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Golden Sings That Have Been Sung

Ryley Walker is part of a re­cent wave of so-called “Amer­i­can Prim­i­tive” acous­tic gui­tarists us­ing their tech­ni­cal prow­ess to take the in­stru­ment to rare heights of psychedelia. A big chal­lenge to mod­ern folk artists has been avoid­ing the clichés of pas­toral im­agery; for years, we’ve been in­un­dated by moun­tains, rivers and na­ture. A few artists have risen to this chal­lenge by in­cor­po­rat­ing hu­mour (Fa­ther John Misty, Kurt Vile), and now Walker can count him­self among them. His no­to­ri­ously jammy and in­dul­gent solo­ing is also reined in here, in favour of more ac­ces­si­ble and com­posed struc­tures. One of the stand­out tracks is cer­tainly “A Choir Apart,” in which Walker does some-

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