NPR logo Viking's Choice: Acoustic Swagger Exists, And Ryley Walker Has It

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Viking's Choice: Acoustic Swagger Exists, And Ryley Walker Has It

Ryley Walker. Michael Vallera/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Michael Vallera/Courtesy of the artist

Ryley Walker.

Michael Vallera/Courtesy of the artist

Sometimes, friends of friends are the best way to discover new music. Or, at the very least, friends of artists you never want to miss live. This was the case with Ryley Walker, a close friend and frequent tour buddy of American Primitive guitarist Daniel Bachman. Walker would accompany Bachman in seriously raucous and psychedelic live sets only a couple years ago, and Bachman would tell me, "Just wait 'til you hear Ryley's stuff." Well, now it's here — and it's not at all what I expected.

Ryley Walker. Michael Vallera/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Michael Vallera/Courtesy of the artist

Ryley Walker.

Michael Vallera/Courtesy of the artist

Listen: Ryley Walker, 'The West Wind'

The West Wind

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/230815583/231478465" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • from The West Wind
  • by Ryley Walker

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Song
The West Wind
Album
The West Wind
Artist
Ryley Walker
Label
Tompkins Square
Released
2013

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With the charming swagger of jazz-folk troubadour Tim Buckley and the resonant, full picking style of Bert Jansch, "The West Wind" comes from Walker's first widely available release, a three-song 12". With acoustic guitar in hand and a voice like browned butter, Walker swings and sways in a lush string-and-piano arrangement right out of Buckley's Starsailor; it slowly picks up to a swirling gallop without bucking the rhythm.

The West Wind comes out digitally on Oct. 22 — and as a 12" EP on Nov. 29 — via Tompkins Square Records. Ryley Walker is currently touring Europe with Daniel Bachman.

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