Photo: Russel Daniels
Set aside your best $5 bill so you don’t miss this month’s Localized, featuring the American rock of Bronco, the ’60s sound of Super 78 and opener Green River Blues at Urban Lounge. It’s sponsored by Uinta Brewing Co., KRCL 90.9FM and Spilt Ink SLC. Doors open at 9 p.m. on Nov. 14.
Bronco began about 10 years ago as a solo project under a different name, a name that Tyler Anderson, Bronco’s vocalist and guitar player, doesn’t give up without some prodding. But the story goes like this: Anderson went by the nickname T-Bone. When he began performing in his proto-Bronco solo project, a friend suggested Anderson go by Bone Alone, and he did. Anderson’s brother started playing drums, and he wasn’t alone anymore. His brother suggested the name Bronco because it fit the Americana tone of the music.
Although Anderson had played in bands before Bronco, he had never filled the role of frontman. Some people have an innate ability to entertain a crowd, but Anderson started out feeling awkward. “Bronco’s been around 10 years,” he says. “It’s taken me that long to get out of my shell, to be able to relax and enjoy the moment without being nervous.” Anderson thinks Bronco have good energy onstage now. He says it’s rock ‘n roll and, if he’s onstage performing, he might as well get on his knees and offer the crowd a shitty guitar solo. Anderson likes to have a good time onstage, but he probably won’t knock you out with an unexpected stage dive. He’s got the audience in mind. Anderson says, “The highest I’ve gotten is on a half-stack with my guitar. I looked up at the rafters, then down at the people supporting us, and I didn’t want to ruin their night.” He’s the type to look before leaping into full-on rock star self-indulgence.
In the years that Bronco have existed, Anderson has been the only constant. The sound of Bronco’s music has evolved along with the lineup, which has been changing for Bronco’s whole existence. Although Anderson writes the songs, the others play a large role in the sound of the finished product—he doesn’t want to be seen as a solo artist. Angie Eralie Midgley, on bass, has been with the band nine years. She has stuck with Bronco longer than anyone. Midgley’s husband, Greg Midgley, joined to play keys later on, along with Bronco’s other current members, Ryan Gee on drums, and Mike Sasich on lead guitar. Anderson says, “The music’s changed as the band members have changed. When I started out, it was more laid-back alt-country.” Bronco have been working on their third album now, In Lights, and Anderson says it’s pure rock ‘n roll—nothing like the two previous albums. Anderson says you’ll be able to get your hands on the new album at Localized.
Both of Bronco’s released albums have been recorded with Sasich, who runs Man Vs Music studio, where their third album is in the works. Anderson says, “[Sasich] knows the band and the songs very well.” And he should. On the first two albums, Sasich just recorded the group, but he joined the group for In Lights.
With the members in their 30s with careers, Bronco can’t get on the road much, but they still enjoy taking their live set to new audiences. Anderson says, “We can’t really do an East Coast tour or a Southern tour, but we can sneak out here and there.” When their album Painting Pictures Of A Perfect Life came out, Bronco went on a 10-day tour to promote it. Anderson says, “Before recording [In Lights,] we went to Colorado and played three shows in four days. [Colorado] seemed like a close place to sharpen our skills to be ready to record.” On their mini tour in Colorado, along with playing at a Burt’s Tiki Lounge equivalent called Lion’s Lair, Bronco played at a barbeque joint and a pizza place. Bronco ended up spending money on tour, not making a profit. Anderson says, “[The shows] were for the free meals but mostly for the road trip, for the fun.” The day after returning to Salt Lake, Bronco began recording.
Not abnormal for country-inspired music, stories are a central element in Bronco’s songs. Anderson usually writes the story first and then puts music to it. Anderson says, “It’s hard to write a great song, so if the song’s not that great, as long as the story is, you’ve got that going for it.” Anderson thinks a good plot line can pull a song out of mediocrity. Made-up characters usually drive his fictional lyrics, but Anderson doesn’t believe he could write a song without some truth in it. He says, “You can’t write a song that’s totally fictional. There’s always something in there that represents what you’ve been through and where you are, but if someone thinks they wrote a total autobiographical song, that’s a lie.” Anderson doesn’t consider himself a fiction writer or a poet—he considers himself a master plumber. Anderson channels his creativity through songwriting. He loves writing a good story, then trying to make it catchy and fit to music.
Anderson says he wants to make good music for people to enjoy. If someone offered Bronco a break, they’d take it, but they have no vision of ruling the world. To keep up with Bronco’s upcoming shows or stream their music, go to broncotheband.com.