PUTTING the western into country, singer Will Banister will provide an authentic taste of the Wild West for Highland fans of Americana on Tuesday.
The 24 year old from Clovis, New Mexico — a place where stetsons are not just worn for show — makes a swift return to the UK after a brief London appearance last month for a short club tour with Tuesday’s appointment at Invergordon Sports and Social Club his only Scottish date.
Banister, who made his British debut in February at the International Festival of Country Music at London’s Wembley Arena, will be backed by the highly acclaimed C’est La Vie and augmented by Banister’s record producer/manager Johnny Mulhair for a set of old fashioned country.
"It’s definitely traditional," Banister said of his own approach to country.
"I grew up listening to all the classic country singers — Hank Williams and Merle Haggard I guess are the two that most inspired me, not just in singing, but in songwriting as well. They were just amazing in the way they formed their words."
Banister’s parents introduced him to those and other great Nashville stars like George Jones, Charlie Pride and George Strait while he was still very small, while his grandfather taught him to sing Hank Williams’ signature song, "Your Cheatin’ Heart" when Banister was just three.
"It was the first song I ever learned," he said.
"I always knew I loved music. I started recording at 12 when I made my first demo CD and I started writing when I was 17 or 18. After that I started getting serious about writing my own songs and serious about making a career out of music.
"There ain’t nothing better than doing what you love and making a career out of it."
However, making a career out of music requires a lot of dedication.
"We are gigging all the time and staying really busy," he said.
"It takes a lot of work and dedication, but I’m only 24. I ain’t had too many years on the clock yet."
Asked to pick his own country hero, Banister opts for George Strait.
"He has always stayed true to what he wants to do and people admire him for that," he said.
As for Banister, he is not thinking ahead to having as long or as successful a career as Strait.
"If that’s where it wants to take me, fine, but I just want to wake up every morning excited about making music and make a good living. That’s my goal, as far as it goes," he said.
The young American already seems to be winning over UK country fans.
His single, "Turned Her On To Country" — based on how Banister helped his wife to become a Nashville fan — enjoyed a four week stay at number one in the UK’s weekly Hot Disc charts while the album of the same name gathered a rave review in Country Music People.
Now he has the chance to introduce himself to British country fans in person from Essex to the Highlands, and when it comes to visiting the north of Scotland, Banister seems to quote happy he is coming to an area that gets a bit more rainfall than he does at home.
"I’m really looking forward to it," he said.
"I’ve heard it’s really green up there. Where I’m from it’s just dirt."
• Will Banister is at Invergordon Sports and Social Club on Tuesday.