Ryley Walker first came to my attention with the release of his debut album “All Kinds of You” last year on Tompkins Square.
Due to that label’s tendency to reissue rare recordings combined with Walker’s knack for a vintage production sound, I thought for some time the album was recorded 45 years ago instead of 2014. (I should really pay more attention to these press releases)
Walker is a guitar picker of the highest order, transitioning effortlessly from the transcendent interweaving of John Fahey to the more fervid, psychedelic folk of Tim Buckley or Pentangle (his voice evens sounds reminiscent of the latter’s Bert Jansch).
His music feels less pastoral and stoic than many of his British folk influences, delivered with a bold force more akin to the legendary bluesman of his native Chicago.
On his new album “Primrose Green‘” Walker stretches his sound into further territories, including areas that feel like the cosmic folk-jazz explored by Terry Callier in the 1970’s.
All of this adds up to what I can only imagine is an incredible live experience, which makes Ryley Walker a not-to-miss artist at this year’s SXSW Music Festival.
Walker will performing at SXSW Tuesday March 17th at Mohowk Outdoor and Wednesday March 18th at Central Presbyterian Church.