Big Horn Mountain Blues

Jalan Crossland makes his home in Wyoming. Michael Segell of the New York Times once commented that Jalan’s song, “Big Horn Mountain Blues” was so popular that it was practically the official state song. That’s a pretty juicy compliment for any artist.

We caught up with Jalan as he was spending a few months off the touring trail by camping in the Arizona desert. “It is too cold for my clothes in Wyoming,” he quipped. Already sounds like a line from a song to me. “I’m just hanging out in the desert and hopefully getting the chance to write some new songs while I soak up some sunshine.”

Jalan calls Wyoming home, where he’s released seven albums, primarily of his own songs. His uncle (Dan) is a fiddler and old time banjo player. “I grew up listening to the banjo since I was born,” he said. “I’m told I would crawl across the floor to the open banjo case and tug on the strings.”

He was about 13 when he finally started playing music seriously. “I realized I had to learn to play music to get invited to parties and meet girls,” he mused. “So I worked at it harder.” He’s been doing it for a living now since about age 17.

“Between doing opening slots for people and also being on festival bills, you get to meet a lot of other artists,” he said. The years and connections have paid off. He’s been called an “endemic Wyoming treasure” by Rita Basom of the Wyoming Arts Council. He’s won dozens of regional contest awards, and in 2013 he was bestowed with the Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award.

His recent CD is titled, Singalongs For The Apocalypse. “I’ve had the title written down for a while,” he said. “I just liked the way it sounded. And I finally had enough songs written that leaned into that idea, so I figured it was time to record the album.”

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