Posts Tagged ‘Golden Sings That Have Been Sung’

While his previous output had unquestionably alerted the world to the musical talents of Ryley Walker, what they arguably lacked was enough of the man behind the music. That all changed with this year’s offering, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung. Moving away from the plaintive and sometimes pastoral imagery, this record seems to tap into the reality of Ryley’s life and his native Chicago. With the imagery of dive bars, friendships and the difficulty of being away from the world you know, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung feels like Ryley’s most honest work to date.

Musically too, Golden Sings is a record that feels more confident and ambitious. The hypnotic guitar work of The Halfwit In Me, the jazz-tinged percussion of Funny Thing She Said, this record sounds like a prodigious talent comfortable in the niche he has carved for himself. Best of all is The Roundabout, probably one of the most understated singles of the year; atop a bed of fluid guitar work, rolling bass and muted electronics, Ryley channels his inner Sixto Rodriguez as he lays to tape a tale of returning home from the road, drunken conversations with old friends and bad credit in your favourite bar. Whilst his self-deprecating lyrics might peg Ryley as a halfwit or a wise ass, listening to this record it is hard to see him as anything other than a star in the making.

Last year, Ryley Walker released “Primrose Green”, a contemporary folk-rock record tinged with jazz that garnered almost universal kudos. The Chicago singer-songwriter toured extensively – sometimes in the company of veteran double-bassist Danny Thompson – then headed home to record with Wilco collaborator LeRoy Bach. Accordingly, everything good about Walker steps up a gear on Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, which now boasts clarinets and a tinge of Red House Painters.

Golden Sings That Have Been Sung is out 19th August on Dead Oceans Records


“The Roundabout” taken from ‘Golden Sings That Have Been Sung‘ by Ryley Walker, out August 19th, 2016 on Dead Oceans Records.


“The Halfwit In Me” off of the new album ‘Golden Sings That Have Been Sung’ by Ryley Walker, out August 19th, 2016 on Dead Oceans Records.

Ryley Walker has announced the follow-up to 2015′s excellent Primrose Green. It was one of my favorites albums of 2015 . Every time I spin the Ryley album I get completely lost in the tapestry and textures of it all.

Based on the first track of the upcoming album, “The Halfwit In Me”, I don’t see this album letting me down in that regard. Here’s some more info on the backstory of “Golden Sings That Have Been Sung”.

In November 2015, at the end of a ten-month period which saw Ryley play over 200 shows all over the world in support of Primrose Green, Ryley decided that he should probably head home. He went into the studio over the Christmas vacation to record Golden Sings That Have Been Sung whose songs were directly wedded to Ryley’s return to Chicago. Some of his formative musical memories had been shaped by the work of pioneering Chicago acts such as Gastr del Sol and Tortoise. “Jeff Parker was the guitarist with Tortoise, and I used to listen to him a lot,” recalls Ryley, who figured that, for the first time in his career, it might be helpful to enlist the services of a producer. With only one person on his shortlist, once again, all roads led back to Chicago.

Ryley had been a long-time admirer of sometime Wilco multi-instrumentalist LeRoy Bach. Back in 2009, still in his teens, he had frequented the improv nights hosted by Bach at a restaurant/gallery space called Whistler. “For me, it was an incredible opportunity,” recalls Ryley, “…because you would sometimes also have Dan Bitney, the drummer with Tortoise, and I’d get to play with these people. I mean, they were twice my age. I’m sure they thought I was annoying at first, maybe some of them still do, but I kind of looked at them like gurus – and to have these old school Chicago heads taking me in was just amazing.”

For Ryley then, the prospect of having Bach produce his album was something of a no-brainer. “It was everything I wanted it to be,” he enthuses. “I would go to LeRoy’s house every other day with a riff, and we would take it from there.” Perhaps more than any other song on the record, the opening track and lead single “The Halfwit In Me” most audibly bear the imprint of those Whistler sessions.