As Tyler Ramsey played his Mercury Lounge set, I kept on thinking of the meek; playing tunes that felt like mild-mannered folk songs. Yet, as I write this, I know someone out there will think I am insulting him. On the contrary, I love and respect a gentle soul, and often wonder when being kind became associated with either weakness or numbness. For Ramsey, a good man does not deny all that is wrong; he just can’t let it stop him to what is right.
Despite being a tall guy with burly beard, Ramsey emanates the tender-hearted. He loves his band, his crowd, and bridging the two through a warm, easy-going ambiance. He will make his quick quips between songs, but the truth is his music is a mental takeover. Playing a few new songs from his newest record, For The Morning, his music played like the scenes from a black and white film on the man of 2019. For Ramsey, people are not only struggling according to love, though most music follows such a notion, they feel unfulfilled in every element in their life: financial, career, self-image, familial, etc.
When you are a kid, your goal is to make dreams come true, when you are wise, your goal is to redefine dreaming. Ramsey’s music feels like maturity because he sings to the many times, as adults, we try to do right by ourselves and the ones we love after another dream does not come true or a plan fails to fruit. Thus, the winding chords of his melodies and his beautifully tragic suites make you happily somber. They make you rest into the fact that feeling calm through life’s instability might be the very definition of inner peace.
Vocally, Ramsey feels like Twain and Willie Nelson turned their voices into soil and, from it, his was grown. He sprouts his notes as if they have been sullied by the dirt and rocks of a life that has been crushed and arisen again like, chunks of ice floating up in a cup of whiskey. Such imagery invokes the emotions and quiet loveliness of Ramsey’s voice, and his ability to show good people suffer like bad people; the difference is that they try to do better.