Scenes from The Wild West

A popular suite of six imaginative and entertaining pieces which explore a wide range of guitar techniques including steel, slide, plectrum, rhythm, electric and flamenco. The mandolin and banjo are also imitated in the varied styles that range from country and western, to jazz and rock including references to popular classical, film and TV themes.




Scenes from the Wild West (2001-2003) was composed by Gary Ryan who ‘wanted to write some technically challenging and tuneful contemporary repertoire that would hopefully be rewarding to learn and play and at the same time encourage extrovert, rhythmic and entertaining playing.’

Railroad portrays the long journey of a steam train gaining momentum as it winds its way along a mountain track.’  The lowest two strings of the guitar are tuned to C and G producing a ‘rich bass sonority’.

Across the Plain ‘is quiet, lyrical and reflective, depicting a family on a wagon journey across the warm, wide-open plains and prairies of America.’

West Coast Breeze ‘combines a fast, finger-picking style and right hand string stopping with African and Latin-American cross rhythm to depict the sunny beach lifestyle, freedom and wealth of California.’

Rockweed ‘is inspired by the intense desert heat of Monument Valley, Arizona, and is a musical word play on the tumbleweeds that blow around the landscape.’ The influences of Bobby McFerrin, James Brown, Miles Davis and Steve Reich can be heard in the trance-like repetitions and subtle rhythmic alterations that are reminiscent of electronic dance music.

Rondo Rodeo ‘is inspired by Aaron Copland, with many recurrent ideas suggesting the celebration and energy of the rodeo, complete with cowboys and girls, bucking bronco, farmyard noises, swinging saloon doors, honky-tonk piano and the hoe-down.

Smoke Rising is a quieter, reflective piece to end the suite and ‘makes an effective and atmospheric use of the tamboura  effect (a percussive sound resembling a drum) and ‘depicts a ritual Apache Indian dance around a campfire’.