Review : Tyler Ramsey - The Valley Wind
PopmattersIf 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. Despite rarely handling any Band of Horses vocal duties, Ramsey has quietly been putting out albums of his own material now for well over six years. His latest release, the appropriately titled The Valley Wind, finds Ramsey’s music dabbling in the mesmerizing plaintive sounds of melancholy. In the vein of Neil Young, Jackson Browne, and Red House Painters, the songs effortlessly and beautifully glide by on the strength of Ramsey’s melodic guitar playing and lilting singing voice. It’s a tightly focused, economical listen that showcases a talent capable of stepping out into his own spotlight, in addition to offering essential ax duties to one of the most listenable bands in rock today.
Despite the move to Fat Possum Records, a bigger and more wide-reaching label, The Valley Wind largely remains a homegrown affair. Ramsey, an Asheville, North Carolina resident, crossed the state’s western border and holed up in Nashville’s Alex the Great studio over the course of a surprisingly frigid and snowy six January days. With BoH bandmate and buddy Bill Reynolds handling production and bassist duties and Floating Action’s Seth Kauffman on drums, the trio concentrated heavily on the performance aspects of recording, placing Ramsey’s lushly intricate finger-picking square in the middle of each composition. The results are reflected immediately, as the album opens with “Raven Shadow”, a 54-second John Fahey-esque instrumental number that sets the tone for what’s to come. From there, the title track appears: all Neil Young Harvest-era AM gold with its uncertain themes of longing and solitude shrouding the proceedings in mystery. The comparison to Young applies prominently to the musical arrangements and to Ramsey’s voice. “Angel Band” slowly reveals itself over a downtrodden melody reminiscent of Harvest Moon or Prairie Wind material, while also reflecting Ramsey’s BoH contribution “Evening Kitchen”. “When It’s Done” is anchored by aggressive downward strums, sounding like a lost CSN&Y track. And the voice, while not quite reaching the higher registers displayed by the rock legend, definitely mines a similar register, making the comparisons flattering yet inevitable. ...full text
StereogumBand Of Horses guitarist (and 2007 BTW in his own right) Tyler Ramsey released The Valley Wind, his new solo album, today. Below, we’ve got two of the tracks from that album, the title joint and “The Nightbird.” They’re both delicately dusty rock tracks, like Band Of Horses with the rampaging grandeur and Ben Bridwell’s keening falsetto stripped away....full text
BrooklynrocksBand of Horses guitarist Tyler Ramsey is releasing his third solo album, The Valley Wind, on September 27th on Fat Possum. This new disc is a crystalline yet warm slice of Appalachian-flavored folk/country tunes, filled with Ramsey’s rich, plaintive vocals and expressive, intricate guitar playing.
The Valley Wind was written while both on and off the road over the course of last year and recorded in Nashville, TN at Alex The Great studio in early January. Friend and bandmate Bill Reynolds (who’s worked with The Avett Brothers and Lissie) produced and aided on bass, while friend Seth Kauffman (Floating Action) sat in on drums and guitar, also singing background vocals.
The disc starts off with intricate guitar-based instrumental “Raven Shadow” which sets the tone for the disc. A number of the tracks feature Ramsey’s finger-picked guitar notes and ringing chords along with his plaintive and intimate vocals accompanied by just a brushed drum. Echo and reverb are added to some of these tracks but it is still a fairly stripped-down affair. Ramsey mixes things on the back-half of the disc with numbers like “Stay Gone”, which features great vocal harmonies from Seth Kauffman so the track sounds like a country-rock version of CSN, and “When It's Gone” and “All Night” which are hazy, almost psychedelic, numbers which would sound perfect on 70’s AM radio....full text
Tyler Ramsey Album Reviews
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
Tyler Ramsey Lyrics
- 1. These Days
ice-cream or chocolate?