Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Album Review: Tyler Ramsey - The Valley Wind

The Valley Wind is slow, quiet and doesn’t break any new ground. It should be boring, but it isn’t.

Planted in Neil Young and doused with generous reverb, The Valley Wind blossomed into something undeniable gorgeous. The songs are open and free flowing. Tyler Ramsey isn’t trying to be anthemic, but the music still can fill a room (or, I guess, a valley).

Despite these traits, the record doesn’t wander. It is purposeful with the music moving forward. There are some ruts, but never last long. “Angel Band” drags, but Ramsey is aware and puts the urgent “When It’s Done” right after.

The sharp plucks of Ramsey’s finger picking work well with the reverb. It makes songs like “1000 Blackbirds” more ear-catching than songs with drawn out tones like “All Night.”

Ramsey oscillates between singing about the well-worn topics of the love and loss and nature. Whether Ramsey was trying to compare the transient quality of human emotions with the permanence of the organic world is unclear, but it’s a dichotomy that works well.

I prefer his nature lyrics to his love lyrics, but Ramsey’s voice and sense of melody make me want to sing along with whatever. He doesn’t save his best melodies just for the chorus; he infuses his verses with them as well.

The Valley Wind succeeds because of this. It’s slow, but the listener doesn’t have to wait for the good stuff. It may not be adventurous, but sometimes it’s fascinating to hear a person be the best version of themselves. This is Tyler Ramsey at his best.

The Valley Wind is available now on Fat Possum Records.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We have followed Tyler Ramsey for years, his family was originally from Pittsburgh. TYlers music is full of heart filled honest lyrics, performed with style and enormous talent. We loved haveing him come to Pittsburgh and know that this CD is destined to be one of the best of the year,THis was an amazing show.