Posts Tagged ‘ psych jam ’

Ryley Walker & Ryan Jewell: March 24, 2019 Trans-Pecos

April 2, 2019
By

Making music is an act of generosity — the sharing of your inner self with a public that may or may not appreciate or understand it. The music in the world that is great is also the music in which the artist is most honest with her/himself. Honesty often means getting close to the dark places inside you.

Ryley Walker’s music has always embodied a certain conflict. When Walker takes a fairly straightforward folk-rock album track and turns it into a live 15-minute jazz-psych freakout, I don’t think the change is just about the “freedom” of the live setting or a fundamental dislike of the album track. Maybe that’s part of it, but I see a contest of impulses — to be a commercially approachable troubadour or the more esoteric, improvisational player he’s been since his career began. Do you want to be the guy who wears British tailoring in leafy photo shoots, or do you want to be the guy who uses his trio show with Ryan Jewell and Steve Gunn to play 50 minutes of psych jams? Walker is both of those things — he’s good at being both of those things — but one gets the sense that he isn’t totally comfortable living solely as either. I get it: A lot of us want to be more than our headline.

There’s a well-known paradox of the “sad clown” — that people who are funny are often people who aren’t happy. Anyone who has caught Ryley live or read him in Vice or reads his Twitter knows that he is certainly the former: he can be very, very funny. Listen to his lyrics as sung, and you might be surprised: Most of Walker’s songs are varying degrees of melancholic. Even a whimsical-sounding tune like “Summer Dress,” if you listen to his delivery, is more anxious than it seems: for a person with a belly full of wine singing about green pastures of desire, the narrator sounds ill at ease. The song is especially vivid for me because it’s the first one I ever heard Ryley Walker play. That very first song lacerated me; I believed the voice I heard.

Generosity. It’s sharing those darkest places in yourself, but it’s also playing a huge fan’s birthday party at Trans-Pecos in the middle of the day, even though you’ve got another show in town that Tuesday (which ends up being a jaw-dropping improv set with Jewell, David Grubbs, and C. Spencer Yeh—check back here soon). This set (a duo of Walker and Jewell) encapsulated all of the different sides of Ryley Walker at once — from his best-known song (and total live jammer) “The Roundabout” to the not-often-played-anymore “Summer Dress,” to the ending jam, which hews closer to his most recent Union Pool shows — and also kills.

That Walker puts his conflicts out there for everyone to see is not a flaw, nor is one choice he makes more true or “real” than another. They’re who and what he is — honest to the point of ache, always pushing to be something more. The late 2010s don’t feel like a moment for generous spirits, but you don’t choose when you’re born, anymore than you choose to whom, or where. Yet here he is: a generous spirit, one for whom, on this particular day, I was especially grateful.

Download the complete set from its page on the Live Music Archive.

Ryley Walker & Ryan Jewell
2019-03-24
Trans-Pecos
Queens, NY  USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard + Schoeps MK5c (onstage, XY)>KC5>CMC6>>Sound Devices MixPre6>24/48 polyWAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.3.0>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks
01 The Roundabout
02 [banter]
03 Summer Dress
04 [American Primitive rap]
05 Primrose Green
06 [HBD]
07 Pecos psych jam

PLEASE SUPPORT RYLEY WALKER: Bandcamp | Dead Oceans

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