For an Americana musician in Boston, Stash Wyslouch certainly brings an international flavor.
Born in Switzerland of half Polish-half Colombian ancestry, he holds triple citizenship for the US, Poland and Colombia, all three of which he spends time in.
He plays full-time in an original bluegrass/progressive bluegrass band called The Deadly Gentlemen, which tours around the US. When he is not touring with them, Wyslouch likes to busk in T stations.
“This is just kind of when I’m not on tour, it’s just kind of fun for me to come down here and play,” says Wyslouch.
He started taking piano lessons when he was seven and guitar lessons when he was 14. Wyslouch says that he is the only musician in his family.
“[They were] lessons that my parents would sign me up for, like with a guitar and stuff, and they just gave me the right material that always kept me going to the next level. And eventually it was really playing in bands, and connection with people on a musical level,” says Wyslouch.
Wyslouch didn’t start out playing Americana. “I grew up playing heavy metal, so that was kind of my transition from heavy metal to bluegrass,” he says. Today, heavy metal continues to influence his music.
He also draws influence from Colombian Cumbia music, which he listens to when he visits his mother in Colombia. Cumbia music is a traditional music from the Caribbean coast of Colombia, but has widespread influence in all of South America.
Wyslouch’s first language was Spanish, so the Cumbia music really resonated with him.
“[Cumbia and Americana] have different rhythms, but it’s still country music, you know. They have simple forms, simple rhymes, the same themes: love,” says Wyslouch. “I’ve written a few bilingual songs that have different grooves, and inevitably both come out, especially when it’s bilingual, because it’s two languages.”
As for his American musical influences, Wyslouch says he likes “Willie Nelson, Stanley Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, a lot of stuff, kind of like the golden era of country, the 60’s coming out of Nashville. And nowadays it’s still kind of all those classic songwriters, Townes Van Zandt, a lot of good gospel music too; I listen to a lot of Elvis and stuff like that.”
He wears a headband, which he says used to serve the purpose of keeping his long hair out of his face, but now he wears it because it has become part of his persona.
“I mean this is also a Willie Nelson headband. I’m a huge fan of Willie Nelson.”