At Work: Tyler Ramsey

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Man of the Woods

Tyler Ramsey may create the type of gorgeously rustic folk most appreciated by adults wearing flannel and sipping bourbon, but much of the inspiration for his latest opus, For the Morning, came from a decidedly more kid-friendly source—the 1984 children’s book Grandfather Twilight.

“My wife and I read that book to our daughter; Grandfather Twilight lives out in the woods and, every night, he walks to the shore and releases a pearl into the sky that becomes the moon. I wanted to recreate that image, so we headed out to the Blue Ridge Parkway,” says Ramsey from the front porch of his home on a 14-acre patch of woods outside Asheville, N.C.

Sure enough, the cover of For the Morning splices a shot of Ramsey and his dog at dusk with the twinkling night sky. It’s an apt representation of the LP’s 10 songs: one foot dug into the earth, one floating among the stars. The album is Ramsey’s first since he and longtime bassist Bill Reynolds left Band of Horses—the indie-folk project he worked with for a decade—in 2017 and it finds the singer/guitarist meditating on life’s big questions through slowly rocking, glimmering folk tunes. He doesn’t waste a moment.

Ramsey opens the record asking: “Have you lived your whole life regretting some decision that you made at a time when a choice was needing to be made?” Later, he sings, “Watch what you leave behind/ Look out for your wandering mind,” with a melody that swirls like campfire smoke.

As a songwriter, Ramsey’s always been vastly impacted by his surroundings—and the plot of earth he calls his own sinks deep into For the Morning. Robins chirp above him as he speaks; he glances at a stack of hay bales that just served as the entertainment for his daughter’s birthday party; he describes how “the blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are going pretty crazy right now.”

His first album since 2011’s The Valley Wind, For the Morning presents the songwriter’s most fleshed-out tunes and lushest arrangements, laid out with brambles of finger-picked acoustic guitar, winding pedal steel, wide-open electric riffs, softly hovering piano and airborne harmonies. It’s a peaceful album, handcrafted for contemplation and looking out over the treasures of the world. But don’t let the title mislead you.

“People might be confused because it’s called For the Morning,” laughs Ramsey. “But you can listen to it any time of day.”


For The Morning Relix Review


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“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.

Carl Broemel & Tyler Ramsey in Illinois (A Gallery)


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My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel and former Band of Horses lead guitarist Tyler Ramsay recently teamed up for a short duo tour throughout the Midwest. Stephen Bloch shared some photos from the guitarists’ stop at Evanston, IL’s S.P.A.C.E. on Friday night. View the full gallery at