jana Suchy. Inside photo by Thomas Lee. Band Photo by Jessica Liflan.
Special thanks: Rick Bryceson; Shane Queener; Carhartt and Debbie Tarys; Elixir Strings; Margo Metegrano at www.CowboyPoetry.com; the good folks I forgot to thank; and as always, the listeners of our music.