Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Marcus Huff
Staff Writer 

The last ride of the Jalan Crossland Band

Wyoming touring artists bid farewell to fans with six final shows

 

August 11, 2017

Shaun Hatcher Kelley of the Jalan Crossland Band.

TEN SLEEP - There is no record store in Ten Sleep.

Growing up in the small, isolated burg at the foot of the Big Horns, Jalan Crossland was forced to find inspiration and influence the old-fashioned way. Lots of time locked in his bedroom or sitting on the front porch with a handful of instruments, starting with the guitar and moving on to the banjo, eventually mastering a catalog of traditional, and sometimes odd, American styles. Over time, Crossland's skill on the guitar earned him spots in a variety of touring bands before breaking out on his own and becoming recognized, with the Jalan Crossland Band, as one of Wyoming's premier performing acts.

From the stage, the band's audience and dedicated fans are heralded with rollicking, break-neck tales ranging from the rigors and terror of smuggling corn liquor (and the occasional controlled substance), to lost love, hard work and regret. To pin any one label on the band's body of work would be a crime. It's not country. It's not rock. It sure isn't your daddy's bluegrass.

"Man, we've been booted out of bluegrass festivals because we have a drummer. Full, hour-long negotiations just to get us on the stage," laughed Jalan Crossland, during a recent interview.

After over 12 years of touring, thousands of live shows, 122 songs, seven albums, a National Fingerpick Champion designation, and the 2012 Wyoming Governor's Arts Award, the Jalan Crossland Band is coming to an end in 2017, with the East Coast relocation of drummer Pat Madsen, and the 2016 diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease for long-time collaborator and bassist Shaun Hatcher Kelley.

Sitting back with a beer in between tours last year, Crossland reminisced on his career with the band, and Kelley in particular, remembering the first time they met. "Nowoodstock ... God, how many years ago? He was playing bass with John Kidwell's band and as most times, bands were staying at my place [during Nowoodstock]. We stayed up all night playing. We had chemistry right off the bat. Shaun's been my right-hand man for nearly a decade. Pat Madsen was our drummer to begin with. He was a great drummer, but he went off to college so we went through a series of drummers. Then Pat came back a few years ago, and we were thrilled to have him back. The band has just got a great chemistry. We can kind of communicate without talking anymore. Musically."

Having been a professional bass player for over 40 years, Kelley is quick to recognize the chemistry that made his musical and personal relationship with Crossland work, all these years.

"Being a part of the Jalan Crossland 'thing' has been a real honor," said Kelley from his home in Laramie. "The following and the fans have been a major source of energy, and you know, with most bands they come out of the gate with all kinds of big plans and just kind of burn out," noted Kelley. "Working with a songwriter as productive as Jalan always kept things fresh. It's been a real highlight."

While the physical limitations of Parkinson's has become noticeable to Kelley, affecting his hands and voice, the longtime Wyoming musician is determined to stay involved in the arts, producing records for Laramie artists and promoting the Wyoming music scene.

"I just won't be jumping around on a stage like I used to," laughed Kelley. "The basic reality is we need to move on."

According to Kelley, for the foreseeable future, Jalan Crossland has no plans to build another band, but will continue as a solo performer.

For Crossland, finding inspiration from shooting his pistol in the badlands outside Ten Sleep and "staring out the window," the continuance as a musician is really the only road to travel.

"I started making a thin dime [playing music] when I was 17. I got kicked out of the house and moved to Gillette. Worked with country bands and they paid me. Getting paid felt like a success. I always had a day job up until I was working at a mobile home factory ... 10-hour days covered in fiberglass" mused Crossland.

"It didn't take long to figure out all I had to do was two gigs a weekend and I wouldn't have to do that anymore. That was the day I hit the big time. The day I quit the factory job. Everything since then has just been gravy. "

The Jalan Crossland Band will next perform at the 17th annual Nowoodstock music festival in Ten Sleep, on Aug. 12 and 13. They will perform from 6:30 – 7:45 p.m. on Saturday and from 3:45-5 p.m. on Sunday.

Their final show as a band will be Friday, Sep. 22 in Lander.

 
 

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