Like fun, modern country music?
Consider seeing the Yosemite Slim band live and in action from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. on Oct. 12, at West Park Station, 17015 Lorain Ave.
Current selections on the band’s setlist include: “Family Tradition,” by Hank Williams Jr.; “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” by Luke Combs, and “Whiskey Glasses,” by Morgan Wallen. You can find more songs covered by Yosemite Slim at their website on the page titled “Song List.” The band has also recorded a single called “Is It Gonna Rain?” This is a country ballad featuring lead singer, Chris Tyra’s 18-year-old son Reese on fiddle. Their original song with music video can be found at the band’s website www.yosemiteslim.net.
According to Tyra, the band got its start in 2015 playing cover songs from a variety of popular musicians and artists, performing on smaller patio venues and similar settings. However, he says, their vibe has definitely evolved since the beginning.
“The whole thing began to transform from a patio-variety cover band to a full-fledged country band after one memorable show when the crowd went crazy for all of these new country tunes we were playing,” explains Tyra. “We all pretty much looked at each other after the show and decided right then and there, country was the way to go for us. We already had a country sounding name; my vocals sounded great singing country, and our three-part harmonies just fit the style of country music.”
In Jan. 2017, ‘The Slim,’ as they are affectionately called by fans, donned cowboy boots, found their twang, and became an official modern country act in Northeast Ohio.
Currently, Yosemite Slim is comprised of members Chris Tyra, who not only manages the band, but also plays acoustic guitar and sings lead vocals; joined by co-founder Joel Bowers (lead guitar/vocals), Aeneas Alldredge (drums), and bass guitarist/vocalist Nick Ballistrea.
“We have also added another bass player to our mix, who happens to be our original member who left in 2016, Jeff Dixon,” says Tyra. “Both Jeff and Nick play for Yosemite Slim and will be trading shows off and on going forward.
“It gives us better flexibility to play more shows and alternate two awesome bass players without affecting our performance or music,” notes Tyra.
Most recently, the band added Katherine O’Neill to play the fiddle.
“She’s just a phenomenal talent,” says Tyra, adding that she joined the guys back in August. “She’s a seasoned musician,” he says, “and we definitely intend on having her play with us as much as possible- as much as she can- in the future. We are now a 5-piece band with a fiddle, we are very stoked for our fans to hear us!”
According to Tyra, while the band members have been involved in increasingly more shows over the years, they still have their day-jobs to keep them busy. “We play about 60 shows each year and plan to ramp up to 80+ in 2020,” says Tyra, “We love the band as a side job but we all balance regular careers and families during the week”.
“We’re gaining popularity,” he says. “It’s one of those things that takes time; playing the right music for an audience who appreciates what you are doing. You also have to have great musicianship and set yourselves apart from other bands doing the same thing. Look the part when you are onstage, put on a good show, but be top notch musicians as well, people respond to that and word travels…and more and more people come see us, it is a great feeling!” We’re looking forward to growing with the West Park area,” he says, adding, “in fact we’d love to do another Hooley!”
Recently Yosemite Slim entered a state-wide contest to open for Jo Dee Messina, national country music star at Thirsy Cowboy. There were a total of around 40 bands on the contest ballet that entered and were ranked based on fan popularity. At the end, Tyra’s Cleveland-based band placed 5th, which was something they felt was validation from an ever growing fan-base as to what they have achieved in 2 short years as a Cleveland band.
While growing and gaining notoriety, Tyra says that the band’s roots remain here. In fact, Yosemite Slim’s VERY FIRST show took place at West Park Station where they are set to play again this October. “West Park Station is really one of our main home bases,” says Tyra, adding, “crowd response has been great, especially in the West Park area. We pretty much pack West Park Station every time we play it, love the venue, the people and energy! We turn it into a honkytonk every time we are onstage there.”
So, come on down and see for yourself, the rowdy onstage antics of this fun and entertaining country band on Oct. 12th, where Yosemite Slim will be performing from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. at West Park Station!
Like fun, modern country music?