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REGATTA: 'Trailer Park Troubudour' kicks off opening ceremony

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WORTHINGTON — Renowned alternative country artist and “trailer park troubadour” Jalan Crossland will make the trek from his rural home of Ten Sleep, Wyo., to the Unvarnished Music Festival.

“I am basically from Wyoming, and have lived here all my life,” said Crossland. “I have a three-piece band. I would describe us as an Americana-western flavored outfit.”

Skilled at guitar and banjo fingerpicking methods, the Rapid City Weekly News praised him as being “so dexterous that when he stops at the end of a song, you realized you forgot to breathe.”

In 2013, Crossland was the proud recipient of the Wyoming Governor's Arts Award, which honors artists, arts organizations and patrons who have displayed excellence in the arts and outstanding service to the arts in Wyoming. Before embarking on his current musical career, Crossland was involved in music of a very different genre.

“I started out when I was 17, on the road, playing as a mercenary electric guitar player for anyone who would hire me,” Crossland said. “I played with rock bands, show bands and some country bands. I’ve tried to make a living out of music since 17, with varying luck.”

Crossland has now performed full-time for 15 to 20 years.

“At some point, I decided to write my own stuff and do my own thing,” he said. “I started out as a solo singer/songwriter, and played guitar and banjo music. It went well enough that I was able to hire a band eventually.”

Each year, Crossland tours throughout Wyoming and the United States and has cut a record in Minneapolis. His musical influences include Doc Watson, a paragon of traditional American music, and John Hartford, an American folk and country artist and banjo master.

“I would say my style evolved from bluegrass music and country,” explained Crossland.

“Portrait of a Fish,” the title of Crossland’s most recent album, is certainly creative and unique, but this name wasn’t a quick product of a recent inspiration.

“‘Portrait of a Fish’ was probably the first song I ever made up, when I was 13,” he said. “It was based on a dream I had, and I redid it for the album. The song has evolved throughout the years, as I have added and deleted words.”

As for his first visit to the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival, Crossland said, “I am excited about it. My dad and I used to race catamarans, so we know the Regatta crowd — it’s fun. We hope it goes well so we come back up there again; we’re excited to see the place.”

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