Spend some time with The Wyatts, and several things become clear: They love music; they love talking about music, and they love their band. Heck, they even love each other--according to Johnny Guitar Wyatt, the band members are all long-lost brothers.
"People don't believe this," said Johnny Guitar, "but all of us possess the surname Wyatt--Johnny Guitar Wyatt, Jimbo Wyatt, Roscoe Wyatt, Country Mac Wyatt. What happened was, we sort of kept running into each other, and ... it kind of seemed logical that we'd play together. And we've done a bit of research, and it turns out Dad sort of got around, so we are, in fact, all related."
"Dad worked for Sears as a traveling salesman," added Roscoe.
The Wyatts are old hands at creating band biographies--you may recognize Jimbo Wyatt from Truck; he also plays drums with Rich Hopkins. Country Mac Wyatt was in Nevershine; Johnny Guitar and Roscoe have been played in various bands for years. While they may not really be brothers, they found a kinship in each other's musical interests, and The Wyatts were born.
The Wyatts reach way back to when country and rock were virtually the same thing--their songs are country in their subject matter and style, but strip away the slide guitar, twang, cowboy hats and boots, and at the core is good, old-fashioned rock 'n' roll. They recorded their self-titled debut with Tim David Kelly (Kicking Harold), and the record is full of sweet and smooth country melodies layered over hard-rocking guitar, bass and drums. Live, the country twinge is dwarfed by the rock element--in their hats and boots, The Wyatts make rocking like this look easy.
"It's more of a retro-country mixed with modern pop-rock," said Country Mac.
"It has the classic sadness of classic country," added Roscoe.
The band has been enjoying some attention here in town--KXCI has been playing the new record, and they're gradually getting more local shows. But out of town is a whole other story. "24 Miles" is also included on the first issue of The United States of Americana, a compilation released by Shut Eye Records, and that song was No. 1 two weeks ago on the request list of a commercial station in Corpus Christi, Texas.
"We're actually getting more of a response outside of our own state, which is sad, but cool," said Roscoe. Being voted Up and Coming Band of the Year in this year's Readers' Choice TAMMIES (and finishing as a runner up in the Critics' Choice), though, might make them change their minds about the kind of response they're getting on a local level.
The national response The Wyatts are getting in the roots-rock, Americana realm is exciting for the band. They're selling their record independently through their Web site (www.wyattstheband.com) and marketing themselves to radio stations.
"We've found with the advent of the Internet and its application, we can be a self-existing musical enterprise," said Jimbo. "We call ourselves <0x2018>entrepreneurial rock.'"
Success and fame aside, The Wyattsare most excited about the music and the band they've created together. It's not everyday that a group of musicians can work together as well as they do toward a common goal.
"We all understand exactly who The Wyatts are; we are all 110 percent behind each of the songs we've chosen to play," said Roscoe. "We don't have the internal road blocks."
"We're all allowed to be what we are musically," said Jimbo. "I think this band is able to capture everybody's true essence and allow that to be a part of what we do."
"We have stumbled upon a brilliant situation," said Johnny Guitar.
"Things have fallen into place all on their own," said Roscoe.
"He's saying God's a Wyatts fan," said Country Mac.