Release Date: Jan 25, 2019
Record label: Merge
Although its title suggests a continuation of the pastoral Americana meditations from 2016's wondrous Modern Country, guitarist William Tyler's fourth solo outing is in fact a brighter, occasionally frolicsome set, rife with sublime melodies and executed with an understated confidence. Its title, Goes West, refers not to the dusty cross-country voyages that inspired its predecessor, but to Tyler's recent relocation from his native Nashville to sunny Los Angeles. As on Modern Country, the all-instrumental Goes West again employs a full band, though its leader sticks solely to acoustic guitar with Meg Duffy joining him on electric guitar, James Anthony Wallace on piano, Griffin Goldsmith on drums, and co-producer Bradley Cook covering bass, synths, and a smattering of other instruments.
With each new album, William Tyler's portrait of America gets deeper and more personal. His compositions--always wordless, mostly in major keys--have been written for acoustic guitar (2010's Behold the Spirit), electric guitar (2013's Impossible Truth), and an innovative band blending rural folk music and krautrock (2016's Modern Country). Despite the differences in presentation, his work always conjures a similar image of the country.
Modern Country, William Tyler's last solo album (2016), lived up to its clear-eyed billing as a thoughtful, contemporary take on Americana. Played mainly on electric guitar, it was as indebted to cosmic folk and the deprivation Tyler saw in the small, Trump-leaning southern towns he drove through on tour as the rhinestone-spangled country music of his home town, Nashville. This former member of Lambchop now lives in California.
Goes West by William Tyler The music of guitarist William Tyler has always summoned images of unspooling highways, brilliant skies, burning horizons, and wide open spaces. His new record is titled Goes West, and it feels as lazy to compare it to a road trip as it does contrarian not to. So: like a voyage through the gorgeous and infuriating heart of the United States, there's beauty and charm aplenty on Goes West, and there are long stretches in the middle where not much happens.