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Jalan Crossland talks with Chugwater Chili

In between gigs and recording his newest album, Jalan Crossland muses with us about his favorite music, why he loves Wyoming, and his favorite way to eat Chugwater Chili.

Of course I want to know how you like to eat Chugwater Chili. Any toppings? And what to drink with it?

I love Chugwater Chili! Every time I'm driving past Chugwater on I-25, I stop and pick up as large a bowl as is available at the shop there in town. I wish they offered a bucket size bowl along with a garden spade spoon. Naturally, it is best with Fritos, but no modification is really required. Eating Chugwater Chili on the road has gotten me proficient at driving with my knee. 


You are Wyoming's beloved musician. How did you get your start in music?
My Uncle Dan plays old-time banjo, so that sound has been in my ears since before I was born. Before I could walk or talk I was crawling across the floor to get at the thing so I could tug on the strings. I thought it was magic and my uncle was some kind of necromancer. Playing the banjo wasn't really a conscious choice as a child. It was just what you do, like sucking your thumb or pooping your pants. 


We love "Trailer Park Fire"! Of your own music what is your favorite song? And who or what do you like to listen to for fun?

I don't really have a favorite song to play. That would be like saying you love one of your kids more than the others. One kid might be slow with a wandering eye, and another might be hyperactive and all jacked up on Red Dye #7 and Mountain Dew, but you take em both to Chucky Cheese, just the same. For my own listening enjoyment, I'll put on everything from traditional Mexican mariachi music to Motörhead. 


You and Chugwater Chili are unique to Wyoming. What do you love about living here?

The best thing about Wyoming is the vast space with nobody in it. It is still possible to feel free here. It's still possible to be wild. I also like the down-home realness of the people and how we all seem to know one another, despite the distances. Wyoming is like one big town with a very long main street. 


What parts of Wyoming serve as inspiration for your music?
The people of Wyoming write the songs for me. It's all about the people. All I have to do is pay attention, watch what they do, listen when they talk. I can't make up the stuff that I hear people say. And that's the good stuff, the colorful stories, the peculiar vernacular, half a million dramas playing out in the wind and snow and down at every local watering hole. All I have to do is change the names and make it rhyme. 


If anyone could write a Chugwater Chili theme song, it would be you. Any teaser lines for us?

     Beans, beans, the magical fruit

     Eat my chili from a cowboy boot

     Stop in Chugwater as I pass

     And fill my truck with natural gas


Thanks Jalan for taking the time to visit with Chugwater Chili!

You can check out Jalan Latest CD and more information at


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