for the morning

Frontrunner Meets Tyler Ramsey

via Frontrunner Magazine

Tyler Ramsey’s solo album For The Morning is his first in eight years, but it’s far from his first rodeo as a solo artist. He released his debut eponymous album in 2004, and then put out two more solo albums (A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea, 2010; The Valley Wind, 2011) while also playing guitar as a member of Band of Horses. Tyler lives and has his studio several miles outside of Asheville, NC, so it’s no surprise that his new album mirrors the calming country landscape of the area. For The Morning is a well-named, reflective collection of folk songs that sound like early morning or possibly late evening–the solitary, meditative times of day when you really have space to think.

FRONTRUNNER speaks with Tyler about the new album and the important relationship between quiet and creativity. In the process he also told us about his favorite guitars, the satisfying flexibility of solo touring, and his friendship with Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket.

Can you talk about some of the major themes you grapple with on For The Morning?

It’s kind of a document of a certain period of my life. It covers a lot of ground. A lot of the songs were written and completed around the time my daughter was born, and a little bit after that, but I can’t really pick out any certain theme.

Is it fair to say there is a really strong influence of folk and country in your music? Where does that come from?

Of course, yeah. There’s a lot of both of those, coming from the music that I listen to and the things that I admire. A lot of the guitar styles that I’ve absorbed over the years are based in a folk world–or more like “country blues,” that kind of thing–just a finger-style guitar technique that encompasses a whole world of music that I am really into. I think it’s bled into the music that I write.

Is there a particular track on For The Morning that you learned the most from while writing or recording it? Or any particular tracks that otherwise stand out for you?

There’s two extremes on this record as far as production, and I could talk about both of those. “Bottom of the Sea” is a song that I wrote on the piano and ended up having more movement and chords than I’ve had in a song. It’s got more going on than most of the songs on the album: there’s some strings and lots of different keyboards on there. So for that song, I incorporated the skills that I had [learned] from the studio, from before, and I demoed it out to where it sounded the way I wanted. We really worked on fleshing it out and making it really full-sounding. I really love the way that song turned out.

On the other side of the coin is the title track “For the Morning,” which I also wrote on piano, but the version on the album is on guitar. What I like to do on an album is have at least one piece that is really bare-bones, like you would see if you came to see me play a show. So I tried to capture that song, as close as I could, to the feeling that I had when I wrote it. What you hear on the album is just a performance of the song. It’s not pieced together, there’s not fixes, we didn’t comp the vocals or do any of that stuff. That is just me singing this song and really capturing the emotion. We had a guitar mic and a vocal mic, and I think something had gone wrong with one of the mics, so it ended up being just one microphone. I think we added a couple of tiny little overdubs after we got the basic version of it. It’s super intimate. It was the last thing that I recorded for the album, and we ended up getting it at two in the morning or something. Most of the sessions weren’t going that late, but I think on this one I intentionally wanted to capture a little bit of rawness in the performance.

Your music actually brings me into a mindset of music like Hall & Oates, or Seals & Crofts, or [David] Crosby — music that was made to be played by one or two people and was made to be listened to in a non-frantic environment.

Right. I appreciate those comparisons, and I’ve never heard a couple of those, but I grew up on that type of music as well with my parents, hearing songwriters, and hearing songs that were just songs. I’m trying to do that as well, trying to write songs that can carry themselves and be performed in different ways. There are times when I’m just playing a guitar and singing, and then all of a sudden the entire band is playing really loud electric guitars. It moves all over the place, and that’s kind of what I’m going for. But at the root of it is trying to become a better songwriter, and trying to write songs that are meaningful to me, and in turn hopefully meaningful to people that are taking the time to listen.

What’s your favorite guitar right now? What makes it a good fit for you?

Right now in my life there are two guitars that I would say are my favorite ones. The first one is a late 60’s Guild Starfire V electric guitar. I bought it years ago on the way to record [For The Morning]. The first [recording] session, I was on my way to Louisville with my friend Seth, and we stopped by a friend of mine’s place in Knoxville. He had a guitar shop at the time, and I was just stopping by to say hello, but on the wall was this gorgeous, sunburst, really worn-in and played guitar, and I picked it up and just fell in love with it right away. It’s definitely my favorite electric guitar that I’ve ever owned. It’s got flatwound strings on it, and it works for finger-style guitar really well. It’s a beautiful instrument.

Then recently, I also picked up an old Harmony acoustic guitar that I want to say is either late 50s or maybe 60s. I found out about this guy down in Athens, GA, named Scott Baxendale. He has a shop where he takes these old Harmonies and old Kay guitars that are made out of beautiful old wood, and he takes them apart and reengineers or rebuilds them so they sound good. A lot of those guitars–although they were made out of fantastic wood–were not really made very well and would probably would just sit on a pawn shop hook on the wall or something. But he rebuilds them, and they sound amazing. I picked up one of those after playing with my friend Carl Broemel, who is the guitar player for My Morning Jacket. I did a tour with him, and he had [a guitar] that he had purchased from Scott, and I got to play it on that tour and fell in love with it. Then when I drove through Athens the next time, I stopped by the shop and grabbed this gorgeous little acoustic guitar. It’s the kind of guitar that just makes you want to play guitar all the time. And that’s a pretty special thing, sometimes.

After being a part of Band of Horses for almost a decade, what’s the most rewarding part about playing solo now?

I feel satisfied that, first of all, I found a team of people that are helping me with this record. I found Fantasy Records, and I have a good management company, and [there are] a lot of people who are doing a really good job of helping me get this music out there and working with me. I feel really lucky that I’m able to go out and play shows to people, and support this album, and spread this music around.

It really is deeply satisfying to have written this material. I feel really strongly about it. It’s satisfying to be able to play these songs live for people, in different situations. I’ve done a lot of tours this year already, and some of them have been with my band–I have a pedal steel guitar player who also plays guitar and sings harmonies, and I’ve got a bass player who sings harmonies, and a fantastic drummer–and I’ve also done a lot of shows where it’s just me on acoustic guitar, and there’s something really satisfying about a night like that, for me. I think it comes across to the audience too, to have a show that’s not super flashy or anything–it’s just a cool experience. It’s like taking a deep breath or something, having a night like that where you can communicate with a crowd of people. It’s an intimate kind of thing; I’m really “in the crowd.” After the shows I’m hanging out and meeting people that have listened to my songs over the years. It’s been really cool to connect with a lot of people on these tours.

You live outside of town near Asheville, NC. I was reading a little bit about how you feel that not being immersed in an urban environment, or even being decidedly removed from it, spurs your creative process. What is the most comfortable environment for you?

That kind of varies, really. Creativity–or sparks of ideas–can come from any direction. The thing about living out here is the quiet. You can get grounded really easily, and I think it works for me as a person to have some space and quiet to reflect on all of the things that feed into creative ideas. I need to have that [groundedness] to be able to process those things and turn them into songs, normally. And this place is that place for me right now.

When you come home to the quiet after touring, do you feel energized? Do you feel drained?

It’s always a shock. It’s wild to go from here, and hop, and go out on tour, and be traveling to all the different cities and seeing the different things, and come back here. It’s very quiet and gorgeous. You’re kind of alone. I mean, I’m not alone, because I have my family here. But I can be alone if I want to go to my studio, or if I want to sit by the river.

It provides that opportunity to connect with yourself. The times I’ve been most happy are when I have that opportunity. Even if it was like when I was younger and I lived alone in an apartment somewhere, when I knew I had hit the wall with social interaction or sensory input then I could go be alone. Most of the places that I’ve lived have a little elbow room or are surrounded by nature, and those are the places that I’ve loved the most. When we were thinking about moving out to the country and found this house, I knew it was the right place.

On the song “A Dream of Home,” you sing about being on the road and being at home, saying that you’ve been at “both extremes.” Where are you with that now?

You know, I’m still there. It’s still a struggle. It’s part of life as a musician. Not even just as a musician, actually! Anybody could have that same existence. Even if you’re working nine-to-five and you’re gone all day, there’s just a certain part of existence where you’re not necessarily sure that what you’re doing is the right thing to be doing. That’s what the idea started from. But then it developed into explaining a little bit about my personal experiences of traveling and missing home.

When you feel like you’re missing out, do you ever think that the music itself acts as the bridge to what you’re missing out on?

I mean, it’s what I’ve chosen to do with my time and most of my life so far, is to play music. I can’t do everything and be at all the places I want to be at the same time, so it’s just part of the decision that I made to do this thing. It ultimately is the satisfying route to take, but it also involves sacrifice. I think any creative pursuit, or any aspiration in your life, has to at some point involve some sort of sacrifice. So that’s what that is for me.

What’s coming up next for you?

Well, I have a tour with Carl Broemel. He’s a friend of mine, and we did a tour back in February. It turned out to be such a cool musical connection for me to meet him and realize we were musical kindred spirits. We do this thing where it’s like a duo tour. He brings a pedal steel and all his guitars and pedals, and I bring a Wurlitzer and my guitars, and we’re both on stage at the same time, and we play each others’ songs together. There’s only two people on stage, so we can do all different kinds of things. We’re gonna be doing that [in July 2019]. I’m picking him up in Nashville, and then we’re gonna rehearse and head all the way out to the West Coast and do about three weeks’ worth of shows together.

Then the Europe tour should be coming up in the fall. I was over there not too long ago, just solo acoustic shows, but I think I’m coming back with my band this time, which will be really cool. Then things will slow down in the winter. I’m sure I’ll do a little bit of writing and have a little bit of downtime. Then I’ll head back out and play more shows, and eventually… another record at some point.

And the cycle continues.

Yeah! But for now I’m just really enjoying what I’m doing, getting to play for people.

This interview with Tyler Ramsey will appear in FRONTRUNNER’s Winter Edition, coming out in January 2020.

Tyler Ramsey finds satisfaction as a solo artist on For the Morning

 
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via The Inlander

For a lot of people who make their living as traveling musicians, it's not the "musician" part that's hard. It's the "traveling" part. More specifically, it's the part that requires regularly leaving loved ones for extended periods of time.

That was true for Tyler Ramsey — self-described "pretty emotional dude" — even before he had a daughter five years ago. And it was exacerbated by his role as guitarist in the busy and successful indie-rock group Band of Horses, which he joined in 2007.

"I knew before we even decided we were going to have a child it was going to make it really challenging for me, knowing the kind of person I am," Ramsey says. "I knew I'd love being a dad and I wouldn't want to be away."

Complicating the situation was the fact that Ramsey's time in Band of Horses had begun to sour. Nearly a decade into his tenure with the quintet, relationships were fraying and the creative collaboration that fueled excellent albums like 2010's Infinite Arms had waned, according to Ramsey. That made leaving home even harder.

"The whole energy of the thing kind of shifted to where I was like, 'OK, now not only am I sad about leaving my family behind, but I'm also not excited about what's at the other end of this flight,'" he says. "Going on tour just felt like less of a good reason to be leaving."

So in 2017, Ramsey quit Band of Horses and turned his attention to some songs he'd started writing about the changes in his life. In April, he released them on an album called For the Morning, his fourth solo full-length and first since 2011. Fans of the serene, starlit sound of Infinite Arms will find much to like within its 10 tracks, which gently spill over with memorable melodies, lush vocal harmonies, rootsy guitars and a production style that settles in like a warm summer evening. Recurring lyrical themes include love, heartbreak, nature, loneliness, the passage of time, regret and redemption.

Ramsey says he can listen to any of his four solo records and hear the soundtrack to a season of his life. That's true with For the Morning, too, although he can already feel his songwriting starting to evolve.

"I've been writing lately, and I can tell there's a shift happening. I can see a new story developing," he says. "But those songs (from the new album) still feel super fresh. Playing them in front of people reveals a little bit about them, when you're out there singing the lyrics in front of people and they're connecting to them. It brings them right back to the present moment."

It's worth noting that Ramsey is back out on tour again, and he's happier than he was near the end of his run in Band of Horses. Leaving home is still hard, but now he knows his tank will be refilled — not drained — on the road.

"Now when I'm on stage, I'm playing these songs and talking to people about the record and meeting new people, and it all feels deeply satisfying," he says. "It's a project that I have my full energy in and that makes it something that's worth leaving home for."

Most importantly, Ramsey feels like he's back to being an artist — one who gathers his thoughts and turns them into something and then goes out and shares them with others in hopes of finding connection. For him, that's what it's all about.

"My whole path is based on feeling creative. I want to be a creative person," he says. "That's been the case for me for a really long time and if I'm not on that path, I need to go find a job doing something other than playing guitar in front of people. Because I want to feel like I'm in it completely and doing something really fulfilling, and that's what I'm doing right now."

Tyler Ramsey's Magnificent Solo Run

 
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via Guitar Player

On 'For The Morning,' Tyler Ramsey breaks away from Band of Horses with simply one of the most gorgeous folk recordings you’ll hear this year.

Being an accomplished guitarist doesn’t mean much if you can’t write terrific tunes, especially when you’re blazing a troubadour trail and incorporating instrumentals. Tyler Ramsey is that rare breed of player who is brilliant on guitar and vocals, a wise wordsmith, clever with arrangements and creative in the studio.

“I’ve always aimed to have my songs sound complete with just a guitar and a vocal,” Ramsey says, “even if I ultimately wind up adding a rhythm section and other layers to the recording.”

After 10 years as lead guitarist for Band of Horses, Ramsey departed the group in 2017 to focus on his solo career, which dates back to his 2005 eponymous debut album. The guitarist makes his country home outside the roots-music sanctuary of Asheville, North Carolina, and his music has a distinctly natural and never-in-a-hurry quality. “Long walks in the woods with my dog feed my songwriting,” Ramsey says of his method, which is depicted on the cover of his latest solo album, For the Morning (Fantasy Records). On it, he encapsulates serenity via fleet fingerstylings and inventive, textured arrangements, creating what is simply one of the most gorgeous folk recordings you’ll hear this year. The track “White Coat” has a fingerpicked “Dear Prudence”-like descending pattern, with lush sonics and Ramsey’s lovely tenor vocal in a cinematic setting, and features a bridge that sounds as if a string band from the Civil War era happened into the studio. The evocative instrumental “Darkest Clouds” sets the scene for “Firewood,” which starts off with a Harvest-era Neil Young vibe before blossoming into an expansive affair that sounds like members of Wilco and Radiohead gathered around Ramsey’s campfire.

Anyone wondering why a player might walk away from a big-time gig as Ramsey did when he split from Band of Horses will find an answer on For the Morning. The album doesn’t simply sound pleasing — it feels like peace itself.

What are your acoustic guitar roots?

I started playing a Sigma acoustic guitar just before my freshmen year of high school, when my family moved to Nashville. My uncle gave me a cassette tape of Leo Kottke with A Shout Toward Noon on one side, and 6- and 12-String Guitar on the other. I loved hearing the guitar covering all the bases: melody lines, bass lines and crazy rhythmic stuff. It wasn’t at all cool to be into Michael Hedges at that point, but I was way into Michael Hedges. His music inspired me to start toying around with open tunings on the acoustic guitar. Those two players opened my eyes to the fact that a song could be completely played solely on the acoustic guitar. It’s an incredible instrument with limitless potential.

Can you connect the dots between being a solo acoustic enthusiast and joining Band of Horses?

We crossed paths while working in the same studio in 2007, when I was finishing up A Long Dream About Swimming Across the Sea. Bill Reynolds played bass with me and with them, and he was the connection. The first album I made with them was Infinite Arms, which was pretty heavily produced, aside from a song I had on there called “Evening Kitchen”; it was just my fingerstyle acoustic guitar and lead vocals with harmonies, so it stood out. I used a lot of alternate tunings trying to find space that wasn’t represented in Band of Horses, but that song is actually in standard tuning with a capo at the fifth fret. There’s a new version on the new album, called “Evening Country.”

Your 2011 solo album, The Valley Wind, is full of fantastic fingerstyle acoustic tunes. Can you talk about a couple of them?

“1,000 Blackbirds” is a good example, and the opening instrumental track, “Raven Shadow,” was essentially an introduction. I played it on a 12-string tuned C G D G C D from the sixth string to the first. I used that same tuning with a capo at the second fret for “1000 Blackbirds,” which is rooted in country-blues fingerstyle. It’s essentially a basic folk form, but it takes some interesting twists and turns. I like to incorporate instrumental movements within the framework of a lyrical folk arrangement to make it more multifaceted.

What’s your overriding M.O. regarding acoustic guitars, and how does that play into the arsenal you used on For the Morning?

I get a certain feeling in my chest when I pick up a guitar that hits me in the right place, and it can happen with any kind of acoustic. I love how a vintage guitar has its own story, and I’m just a part of that storyline. I do have some newer ones though. One of my go-to guitars is a Martin D-18 that my grandma gave me when it was pretty new, around the year 2000. Her maiden name was Martin, and she remembered me saying that I wanted one when I was a kid. I still cherish it, and it really sings in lowered open tunings. I’ve got a Guild Orpheum OM from their custom shop that was made about seven years ago. I used it a lot on Band of Horses’ Acoustic at the Ryman. It’s great for fingerstyle stuff, and it carries open G tuning really well.

I had a late-’60s Martin 12-string with me for these sessions, and a Gibson Folksinger from the same era that I found in a pawnshop. I keep that in standard tuning, so a lot of my standard songs are written on that. And I’ve got a fretless banjo from the Civil War era that I used on the new record as well. I played it in my clumsy attempt at clawhammer style on the bridge section of “White Coat.” I also played it with an EBow on the instrumental “Darkest Clouds” to get that flute-like sound in the background.

“Darkest Clouds” is a great example of your unique fingerpicking technique.

Most guitar teachers would probably advise against my kind of technique, because it’s probably not ergonomically correct for most people to hang their fingers as straight up-and-down as I do. But I’m very tall, and I’ve got big hands with long fingers. Somehow I wound up bracing my ring and pinkie fingers on the guitar top while I use my thumb and first two fingers to pluck.

Did you plan the way “Darkest Clouds” flows seamlessly into “Firewood”?

I like to write companion pieces. I was working on the instrumental and thinking of how “Firewood” might go, and how they might help tie the album together in a way. Those were born of the same tuning. From strings six to one, it’s D A D F A D. Nathan Salsburg is an amazing fingerstyle guitar player. I was thrilled to have him add the second guitar that comes in briefly during the middle of “Darkest Clouds.” He walked in, killed it and walked out. He blows my mind, so it was like a dream to play with him. I played “Firewood” on the same Guild acoustic that I used for “Darkest Clouds.” It starts off sounding very similar, and then builds. I like to double an acoustic part precisely with a clean electric guitar in the background, so the listener almost loses track of what’s what. I used a late-’60s Guild Starfire strung with flatwounds to do that on “Firewood.” Gareth Liddiard from the Drones dropped in and added some guitar as well. He’s one of my electric guitar heroes, because his playing is so raw.

Can you share some insights on the song “White Coat”?

That was originally in open-G tuning, but I took it down a step to accommodate the instrumental section that I wrote separately on banjo, so from low to high it’s C F C F A C. In addition to the banjo on the middle section, I played a 12-string Martin and Scott Moore played fiddle. And then there’s another section where the acoustic and electric guitar double each other. It’s same trick as on “Firewood,” but with a Strymon BigSky reverb on the electric guitar that winds up sounding somewhat like a cello.

How do you tackle your tunes on tour?

Mostly I’ve been using the Guild Orpheum OM with an L.R. Baggs M80 soundhole pickup. I’ll run that through a direct box and use the house monitors. I like to have a microphone on the acoustic as well that only goes to the front of house, so I don’t get feedback in my monitor but the audience hears the natural acoustic sound. I use the Guild Starfire electric strung with D’Addario flatwounds running through a Matchless Spitfire amp a lot, as well. I fell in love with how it responds to fingerstyle playing in open tunings. The sound is very expressive, with lots of overtones and other interesting nuances.

I’m actually just about to head out for a run of solo dates, and I’m excited to stop at Baxendale Guitar in Athens, Georgia, where Scott Baxendale rebuilds old guitars. I did a tour with Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket, and I was knocked out by how good his Baxendale sounded, so I ordered an H162 remanufactured Harmony Sovereign. I can’t wait to pick it up and go play. The audience has become a blend of my longtime followers, Band of Horses fans and brand-new faces. I’m looking forward to playing the new tunes for everybody. In a way, it feels like I’m just getting started.

New Releases From Solo Careers

 
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via RICentral

Tyler Ramsey - For the Morning
Fantasy Records

On his latest solo release called For the Morning, former Band of Horses lead guitarist and songwriter Tyler Ramsey delivers a genre-blurring collection of expansive and dreamy roots pop. Ramsey cites the changes in his life – birth of his daughter, a retreat to the mountains outside of Asheville to lay stakes, and a general moving away from the touring grind of a musician – as providing newfound inspiration for this creative burst. Taking stock in his new surroundings plays into the overall feel of For the Morning. Like a hike in the woods, it is meditative in its many sounds, lush and languid but thankfully devoid of any overproduction to get to that place. Guitars, piano and pedal steel with Ramsey’s tenor voice gently sweep into a soundscape often as striking as his newfound views living in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Standout tracks include the luxuriant “A Dream of Home” written on an off day during a Band of Horses tour, “Breaking of a Heart” and “Evening Country” each featuring harmony vocals by Thad Cockrell and Molly Parden, and the beautifully spare “Cheap Summer Dress” featuring spot-on harmony by Joan Shelley. For the Morning is Ramsey’s first solo album since 2011’s The Valley Wind. It finds him in a good place and in a groove all unto his own.

 
 

Sara's In Tune Pick of The Week

 
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via Maine Public - Week of 5.31.19

Tyler Ramsey — For the Morning

"I always feel a little guilty when I listen to a record over and over. I'm supposed to be checking out the piles of CDs that appear in the mail every week, not getting obsessed with one record. But it does happen and that's how I feel about Tyler Ramsey's new CD, For the Morning. I just want to put it on repeat in the house or sneak out for a long car ride so I can just listen. It makes me feel like it's 1974 and Neil Young and Paul McCartney just made a record together. Lovely, beautiful playing and great songwriting?that's all I'm ever asking for!" — Sara

For The Morning Relix Review

 
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via Relix

“There’s a dream of home for those that work out on the road/ And there’s a vision of the road for all the others,” Tyler Ramsey sings on his fourth solo LP, his voice blanketed by swooning slide guitar and a delicate acoustic strum. “I can tell you what I’ve seen because I’ve been at both extremes/ There’ll be a time you will wish you could trade your life for another.” It’s a sentiment as old as pop music itself: a musician worn down by traveling and missing his family, and the sobering realization that the touring lifestyle isn’t the fantasy one may think. It’s the central theme from For the Morning , his first album since 2011’s The Valley Wind and a reemergence into the solo realm since leaving Band of Horses in 2017. Ramsey crafted the record partly on tour, cramming in writing sessions in hotel rooms and on airplanes, and partly at his idyllic home near the woods outside Asheville, N.C. Both of those realities, the longing and the contentment, flow through the music. “Who will bring in the firewood? And who’s gonna keep up the fire?” he sings on the haunting folk reverie “Firewood.” Is he referencing an actual pile of kindling or the foundation of a marriage? With its weepy steel guitars and acoustic-heavy arrangements, many of the highlights here—like the gospel-tinged “Your Whole Life” and fingerpicked “White Coat” — suitably feel like they were written in middle of a forest, with a hunting dog nearby and a smartphone nowhere in sight. It’s Ramsey’s dream of home, solidified in sound.

Tyler Ramsey plays a hometown album release show at the Masonic Temple

 
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via Mountain Xpress

Before he was a husband and father, Tyler Ramsey used to do a lot of his songwriting at night. While living in downtown Asheville, he’d go to his little basement studio and work through melodies and lyrics as he found his musical voice.

Though he’s still up fairly late while out on tour, Ramsey enjoys being able to return to his current home life, including early wake-up calls courtesy of his young daughter. The shift in schedule has become so thorough that it’s made its way into the title of his new solo album, For the Morning.

“Part of what inspired that song ‘For the Morning’ was the desperate feeling … of change and kind of going with it,” Ramsey says. “When you become a parent, you kind of lose yourself, so that had a lot to do with it. Not really the sleep schedule part as much, but it’s part of it.”

 
 

Now based in Candler, the longtime local resident plays what he calls “a proper local hometown album release show” on Saturday, May 11, at the Asheville Masonic Temple, sharing a dreamy, sonically rich set of songs that he’s elated to give the attention it deserves. That journey began in 2004 with his self-released, self-titled album, which he followed with 2010’s A Long Dream About Swimming Across the Sea, his first collection to come out on a label. He feels that his sophomore record’s release got off to a strong start with “an energy around it” and reviews and articles in national and international publications. Immediately afterward, however, he joined Band of Horses.

“My touring ability fell off, and my focus shifted a little bit. And then I was fully in the band, and we were writing and getting ready to do Infinite Arms,” Ramsey says. “That was a great phase and a creative time for me. I think that was kind of a shift for that band, too, because it was me and Bill Reynolds contributing a lot of ideas and a lot of energy to that record.”

When he put out his next album, The Valley Wind in 2011, he didn’t have any time to tour it because he was immediately back on the road with Band of Horses. Released on Fat Possum Records, the album received decent attention, but with Ramsey unable to play solo shows or radio stations, the album all but evaporated from the cultural consciousness.

“I’m still kind of disappointed that I allowed that to happen,” he says. “At the time, I kept with the band, and it was starting to taper off as a creative outlet. And by the time I had [For the Morning] starting and I started to feel like I had the energy to create a new record, I realized if I do that again, it’s a waste of my time to put a record out at all, as well as a waste of other people’s time.”

He continues, “If some label or a booking agent is waiting on me to do something and they’re excited about it and I’m unable to give it the time — I didn’t want to do that again. I didn’t want to have this record disappear again. All of it felt like a massive shift in what I wanted to do with my time and who I wanted to spend my time with. It was a big change, but it was time to make it.”

Ramsey’s For the Morning demos were fairly fleshed-out. He also did some planning with Black Mountain-based musician Seth Kauffman (Floating Action), who rode up with him to La La Land studios in Louisville, Ky., in Ramsey’s gear-filled van. But mostly, Ramsey let the duo’s sessions with engineer Kevin Ratterman take a more natural course.

“I always feel like it’s better to kind of spring things on people,” Ramsey says. “I like the energy of someone hearing something and working it out a little bit more closer to the moment. [Seth] did have a couple things that he’d loosely charted out, like bass lines for songs. But I think everything kind of came together when we were actually in the room working on the record.”

While on tour playing these songs, Ramsey has built in various visual cues to strengthen his bond to the material. For example, the “White Coats” line, “You went out across the river to lay down in the sunlight where it filters through the pines,” is a visual image from Ramsey exploring his Candler property.

“It’s a way for me to connect with the song again if I’m performing it. I really, really feel strongly that if you’re performing in front of people, you need to do whatever you can to make yourself feel that the meaning of the song that you’re singing or put yourself back in that moment of why that song was written,” Ramsey says.

“Because that’s performance. That’s what you’re doing in front of an audience. If you’re just up there singing words and playing chords, that’s probably fine with some people, but I really do feel that for the songs that I’m singing, I like to be in the moment of the song so I can create a really cool atmosphere in a live setting and draw people into the song.”

WHO: Tyler Ramsey

WHERE: Asheville Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway, tickets at thegreyeagle.com

WHEN: Saturday, May 11, 8 p.m. $20 advance/$25 day of show

Tyler Ramsey Evokes Nick Drake on Sublime 'For The Morning'

 
 

via Glide Magazine

Tyler Ramsey literally had nothing to prove when he opted to put his solo career in second gear and join forces with Band of Horses for a tour in 2007. That stint with the group became a decade long association, one that found him splitting his time between his individual pursuits and writing and recording with the group as a whole. It didn’t deter him from pursuing his own muse at the same time — in fact, he was able to further spur his creativity by making prime contributions to the band’s repertoire as well — but by 2017 it became clear that the lanky singer and guitarist’s talents were best served by the forlorn ballads he continued to record on his own.

Now, four albums in, that premise is clearer than ever, courtesy of an album that’s so sensual and sublime, it’s easy to imagine folks touting him as an heir apparent to none other than Nick Drake. Not that the comparison hasn’t been tossed out before, but if anyone most deserve it, Ramsey’s clearly the one. The album title alone evokes a dewey-eyed perspective, a dreamlike state that finds the world reckoning with dreams that were sown in the immediate hours before. Certain songs — “Your Whole Life,” “Darkest Sounds,” “White Coat,” “Firewood,” and “Cheap Summer Dress” being the most apparent — convey a sense of hushed circumspect, a sound that’s low-key, lethargic, but enveloped by a breathless beauty too tangible to deny. It can seem contradictory at times — a song like “A Dream of Home” is both earnest and upbeat, while “Breaking a Heart” recalls Neil Young sounding resilient and yet resigned. Indeed, Ramsey has that ability to entice his listeners into sharing his solitude, and once lured inside those intimate environs, they’re engaged, ensconced and content to deliberate on any tender perspective.

Ultimately, For The Morning is an album of meditative moods, one that demands more than a momentary embrace. It speaks in soft tones, a perfect way to contemplate possibilities and whatever cerebral setting the day may hold in store.

 
 

Tyler Ramsey performing new album at Horizon Records

 
tyler-ramsey-press-2019-124.jpg
 

via Greenville Journal

Tyler Ramsey is as surprised as anyone that it’s been almost eight years since his last solo album. But there are some pretty good reasons for that gap, most notably that for six of those years, Ramsey served as lead guitarist for the folk-rock sensation Band of Horses.

“I was fully absorbed in touring and doing a couple of records with the band, and time flew by as it does when you’re wrapped up in a project,” Ramsey says. “I didn’t feel like it had been that long; when I hear now the amount of time that’s passed, it’s surprising to me because I’ve been able to be creative. Hopefully there won’t be a big gap of time again.”

Part of the reason that Ramsey can work a little faster on his own music now is that he left Band of Horses in 2017 after several intense cycles of touring and recording.

There are moments in Ramsey’s songs that are reminiscent of Neil Young in his folk-music phase, and others that bring to mind the chiming country-rock guitars and rich vocal harmonies of bands like The Byrds or the Eagles, and he explores those sounds to the fullest on his just-out album “For the Morning.” The idyllic arrangements were inspired by the bucolic scenery around his home in the mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina, but the album itself has more restless origins.

“It’s a record that represents a lot of change,” Ramsey says. “It’s a big shift. I’d attribute that to constant having moved into being a dad, making decisions about moving forward in my career, that was all going on when I was writing the songs.”

In fact, some of the songs were written when Ramsey was still part of Band of Horses, most notably “A Dream of Home,” a harmony-drenched midtempo rocker about being on the road and thinking of home.

 
 

“That song reflects my life and being torn between the path I was on and a simpler, more grounded way,” Ramsey says. “That reflects that yearning for a different path.”

Even though Ramsey is happier as a solo artist on a smaller scale than Band of Horses, he still struggles with the conflict of pursuing his music and spending time with his wife and young daughter.

“When I walk out the door to go on tour, I know that I’m going to do what I’ve been preparing myself to do my whole life,” he says. “I’m torn; but the flip side is that when I come home, I’m 100 percent home. I can hang out with my daughter all the time. I get this solid block of time where it’s us hanging out and doing everything we want to do together.”

The “For the Morning” album is rich with intricate, layered, full-band arrangements, which will make things interesting when Ramsey plays the material solo in a show at Horizon Records on Saturday.

“My goal is to write songs that people can get engaged with, with just a guitar and a voice,” he says. “My hope is that I’m writing songs that are engaging enough and people won’t think there’s anything missing.”

The show is part of Horizon’s celebration of Record Store Day, a day that recognizes independent brick-and-mortar record stores around the country.

“It’s important to keep record stores going all over the place,” Ramsey says. “It was where I discovered all of my new music. But the main thing is that I’ve known Gene Berger [the owner of Horizon] forever. He’s always been such a huge supporter of local music and music in general. He’s helped me out so much over the years, so when I talked to him about the possibility of doing it, it was a no-brainer to get in there and play.”

What: Tyler Ramsey
When: Noon Saturday, April 13
Where: Horizon Records, 2-A W. Stone Ave., Greenville
Admission: Free
Info: 864-235-7922, http://horizonrecords.net/

For The Morning Out Now!

 
 

Today is a huge day for us. For the Morning has officially been released into the world, and it's also our first vinyl release! It has been a long road, but we are all incredibly grateful to get to this day. Below are links to all major digital retailers, and our official webstore where you can get Vinyl and CD copies of the album. Of course you can always go out to your local record store and grab one there as well.

Webstore | Spotify | Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

Thank you all for your continued support on this endeavor. It means the the world to us. Hope you enjoy the record, and we look forward to seeing you out on the road real soon!

 
 

Sounds: Tyler Ramsey // A Dream of Home

via Left Bank Magazine

There’s something about spring that changes me. Sure, it makes me want to open up all the windows, air out the house, scrub the baseboards, and give away clothes, but beneath the flurry of activity, there’s a grounding within me, like my feet are planted a little more firmly on the earth. I want to slow my pace, turn off my phone, watch the sun rise and set, and take a long, deep breath.

Asheville, North Carolina’s Tyler Ramsey‘s “A Dream of Home” wraps all of those thoughts and feelings up in one song. The former Band of Horse’s guitarist and co-songwriter’s latest track is warm and root-bound, a solid oak tree in a tempest of quick and dirty tracks that come and go like a cloud in the sky. It’s textured, a little worn, soft to the touch and easy on the ears. I’ve got it on repeat, and not just to write this review; it’s exactly what my soul has needed.

(I also immediately pre-ordered the upcoming album, For The Morning.)

Settle down, take a deep breath, and stream “A Dream of Home” here:

 
 

Live on DittyTV Wednesday, April 3

 
 

On their last run on the way to SXSW, Tyler Ramsey and his band stopped by Ditty TV to record a handful of songs live in studio. Check out “A Dream of Home” above and tune in for the entire performance Wednesday, April 3 at 8p CT at DittyTV.com.

The new record, For the Morning, is out this Friday, April 5. You can pre-order the record HERE.

Listen: Tyler Ramsey, "Evening Country"

 
tyler-ramsey-winter-2019-124-e1553738524521.jpg
 

via The Bluegrass Situation

In Their Words: “A couple of years ago my band and I started messing around with some of my older and more pared-down songs and trying to bring them into a band setting. ‘Evening Kitchen’ was a song that I had written for the Band of Horses record Infinite Arms and when we did that record it stood out because it was in contrast with the rest of the album and really bare bones. A lot of that album was lushly produced and I thought having the song recorded with a single acoustic guitar and vocals would help balance things. It worked well in the sequence of that album and led to a lot of the more intimate moments in our live shows and the direction we headed in for the live Ryman acoustic album.

“This version, called ‘Evening Country,’ was a way to reimagine the song and a chance to put it into a new frame with some truly amazing musicians. It was recorded in Louisville, Kentucky, with Seth Kauffman (Floating Action), Kevin Ratterman (Lalaland Studio, My Morning Jacket, Ray Lamontagne), and I doing the basic tracking. Seth had worked with pedal steel guitarist Russ Pahl before and we were able to get him to play on it (I still jump up and down when I hear his playing!). And the goosebump-inducing harmony vocals were sung by Molly Parden and Thad Cockrell and recorded at the Fleetwood Shack in Nashville by my old friend Bill Reynolds (former Band of Horses bassist). The opportunity to revisit this song in the way that we did has given it a new energy for me as well as new meaning.

“A wild memory of this song: years ago we were playing at Bonnaroo after Infinite Arms had been released. We finished our set and climbed down off the stage and our manager came up and told us to go back up and play a couple more songs because Bruce Springsteen had come onto our side stage to watch us play just as we were walking off. We ran back up and ended up playing ‘Evening Kitchen’ last, and all I could think about the whole time was that there was Bruce Springsteen standing fifteen feet away from me and watching us play this song I’d written — don’t f*ck it up! We made it through and headed back down off the stage and there he was with that Bruce Springsteen smile and handshakes all around. Our monitor man Jon Cronin told me afterwards that he heard Bruce say ‘That’s a good song!’ That’s enough for me!” — Tyler Ramsey

Tyler Ramsey reworks old Band Of Horses single with pedal steel guitar on “Evening Country”

 
 

via The Line of Best Fit

Tyler Ramsey, formerly of Band Of Horses, has reworked the band's "Evening Kitchen" single with some pedal steel guitar, renaming it "Evening Country".

"Evening Kitchen", originally written by Ramsey, appeared on Band Of Horses' Infinite Arms album in 2010 as an intimate piano piece.

Having left the band, the former guitarist has since reworked the track, injecting some pedal steel guitar, and renaming it "Evening Country".

"Evening Country" is the third single to be shared from Ramsey's first solo album n eight years, For The Morning, after earlier singles "A Dream Of Home" and "Firewood".

On his follow up to 2011's The Valley Wind, Ramsey says, "This album came about in the midst of a lot of change. The birth of my daughter, a move to the country, and the steady realization that I needed to switch the road I was on in my life as a musician and songwriter. I tried to express and balance images of life as a constantly traveling and touring musician with the more connected life I live at home and the time I spend hiking in the mountains where I live."

"Evening Country" is out now. For The Morning drops 5 April via Fantasy / Virgin EMI. Tyler Ramsey will play London's St. Pancras Old Church on 20 May.

Tyler Ramsey's 'White Coat' Tingles With Beauty

 
 

via Clash Music

Tyler Ramsey was one of the driving forces behind Band Of Horses, before he decided to take a step back.

Now based in Asheville, North Carolina, he looks out on to one of North America's most pristine landscapes, a lush, beautiful, effervescent canvas of green and yellow.

Pure natural beauty, Tyler Ramsey translates this into music, channelling this sense of location, this reaching into the past, on his new solo album.

'For The Morning' will be released on April 6th, with Tyler touching down on UK soil for show at London's St Pancras Church on May 20th.

"This album came about in the midst of a lot of change,” explains Ramsey. “The birth of my daughter, a move to the country, and the steady realisation that I needed to switch the road I was on in my life as a musician and songwriter."

"I tried to express and balance images of life as a constantly traveling and touring musician with the more connected life I live at home and the time I spend hiking in the mountains where I live."

We're able to share gorgeous, palatial new cut 'White Coat', and it tingles with a raw, unfettered beauty.

Neatly pieced together, it's a folk-hewn piece of Americana with a pastoral gaze, a gentle, heavenly ditty.

On “White Coat,” Tyler Ramsey Strums His Guitar in the Woods

The former Band of Horses guitarist is releasing his new solo album, For the Morning, in April.

via Flood Magazine

Tyler Ramsey, the former Band of Horses co-songwriter and lead guitarist, announced the release of his first major offering since leaving BoH, For the Morning. The new album was written and produced by Ramsey, inspired by his time spent in the mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina where he lives, amongst a verdant pastoral landscape; sonically, it intertwines country, rock, and folk. Guest musicians who make appearances on the album include Joan Shelley, Thad Cockrell, and Molly Parden to sing harmonies, plus pedal steel player Russ Paul, Nathan Salsburg, and Gareth Liddiard from Tropical Fuck Storm on guitar.

“White Coat” is rife with pretty guitarpicking, the steady thump of a drum like a heartbeat, and Ramsey’s languorous vocals. You can practically see him strolling through the woods with his dog or sitting with his wife on the porch watching the sunset (“You went out across the river to lay down in the sunlight where it filters through the pines”).

“It’s a kind of love song that pulls a lot of visual images from the places I spend my time hiking in Western North Carolina,” Ramsey said of the track. “It’s also a nod to some of the music on my album A Long Dream About Swimming Across the Sea. I had some amazing help with the violin ideas by Scott Moore from Louisville, KY. The middle section was a banjo song I wrote for my daughter that I snuck into the song. I love writing songs that have long compositions and instrumental sections, and ‘White Coat’ developed into one of those songs.”

Listen to the track below.

 
 

Ramsey’s 2019 tour began last month in Kentucky and continued this month at SXSW. See the list below for upcoming dates, and pre-order the album here. For the Morning will be released on April 5 via Fantasy Records.

Tyler Ramsey On Tour:

3.21 @ Hendershots Coffee in Athens, GA
3.22 @ New Brookland Tavern in Columbia, SC
3.23 @ WOOFstock in Charleston, SC
4.10 @ FM Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA
4.11 @ U Street Music Hall in Washington, DC
4.12 @ Motorco Music Hall in Durham, NC
4.13 @ The Earl in Atlanta, GA^
4.14 @ Saturn in Birmingham, AL
4.18 @ The Basement in Nashville, TN
4.20 @ Lo Fi Lounge in Indianapolis, IN
4.24 @ Club Café in Pittsburgh, PA
4.26 @ Iron Horse in Northampton, MA
4.27 @ Higher Ground Showcase Room in Burlington, VT
4.28 @ The Word Barn in Exeter, NH
4.29 @ Great Scott in Boston, MA
5.1 @ Mercury Lounge in New York, NY
5.2 @ World Café Live in Philadelphia, PA
5.3 @ The Southern in Charlottesville, VA
5.4 @ The Evening Muse in Charlotte, NC
5.11 @ Masonic Temple in Asheville, NC
5.20 @ St. Pancras Old Church in London, UK
5.22 @ 1999 in Paris, FR
5.23 @ AB Salon in Brussels, BE
5.25 @ Q Factory in Amsterdam, NL
5.26 @ Silent Green in Berlin, DE
6.13-16 @ Mountain Jam in Bethel, NY

Former Band of Horses Guitarist Tyler Ramsey Returns With 'Firewood': Exclusive Premiere

 
 

via Billboard

Tyler Ramsey prefers to stay mum about the "little bit of a dark time" that preceded For the Morning, the singer and guitarist's first album since leaving Band of Horses in 2017 after a 10-year run. But a track like "Firewood," premiering exclusively below, reflects on coming out of that time.

"It's about trying to remember that there is light and better things coming up," Ramsey, whose wife gave birth to a daughter while the family moved to North Carolina leading up to the album, tells Billboard. "A lot of dynamics were going on in my life at the time with some people I was having to keep coming with. I'm trying to dance around the subject a little bit ... 'cause, really, I'd love to let people decide for themselves what it means to them."

That said, "Firewood" -- with its ringing acoustic guitars, spare arrangement and elegiac melody -- also shows off the spirit of musical adventure Ramsey wanted to apply to For the Morning. "It's a song I worked on for a while," he explains. "It's a story and a cohesive piece, but it's got a lot of levels to it for sure. I always appreciated Paul McCartney or people like that -- their songs came out of nowhere with a new part or new idea. I tried to apply that to [‘Firewood']; it kind of builds steadily and then has this big ending that takes you in a different direction, which is fun to do in a song."

Ramsey started writing the songs on For the Morning -- due April 5 on Fantasy Records -- while he was still in Band of Horses, compiling "fairly thorough demos at home" before taking them into La La Land studios in Louisville. He populated the session with both friends and musicians he hadn't met before, including Russ Paul on pedal steel and Paul Nathan Salsburg and Gareth Liddiars (The Drones) on guitar, while Joan Shelley, Thad Cockrell and Molly Parden provided backing vocals.

"One of the goals was to have people come in and play on it a little more than I'd done in the past," Ramsey explains. "I really wanted some harmony vocals from other people, so I had a great cast of characters come in and sing harmonies and some great instrumentals come in and play. It really elevated the songs, at least for me; when I listen to them, I get super excited about the parts they did. It turned out really cool and was definitely what I hoped to accomplish."

Ramsey is in the midst of a U.S. tour that started back in February and will include performances at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. He then heads to Europe for dates starting May 20 and has signed on to play at Mountain Jam on June 15 in Bethel, N.Y. And while his departure from Band of Horses is "another touchy subject," Ramsey is clearly happy to be the master of his own destiny now.

"This was just something I had to do," he says. "I was in that band for a decade, which is a long time. I wanted to move in a direction where I felt a little more like I was doing something that felt creative. Even boiling down to scheduling with people when you're in a band with five people is hard. It's hard to say no to anything at that point because you don't ever want to take work away from your friends. But after my daughter was born, I wanted to be more selective with my time. So that and wanting to feel more creative made me go in this direction where I'm at now."

Watch the video below.