When any artist or band can list Garth Brooks and Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson among their many fans, they must be hitting a lot of home runs.
Easily Canada’s premier Western Swing group, The Western Swing Authority’s pedigree is overflowing with the talent of its A-list members – some of the country’s finest touring and studio musicians. Celebrating their 13th year of swinging this April, it’s truly a labour of love for this crew and it shows if you’ve ever witnessed a live WSA gig.
If you haven’t, order their DVD The Western Swing Authority – LIVE in Full Swing – A High Brow Hootenanny, settle into your couch and be prepared to book therapy for sore cheeks the next day. That might just have you back online to grab their albums Big Deal, Now Playing, All Dolled Up and The Western Swing Authority to complete the collection. There are also two Christmas releases: “Christmas Bonus” and “I’m Sending You My Heart This Christmas” – great additions to that Christmas playlist. Another must-watch is their YouTube video for the song “This Old Bar”, featuring footage from several empty venues and concert halls, some of which did not survive the pandemic.
They have been perennial nominees at the CMAOntario Awards, the CCMA Awards, and in the US, at the Ameripolitan Music Awards and Academy of Western Artists Awards. Several of their members have been nominated in the player categories of the CCMA Awards and Academy of Western Artists Awards, racking up well over a dozen wins individually and as a band. They are each on a lot of “First Call” lists for studio gigs, have been heard on countless radio hits and been hired for touring gigs with the cream of Canadian country artists, from Gordon Lightfoot to Dean Brody. They were even invited by Garth Brooks to play a private party in Nashville in 2018.
There are more connections to CMAOntario, as WSA, supplemented by the addition of former CMAOntario Director Wendell Ferguson, has been the house band for every one of the nine CMAOntario Awards shows, showing their casual chameleon-like ability to adapt to the myriad of individual styles of artists performing on the show. Plus, WSA’s Stacey Lee Guse currently serves on the CMAOntario Board of Directors.
Most of the WSA gang have (as have many during the pandemic) upped their live streaming game over the last two years, with Stacey Lee Guse and Shane Guse building their Honky-Tonk Cocktail Hour into a popular online joint to have a drink with some tunes on a Friday evening.
WSA are currently writing and creating content for a new CD, continuing to create space for traditional sounding new music. This musical freight train is loaded up for a busy post-pandemic year now that they can all be in the same room together – with Authority.
Try to keep up with The Western Swing Authority at:
Bands in Town: https://www.bandsintown.com/a/1062854-the-western-swing-authority
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/ca/artist/the-western-swing-authority/387798221
// by Matt Ersnaught //