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The Emperors Of Wyoming

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Roots rockers whose music encompasses rock, country, and folk flavors, the Emperors of Wyoming are a quartet with deep roots in Wisconsin, even if half the band was living elsewhere when they cut their debut album.
In the 1970s, Phil Davis, Frank Anderson, and Peter Anderson (Frank's brother) were members of a band called Buzz Gunderson, a country rock act that gigged regularly in Madison while Butch Vig played in another Madison-based group, Spooner. In time, Davis would team up with Vig to form the band Fire Town, who would release a pair of albums for Atlantic Records, In the Heart of the Heart Country (1987) and The Good Life (1989). Meanwhile, the Anderson Brothers relocated to California and played in the regionally popular roots rock band Call Me Bwana. While he was in Spooner, Vig partnered with Steve Marker to open a recording studio in Madison, Smart Studios, and after Fire Town wound down, Vig devoted more time to recording and producing independent rock bands. One of the bands Vig worked with was Nirvana; after recording demos for the group, he was tapped to produce their major-label debut, and when Nevermind became a game-changing smash, Vig was suddenly one of the most in-demand producers in the world. Vig also kept a hand in music, forming the successful alternative rock band Garbage, while Peter Anderson worked in the wine business in Napa Valley and played songs in his spare time, Frank Anderson became a novelist and filmmaker with a home in Wisconsin, and Davis worked in communications while recording music on his own under the name the Landing Bellbut. In 2009, Davis was working on some country-flavored songs in his home-recording studio, and invited his old friends Peter and Frank to help give them shape and record them. All three had home-recording setups, and the musicians began trading files of their parts back and forth, with Davis on vocals and guitar, Peter on bass, and Frank on pedal steel. When Peter mentioned to Vig in an e-mail that he'd been recording with Frank and Davis, Vig quickly volunteered to play drums, and the Emperors of Wyoming (named for a Neil Young song) were complete. Despite never being in the same studio at the same time, the quartet completed their album in 2012, and it was released in Europe and the U.K. by the respected roots music label Proper Music. In 2014, the Emperors of Wyoming released an expanded and remixed version of the album in the United States through Liaison Music. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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