Music is an important part of Wyoming’s history and is still influential today. It reflects the spirit of perseverance and adventure so prominent throughout Wyoming’s rough-cut history. Today’s music ranges from punk rock to rap, to country music and classic rock. The music showcases an extension of the modern-day pioneer spirit. Many musicians from Wyoming have a unique sound, one that is embraced and cherished not only in Wyoming but in other western states as well.
A Vast Variety of Music With Wyoming Roots
Much of Wyoming’s music is classified as country or alternative country. There is still plenty of room, however, for alternative, rock, classic rock, bluegrass and punk rock infused with blues. Many bands in Wyoming do not wait for promoters to come along. Instead they use the bootstrap method so popular in Wyoming’s culture throughout history. In music this is known as bootstrap self-promotion. Bands have a strong sense of belief in themselves and their music, and it shows. Here are nine of the most popular Wyoming bands, along with where to catch them:
Obviously this would not even be a list without this group of western rocking cowboys and one cowgirl. Not only are they one of the best musical acts to hail from Wyoming but their shows are some of the best parties in the state. Seriously go out of your way to go party with them it will be unforgettable!
Screen Door Porch is a quartet of outstanding musicians with Aaron Davis and Seader Rose on vocals, drummer Andy Peterson and bass player Tom Davidson. They showcase a unique blending of roots music that holds special appeal to those in Wyoming’s least populated areas. They are on tour with J. Shogren Shanghai’d and Jalan Crossland.
The lead singer of this band is singer and songwriter Jason Shogren. He has an interesting day job, but considers music to be his primary love. By day, he is the chairman of the University of Wyoming’s economics department. He is an expert in biodiversity and climate change, and holds a Nobel Peace Prize received during the Clinton White House years. Other band members include bass player Shaun Kelley and guitarist Jascha Herdt. Since 2007, Jason Shogren has recorded four albums.
The third act in this tour of Wyoming artists is Jalan Crossland. He plays a unique mixture of folk music, blended with bluegrass, with a hint of rock influence. Jalan placed second in a championship called the National Finger Style Guitar Championship. He also holds titles in several flat picking competitions. He comes from a very small town called Ten Sleep, with a population of about 260, in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains. This mountain influence is seen in his song themes of oil patch strippers, roustabouts, roughnecks and chicken haulers. He has recorded five albums. His best known songs include “Trailer Park Fire,” and ” Mama Was A Roughneck.”
Calling The Restless Hails From Cheyenne
With a solidly focused mission of bringing their special blend of alternative rock music to Wyoming and beyond, this band is composed of four members. There is Zach Rose, the frontman and guitar player, Brandon Duggan on bass, Taylor Gautreau on drums and Ben Sawyer on guitar. They often play at Cheyenne area venues, including The Plaza at Cheyenne Depot and Scooter’s. Their music has a blues base, heavily persuaded by rock and alternative.
Beatgrass is known for their high energy, invigorating and memorable live shows. With versatile members like Josh Reese on guitar, fiddle and vocals and Jeff Daugherty on mandolin and vocals, Pete Margard on banjo and vocals and Shawn Hess on the upright bass and vocals, the band is considered to be one of Cheyenne’s power groups. They often play at Scooter’s Scoreboard and Midtown Tavern in Cheyenne, along with various festivals throughout the year like the renowned Willie Bean bluegrass festival.
This Wyoming famous punk rock band features award-winning lead vocalist Lauren Bezold. The story of this band is a lot like the stories of outlaw types and rebellious characters who shaped the wild west. All band members are very close, with a unique chemistry rarely seen in bands. They keep a complete devotion to the art of punk rock music. They’ve shared the stage with groups like the River City Rebels, International Noise Conspiracy and The Distillers and have toured with the Angel City Outcasts. They are considered a touring band, but they also play locally at places like Tennyson’s Tap.
Ron Brown, country artist, singer and songwriter, has a resume including a development contract with Capitol Records in 1997. He made many television appearances on the Nashville Network and his band was voted NAR Country Band of The Year in 2004. Ron Brown has been in the music business for over 25 years with a storied reputation, including song writing contracts with Big Wedge music in Nashville. The band is highly popular and plays many state and county fairs, private, corporate and public venues and events.
The eclectic Neo Nostalgics are known for a brilliantly eccentric mixture of sounds that has thrilled audiences since 2003. They play a mixture ranging from the Reggae genre to Hip Hop, Pop and Rock. The Neo Nostalgics have a catalog of about 75 songs they are known for. Band members include Marko Ruble, Joseph Locatelli, Adam Johnson and Carter Parks. This band has played at many festivals and benefits, along with shows at The Cowboy Bar, The Library Bar, JJ’s Bar and the World Famous Laramie Buckham Bar. They have also headlined at the Jamnesty Festival and the King Street Market.
So Many Choices That Reflect The Western Heritage
Wyoming residents have so many musical choices available to them that reflect the interesting, cowboy wild west inspired lifestyle of the region. The music mirrors the true pioneer spirit of Wyoming in the most intriguing ways. Ranging from Country to Bluegrass, to hip hop, Americana, Reggae, Blues and Punk Rock, there is something for every music lover to cherish and embrace within Wyoming’s fascinating mix of musical styles.
Listening to the most popular musical styles of Wyoming gives one a feel for the adventurous and daring spirit of these independent minded, forward-thinking, entrepreneurial pioneers. It also showcases Wyoming’s musical history that ranged from European styles featuring guitars, harmonicas and fiddles, to African-American influences and Native American traditions. Most music features influences that are a mirror image of the geographic regions they are from. From Cheyenne to Laramie and beyond, Wyoming music will continue to embrace individualism and artistry in the popular music from this historically fascinating region.
What do you think?
Who is your favorite Wyoming band? Let me know in the comments below.