Release Date: Sep 27, 2011
Record label: Fat Possum
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk
This is the third album from Tyler Ramsey, who, when not a driving force within Band of Horses, releases albums of sparse folk-rock. There’s Neil Young and Springsteen-esque pondering, of course; Ry Cooder, Rufus Wainwright and Leo Kottke as well. The title track is a beautiful mantra and “The Nightbird” may be the prettiest soft song committed to tape this year, while “1000 Blackbirds” could be from the U.K.’s Drift Records folk collective, its melodies whistling through reverb.
If you’ve seen a Band of Horses live show at any point over the past several years, you have surely noticed Tyler Ramsey. Lanky and often bearded, Ramsey unassumingly handles lead guitar duties, subtly adding texture and grace to Ben Bridwell’s sprawling, haunted tunes. For a band with one foot planted squarely in the pantheon of ‘70s rock vibes, it makes sense that Ramsey himself is a singer-songwriter.
Tyler Ramsey joined Band of Horses in 2007, climbing aboard just before the band hit the road in support of Cease to Begin. He quickly became Ben Bridwell's right-hand man, initially serving as a stand-in for co-founder Mat Brooke (who'd left the lineup to form his own band, Grand Archives) before graduating to a bigger role on Infinite Arms, where he co-wrote four tracks and shared lead vocals on "Evening Kitchen." With The Valley Wind, he makes a temporary return to the solo career that sustained him before Band of Horses came calling. With its pastoral arrangements and acoustic fingerpicking, the album bears a strong resemblance to Neil Young.
The Band of Horses guitarist trots, or perhaps moseys, off on a side project that channels his inner Neil Young circa Comes a Time. It’s a pleasant, moody, laconic bordering on snoozy, stripped down affair that never breaks a sweat or escalates into a gallop but should fill the bill for BOH fans looking to ease into a low-key, lazy Sunday morning after riding roughshod on Saturday night. Willie NileThe Innocent Ones(River House)Rating: Scrappy yet anthemic Dylan-esque East Coast singer/songwriting rocker Nile has been knocking around since 1980 releasing critically acclaimed albums that never found a sympathetic audience.