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A Look Back : Lively Year in the Arts : 1991: Lancaster gets a new concert hall, Grove School of Music is still afloat and a Hollywood cash calf grows up. : NASHVILLE BOUND

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Wylie Gustafson’s road to country music success is about to take another turn.

The singer began his career in Montana but, after a number of years on the Northwest circuit, ended up in the San Fernando Valley, where he became a regular at Ronnie Mack’s weekly Barn Dance at The Palomino in North Hollywood.

The Valley isn’t exactly a country-Western haven, but in June, Wylie and the Wild West Show took the top spot in the Southern California regionals of the Marlboro Music Talent Roundup. The four-piece band received a trip to the November finals in Nashville, Tenn.

Well, Wylie didn’t win the contest, but he did win some important fans.

“We were really amazed how small the town is,” Gustafson said. “Los Angeles is so huge that it’s hard to get industry people to come out and see you. In Nashville, it’s so small. A lot of people had a chance to see us.”

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While in the Mecca of Twang, the band played several clubs and did a radio show from the Grand Ole Opry.

“We got hooked up with a really good entertainment attorney,” the singer said. “A publishing company called us, and so did several managers. We got a lot accomplished as far as our careers were concerned.”

Now, Gustafson and one of his band members are moving to Nashville--as soon as they sell their houses--in hopes of wrangling a record contract.

“It takes such a long time to accomplish anything in the record business,” Gustafson said. “What we’re doing now is the footwork. It’s the first step in getting known.”

Before that happens, Valley fans can catch one of the band’s last performances, a New Year’s Day show at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Griffith Park. Times are 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Cost of the performance is a paid admission to the museum.

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