Dane 101 Review of our Show with The Ghost is Dancing.

Providing a perfect contrast to the captivating energy of Ghost is Dancing was Madison's dark and brooding A Catapult Western. After the show frontman Jason Nyberg confessed that his band had turned down an invitation to play at Toronto's North By Northeast festival this weekend when they were invited to open for Ghost is Dancing. He said he wasn't let down. A Catapult Western filled the stage with five members and an armory of instruments including the occasional accordian and violin. ACW was tight on Saturday and they seemed perfectly at home in the Lodge. The haunting soundscapes are a slow burn, but it was very clear that the hushed audience wasn't bored, they were hypnotized. It is a rare treat these days to find a band that can fascinate an audience to the point of complete silence and respect.


Kiki's Magical Music Reviews

Flame Shark/Catapult Western/Clementine; February 27, 2008; High Noon Saloon

Second on the bill was the more reserved A Catapult Western. Jason Nyberg’s hushed Neil Young Harvest style confessionals didn’t have Flame Shark’s cocksure swagger or Clementine’s joyful giddiness, but they did have a quiet grace that grew on me during their too short set. They didn’t exactly command the attention of the Shark-hungry crowd, which was too bad because the songs were genuinely lovely. Sometimes quiet equals boring (Low comes immediately to mind) but sometimes quiet can be interesting (for instance Mojave 3 or Pernice Brothers). Well-used keyboards, violin and bass perfectly backed Nyberg’s guitar and vocals. Drums might have added some punch, but it also possible they may have broken the delicate spell the band wove. I’ll be looking to see A Catapult Western again, and next time I’ll be sure to pick up a CD.


A Catapult Western, "Brian Died," Mp3 Review

Reviewed By: ListenersGeneration.com

Sometimes, it takes a few listens to realize you’ve found something great. I mean that as a sincere compliment. A Catapult Western is not your typical cookie-cutter band. In fact, their delivery could be categorized as loose and strange. I also find it unique and wonderful. Here, you have a group of musicians who could care less what conventional music lovers think. They are in this for the art and the music. That’s what I like about A Catapult Western, and that’s why I chose to review their great tune, “Brian Died,” from their self-titled debut CD, A Catapult Western. What drew me initially to this song was the lyrics. The stories that unfold in the song are similar to events and emotions I have experienced myself but have never heard presented musically. It's quite interesting. The first part of the song describes the death of Brian. The singer didn’t know Brian personally, but knew of him, and knew of his mother. When Brian died, it brought out strange memories and emotions. Songwriter Jason Nyberg sings, “I didn't know you when you died, but I sat and watched your mother cry. I didn't really know her either. Her hair was short and blonde, just like I remember.” Joining Nyberg’s vocals in the chorus, Meghan Rose sings, “Ain't that a shame. What a shame. I only knew your name. What a shame.” The second half of the song reminisces on another long lost personal connection, one that never seemed to have much substance in the first place, but is still lodged in the memory. This connection was brought back to the forefront of the mind by the discovery of an old photograph. Nyberg again sings, “I don’t know why I care now, since I never gave a sh*t. One day I'll grab the telephone. I'll dial his number, and maybe he'll be home. Then his voice will be familiar. We'll end up friends and will not die strangers." The chorus again reiterates, “That would be a shame. Yes a shame. If I only knew his name. What a shame.” The music of the song is mostly a single acoustic guitar with the droning of a vintage Kimball organ in the background. That is, until the end of the tune when the entire band comes in with full rock force. This includes electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, organ, viola, and possibly some other effects thrown in for good measure. It’s passionate, and it rocks. Many people will come and go in our lives. Some we will run into again. Some will pass away without us having spoken to them in years, if even ever. However, we know who they are, and in a way we will always have a connection to them. That’s how I’ve interpreted, “Brian Died,” by A Catapult Western. Maybe they have an entirely different message behind their song. That’s what is so great about music. Every song hits a person in a different way. You should check out this tune, off of their self-titled debut CD, A Catapult Western, and seewhat kinds of memories and emotions it evokes in you.

Synthesis -Band You’ve Never Heard of the Day: A Catapult Western

James Barone 

Feb 07, 2008

When you’re a band that plays small bars and clubs, being a sextet must provide interesting challenges. The most obvious, as the picture above illustrates, is where the f*ck do you put everyone?

Ergonomic difficulties aside, Madison, WI’s A Catapult Western sound doesn’t suffer from such hindrances. The six members of the group employ mandolins, violas, guitars, bass, drums, synthesizers and whatever else they can get their hands on to create beautifully spare arrangements, with each part in its proper place. This stuff isn’t for the feint of heart. ACW’s music is a slow, somewhat morose hodgepodge of sounds that borrow from post-punk, country and folk. But it’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re kinda hungover from the night before and wondering if you’re making a mess of your life (uh…or so I’d imagine). 

Codeine Haze - Nice

Scenenewspaper.com - Elaine Schultz

"What started out as a project grew into a very interesting band. Madison’s A Catapult Western offers up a CD of well writ tunes that move easily from folk-influenced to slow burn. Violin, mandolin and keyboards give way to tube-driven guitars. They build a codeine haze that recalls Opal’s David Roback at his best."


Dane 101 Review - Joshua James

Reviewing the Neighbors: A Catapult Western does it right


It is simple to explain why you dislike something, really simple. To describe exactly why you like and love something, now that is a daunting task. I had never heard of A Catapult Western before their self-titled debut showed up in cellophane in my mailbox three weeks ago. I unwrapped the package with trepidation hoping beyond hope that I wouldn’t have to write a harsh review, but I didn’t expect this.

Jason Nyberg (Guitars, Organ, Synthesizer, and Vocals) has a haunting voice that compliments Meghan Rose’s Gillian Welch-esque angelic backing, creating a wonderfully stirring album. A Catapult Western, the album not the band, is filled with moments of quiet contemplation and deep regret that shake the core and move the listener to feel as if s/he is the one who wrote songs and had gone through the range of emotions it took to get the words to page. The band pulls you into their world through melodic instrumentation which is often reminiscent of Austin alt-country band Knife in the Water (who - if you are unfamiliar - you need to discover).

Not all is gloomy with A Catapult Western. Songs like “Moving Day” and “That Familiar Story” serve as reminders that life is worth living, with twangs commonly seen from more no-depression influenced bands such as Whiskeytown and the Jayhawks. It is tracks such as “Back Up to the Wall” and “Brian Died” that drive the album to a place of near perfection. They start out with a minimalistic approach and slowly build on the foothold they form thanks in part to Laura Detert (Viola, Bass, and Keyboards) and James Bourne (Guitar, Mandolin and Vocals.) This is a trick typically incorporated by post-rock and appropriately tweaked for the sound of ACW.

With it’s poignant lyrics and lonely sound, A Catapult Western fits into the season well. Lock your doors, turn off the lights, and turn up the stereo because you’re in for an evening. Oh, and don’t forget the whiskey, it’s the only way you’re going to shake the cold. I can’t say enough about this band that actually hearing them wouldn’t resolve so...

We made it on a few best of 2007 lists (Thanks)

Joshua James Dane 101

10) A Catapult Western - S/T

"I’m not going to give a long and drawn out explanation as to why I love this record because I am currently in the midst of reviewing it. What I will say is that I listen to anywhere between 300 to 500 records a year and after only two weeks with this album I can firmly say it deserves a place in the top ten. If all of Madison had as much talent as A Catapult Western well I don’t know what I would do but it would be something. "


Kyle Pfister "I'm Just Saying is all"

"10) Madison Contributions: Significant releases from Madison-connected musicians are making impact.

Marla Hansen - Wedding Day Pale Young Gentlemen - Pale Young Gentlemen A Catapult Western - A Catapult Western John Statz - Our Love Was Made For Canada The Inlets - Vestibule EP (actually released at the end of 2006) She Is So Beautiful / She Is So Blonde - Self Titled Sleeping in the Aviary - Oh, This Old Thing"


The A.V. Club’s 2007 Madison mixtape

For a retreat into wordlessness

"9. A Catapult Western, “Winter Vacation,” available on A Catapult Western.

A Catapult Western’s Jason Nyberg did nicely for a fledgling songwriter on the band’s self-titled album this year. On “Winter Vacation,” the musicians who helped him craft the album (especially guitarists John Hitchcock and James Bourne and violist Laura Detert) journey from mournful to explosive and back again. "

"Seasonal-affective basement country" A.V. Club Interview from the November 20, 2007 Onion.

To read the Interview click the image below or the button to the left.

Wisconsin State Journal Thursday, JAN 10, 2008 - JOHN WIEDENHOEFT - Did he say pop hooks?

"A Catapult Western 's Jason Nyberg used the free time created by his wife 's six-month volunteer trip to a Kenyan orphanage to propel his own songwriting goals. He then recruited some of his friends from Strange Talking Animals, Buck Cornell and the Nematones and Aporia to create a collaborative album. The result is the band 's eponymous debut CD, an alt-country slowcore affair that brims with loneliness, friendship and pop hooks."

The Onion AV Club August 15 Edition - Scott Gordan

"Considering the novel draw of spaghetti-western scores, alt country, and free form indie rock, musicians were bound to start combining all three. Not all will prove as graceful as recently formed Madison band A Catapult Western. Sharing members with another ambitiously odd local act, Strange Talking Animals, ACW diffuses its vocal layers, viola, guitar, piano, and assorted other keyboard sounds through a slowcore haze. Even when it pushes into more straight-up, rocking country sounds, skewed guitars, and synths fend off genre clichés. The band has quickly finished enough songs for a full length album, which it hopes to release a month from now."