After a long day at the rodeo or the cattle show, cowboys don't necessarily want to hear songs about roping or roundups.
Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band obliges with a rowdy, raucous mix of country that Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo fans will have two chances to see: at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, at the James Kjerstad Event Center at the Central States Fairgrounds.
“We play a lot of rodeos; we’re kind of a rodeo crowd,” Williams said by phone last week while traveling to another gig. “They don’t necessarily want to hear rodeo songs. It’s a party everywhere we play. A lot of the stuff we play is party songs.”
Besides a love of country harmonies and a good time, the Wyoming-based band has something else in common with its audience: Williams is a former saddle bronc rider (and high school wrestler) who went to Casper College and the University of Wyoming on a rodeo scholarship.
“I made the national finals twice,” he said. “Then I started playing music more than rodeo.”
Williams started the popular regional band 15 years ago with his childhood friend and drummer Travis DeWitt when they were in high school in Moorcroft, Wyo. A talent contest led to playing at wedding receptions, small fairs and small bars, then on to bigger fairs and bigger clubs.
Now the members — which include Wyatt Springsteen on lead guitar, Brooke Latka on fiddle and Jack Robbins on bass — are a full-time band, traveling more than 170 days of the year.
“We’re on the road basically every weekend,” Williams said. “We just found out this week that we’re playing on the main stage in Cheyenne.”
That would be the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, where Williams has something in common with another Wyoming native and country singer, Chris LeDoux: Both are the only two people to ride in the world-famous rodeo and to also play on the main stage as an entertainer.
The band has played throughout the region on the rodeo circuit and in Las Vegas during the National Finals Rodeo, and has opened for LeDoux, Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakam, along with sharing the stage with many other country greats.
Being a cowboy from Wyoming is both a help and a hindrance when it comes to getting noticed in Nashville, Williams said.
“Nashville doesn’t really know about the cowboy,” he said. “They’re not really cowboys; they’re not really singing cowboy songs. But it does help us to get rodeo shows and a rodeo fan base, which is really big.”
The band has released three albums, including “Honky Tonk Road,” released in 2008; “Highway Junkie” in 2011; and the latest, “Echo,” which charted on the Billboard Heatseekers chart for the Mountain Region. As an independent band, Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers has sold more than 40,000 records, including digital downloads and CD sales.
“We’re always trying to think of the next level,” he said. “Things just keep on getting bigger and bigger every year."
The band recently signed with Homeslice Group of Sturgis to help with its marketing. This year, in addition to a full slate of rodeos, Williams is set to join the cast of an A&E reality TV show tentatively titled “Real Cowboys of Wyoming,” which shoots in April. In May, a single will be released from “Echo,” and the band will launch a tour through the summer that includes state fairs, festivals, the Sturgis motorcycle rally and Cheyenne Frontier Days.
“We’re kind of on the bubble. We’re doing everything that the new artists are doing; we just need that one big break,” he said.