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2023 NSMZ Country Artist of the Year: Wolf Willow

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

by Chris Vasseur

photos by Aaron Brown/Aaron Brown Photography

A mere fraction of Wolf Willow is pictured here. What they are doing is fresh and unique within the provinces current country scene (photo by Aaron Brown)

Wolf Willow is self described as “Countrypolitan” or what some call "The Nashville Sound". This year, they are also NSMZ’s Country Artist of the Year. What sets them apart is the lack of highly processed and over produced, generic, pop that you hear coming from so many artists within the country music genre these days. This band is the real thing; real musicians writing and performing and recording country music that hearkens back something akin to the "wall of sound" in elegant parlay with a classic Nashville flair.

They are an act that lets their amazing music do the talking. Do they have fiddles? Oh yes. Plus, they have twangy guitars, sophisticated horns, lap steel guitars, and, on top of a drummer, a percussionist. Lyrically there are songs of love, heartbreak and loss giving them all the ingredients for “country” music and so much more. To see this band live is a real treat. They fill the stage with a metaphorical "cast of thousands" but, in so doing, bring the good times.

Recently appointed lead singers, Stoneface Stanley, alongside bassist Marv Ptlosky have done a great job taking over the reins from the recently departed (from the band) Mitsy Mueller. Wolf Willow hails from the fictional town of Darston, in the RM of Slippery Butte and all of them they all have charming stage personas that they completely lean into. Their recently released EP, Marv and Stoneface Sing shows the bands new direction and we should all be excited. They are working on a new record as we speak.

All this after a great 2023 playing major festivals including Big Winter Classic, Winteruption YEG, Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Gateway and Swampfest. With their unique sonics they are swiftly becoming a favorite Saskatchewan act well deserving of this year's NSMZ Country Music Artist of the Year award.

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