RYLEY WALKER

A land­mark mas­ter­piece for Chicago’s Dream Brother.

Prog - - The Musical Box -

Chicago-based singer­gui­tarist Ryley Walker says that when he started record­ing his fourth al­bum since 2014’s All Kinds Of You, he wanted to make “an anti-folk record… some­thing weird and far out that came from the heart”. That’s one of sev­eral rea­sons why Walker re­calls the late Tim Buck­ley. Then there are the rich vo­cals, con­tin­u­ing with a quest­ing spirit and man­i­fest­ing in back­drops veer­ing be­tween smoky jazz-laced wa­ter­colours and ex­otic pro­gres­sive rock. It’s all en­hanced by Ryley, co-pro­ducer LeRoy Bach and heavy Chicago friends de­ploy­ing in­tri­cate webs of gui­tars, bur­nished flute and lan­guid double bass (a fur­ther twist added by pas­toral sec­tions that in­di­cate his love of clas­sic Gen­e­sis). Ir­re­sistible in its emo­tional pull, the al­bum un­folds as a roller coaster of moods. The tremors in Walker’s bat­tle-scarred voice also in­voke Tim Hardin or Jackie Leven on Ex­pired, while the tor­tured soul of orig­i­nal influence John Fa­hey haunts Rocks On Rain­bow, and Tel­luride Speed hur­tles through com­plex twists and turns like ex­treme jazz prog. Such as­ton­ish­ing vi­sions would have been hailed a land­mark mas­ter­piece 50 years ago. To­day that still stands. KN

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