Ryley Walker

Primrose Green

Dead Oceans

May 26, 2015 Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame Impala Bookmark and Share


On his second full-length, Chicago-based guitarist and singer/songwriter Ryley Walker continues to draw inspiration from the most virtuosic finger-pickers and vocalists of the late '60s and early '70s. Walker impresses with his ability to effortlessly meld knotty psych, hard bop sway, and convincingly gritty blues riffs into single compositions, but the fact that he does so without any degree of affectation is perhaps even more admirable.

While the depth of this 20-something's often-improvised lyrics doesn't yet match the force of his baritone growls and purrs, the record gains emotional resonance from Walker's uncanny knack for summoning the specters of tragic folk figures. Bert Jansch may be the most apt reference point, though Nick Drake haunts the string-laden mysticism of "The High Road," while "Same Minds" recalls the peaks and valleys of Tim Buckley's songwriting. Yet even when channeling these ethereal artists, Walker never betrays the earthy open-heartedness that's wholly his own. (www.soundcloud.com/walker-ryley)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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