tyler ramsey

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.

Morning songs: Ramsey looks at latest release through light of daybreak

 
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via Denton Record Chronicle

When it comes to writing music, Tyler Ramsey doesn’t have a process.

The former guitarist and co-writer from Band of Horses said he just settles into a room with his instruments and lets the muse sort of rise up to meet him.

“I think really writing comes in waves for me,” Ramsey said, reflecting on his latest solo release, For the Morning, which was released in April. “It feels like when that wave starts to build, I’ll start to write an album. I don’t even really have a process when I write — I can start with anything, humming the melody on the piano or with a lyric. It comes together naturally that way.”

Ramsey is touring with My Morning Jacket guitarist and pedal steel player Carl Broemel. The duo stops in Denton for a show at Andy’s Bar on July 24. Ramsey said the tour — the pair is calling it the “West Coast Duo Quest” — takes them to smaller venues, where Broemel interprets Ramsey’s work and vice versa.

“Band of Horses did some opening shows with My Morning Jacket on an earlier tour,” Ramsey said. “Those guys were really lovely people to hang out with. Carl came through Black Mountain last year and I went out to see him and we met briefly after the show. We had a quick conversation and we decided to book these shows together.”

To shake things up a little, Broemel and Ramsey agreed they would play one another’s music.

“Instead of one person plays their set and then other plays theirs, we decided to try singing each other’s songs. I sing harmonies for him and then he backs me up. It’s a pretty stripped down show, with the Wurlitzer electric [piano] and some other instruments,” Ramsey said. “We did it in February and it was a lot of fun. We’re just going to see what happens.”

Ramsey said the chemistry produced good music.

“When you have someone who you just sit down with, and you’re like, ‘Hey, that was pretty cool, we gotta do that again,’ you find a way to do that,” Ramsey said. “Our voices sound really good together, and our hearts are in a similar place. It just seemed like a good thing to do to tour together. Getting to know each other, I feel like we’ve been able to pour a lot into it. We’re playing the songs we’ve written, but there’s room for improvisation and there’s room for experimentation. I didn’t want Carl to come with the exact same guitar or piano parts that are on the record.”

Broemel will cover some of Ramsey’s tracks from For the Morning. The record is a quiet, reflective album that considers struggle, resignation and transforming suffering into life’s raw material. Ramsey’s surely been compared to Neil Young. The comparison is fair, but his tenor is steadier and smoother. Some of the tracks suggest some brooding or darkness on Ramsey’s part: “Breaking a Heart,” “Bottom of the Sea,” “White Coat” and “Darkest Clouds.”

“It wasn’t deliberate,” Ramsey said. “But it’s like what I was just saying earlier. There is a light-dark thing in these songs. There is trouble and then there are these hopes. That’s one of the things I’ve gotten after a while with this record. There’s a lot about making it through trouble and coming through the other side.”

Ramsey dreams up his music in a house just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. He has a healthy respect for cities and urban spots where creative types come together, but he said he needs some solitude to write a new record. Dirt, sunlight and some green things get his thoughts and ideas cycling.

“For me, walking in the woods can be a way to get away from distractions,” he said. “And basically it’s a way to get away from people, really. The mountains, for me, are a way to get away from the distractions, really. I think when you’re writing something or working on a project, you have to remove yourself not just from the distractions, but from the potential to get distracted.”

Ramsey tells the record’s stories on guitar, pedal steel and piano, mostly. “Firewood” is probably the record’s darkest moment. Ramsey’s narrator wonders about the near future of two people — which one will fall apart or if both will sink together. The drums and electric guitar bring up the sun, though, and a renewed promise to see it through.

“Evening Country” is a midtempo number showing off nostalgic harmonies. In this track lives a broken relationship that seems headed for its end. A gentle chorus of oohs camouflages the narrator’s frustration and regret. “Breaking a Heart” keeps up the midtempo beat and the gnawing desperation to finally put an end to misery, but there’s also a dogged readiness to save a bruised, broken relationship.

“Getting a little distance and having the songs completed, it can make you see things you didn’t before. That happens when you sing a song or when you get up and read a poem you know so well,” Ramsey said. “You get up and share something, and you automatically hear yourself in a different way. The audience is going to hear it and you end up processing it differently. As I perform these songs, I come back to the theme of light and dark. And I’m getting more of a fix on my emotional state when I wrote them.

“You get to look inside your own ideas. You get to repeat those words a lot. Put that emotion into it and you try to do that every night. For me, there’s a lot of analyzing what’s driving the songs.”

The pair’s show at Andy’s came up when Ramsey was looking for a venue. Band of Horses has played with the Denton band Midlake. Midlake guitarist and lead vocalist Eric Pulido is part-owner of Andy’s Bar.

“I’d been wanting to play Eric’s room, and I’ve heard good things about it. I think this is the right show and the right time to play that room,” Ramsey said.

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."

Quick Spin: Musician Tyler Ramsey

 
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via Daily Blender

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Tyler Ramsey is best known for his work with indie rock group, Band of Horses, but his career spans a steady stream of solo albums in addition to his supporting work. Leaving the band after a decade of records and touring, he brought his focus back to family and personal form, releasing his fourth solo collection earlier this year. With harmonies that float through a room like sun rays in late afternoon, early reviews have likened “For The Morning” to the ethereal works of the late Nick Drake.

The album, Ramsey says in a recent press announcement, “…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.”

There are melancholic strums throughout the album, from the lead track, “Your Whole Life” to “Breaking A Heart.” As Ramsey notes, the record tells a story, with “A Dream of Home” and “Cheap Summer Dress” evoking the feelings of relationship strain while the twangy notes of “Evening Country” reflect the influence of Southern guitar greats. The 10-song-set wraps up with its title track, closing out the collection with a sweet woefulness that makes Ramsey’s music such a bewitching experience.

You can catch Tyler Ramsey currently sharing the stage with fellow guitarist Carl Broemel (of My Morning Jacket) on a small venue tour dubbed the West Coast Duo Quest. The two will perform in Portland and Seattle this weekend, at Polaris Hall and Columbia City Theater respectively, before heading to the Southwest.

Q: What brought you to music?

A: When I first started playing, it was piano – I was around nine years old and was lucky enough to have a teacher that encouraged improvisation and also recognized that I had a decent ear. I think that kept me interested and made me want to learn more.

Q: Who were your inspirations growing up?

A: My favorite guitarists, and the ones who made me want to play, were Leo Kottke and Michael Hedges. I found them early on and loved the fact that the guitar could stand on its own as a solo instrument, as a vehicle for such interesting composition.

Q: How does this new album, your fourth, reflect your evolution since your last solo album release in 2011?

A: I think this album is another step in the direction that I’ve been headed for a while. I feel like the songs capture the story of my life at the time, and my abilities in the studio get stronger each time I’m able to be there.

Q: Are there any songs on the latest release that are particularly poignant for you?

A: I can remember the moments when I was writing the title track, “For The Morning,” with my newborn daughter in her baby carrier on my chest as I played the piano. Playing that song can take me there to that time.

Q: Would you consider playing with another ensemble in the future?

A: I do now! I have a band that I have been touring with for this album – pedal steel, guitar, bass and drums, and some really beautiful harmony vocals.

Q: What are your words of advice for up-and-coming musicians?

A: I’ve always felt that the ultimate goal of music is the personal joy that I get out of it. I feel like if you love playing and it is a creative path for you, then keep doing it and maybe it will take you places.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Lots of touring coming up for the rest of the year. I’m headed back to Europe in the fall with my band and then hopefully a little downtime with some writing and recharging.

Tyler Ramsey and Carl Broemel Take Their Guitars to Simpler Places on Their Shared Tour

 
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via Dallas Observer

Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket have been two of the past decade’s most influential rock bands. With innovative sonic approaches, deft songwriting, and gentle sprinklings of folk and country, the groups also served as somewhat kindred spirits, both sharing occasional stages and a bevy of like-minded fans.

It was along this route of symmetry that Tyler Ramsey, former guitarist for Band of Horses, and Carl Broemel, My Morning Jacket’s lead guitarist, came together in musical lockstep. Ramsey stepped away from his day job in 2017 and moved to the North Carolina mountains to devote himself to a solo career. So far, it’s proved to be a successful move, as his recent album For The Morning has earned rave reviews and provided him the opportunity to tour worldwide. And though My Morning Jacket hasn’t gone anywhere, the group’s reduced touring schedule has afforded its various members the chance to focus on individual projects.

In the last three years alone, Broemel has released two full-length albums, an eclectic EP of covers, and has been folk-rocker Ray LaMontagne’s lead guitarist. For the remainder of the summer, though, the pair have committed to an extended slew of North American tour dates under the working moniker of West Coast Duo Quest, a name derived for introduction on their initial touring run earlier this year.

“I owed Tyler a ton of money, so I had to work it off by touring and driving him around so he could play shows,” jokes Broemel while recalling the pair's initial meeting. “No, in all seriousness, we met when (our bands) toured together. We have some mutual friends, and I knew and loved Tyler’s solo records so it was always in the back of my mind that I would play with him someday.”

During another chance encounter in 2018 when Broemel’s band played a show near Ramsey’s home, collaborative plans became more solidified.

“We were both pleasantly surprised at how easily things came together and clicked,” Ramsey says. “We started playing some shows and received a lot of positive feedback from people, which was awesome.” As both gentlemen spoke with the Observer from their respective homes, it became easy to see how Ramsey and Broemel decided to collaborate. In addition to finishing each other’s sentences, gently ribbing the other (“Carl won’t come to my house despite my repeated invitations,” Ramsey chided at one point), and their shared appreciation of musical genres, the two continue to learn from and motivate each other.

“I’ve played guitar for a long time and I still don’t know how Tyler does so much of what he does,” Broemel offers forth with admiration. Ramsey is quick to throw praise back: “I think so much of what Carl does is mesmerizing and I’m constantly trying to learn new tricks from him.”

Their kinship and musical prowess are certainly not downplayed in their live performances. Though it’s just the two of them onstage, those attending are treated to a bevy of soundscapes with various pedal boards, pedal steel, keyboards and even a Wurlitzer accompanying the soaring harmonies and guitar interactions. The shared experiences of touring heavily in big rock outfits have also afforded both artists the leisure to slow down and appreciate the quieter moments. They both reference the flexibility in being able to choose where their dining options, hotel locations and roadside pit stops as luxuries typically not available to their other musical endeavors.

“I love rocking out so much, and our shows do get loud, but when you’re playing smaller clubs sometimes the songs get lost if there’s a huge band onstage chugging away,” Broemel says. “So it’s been great to be quiet, talk about and play songs, and not have a huge snare drum blaring away.”

Fewer people onstage, however, means fewer traveling companions. Instead of a luxury bus, Ramsey and Broemel are driving around in a van without a large swath of others to chat up. This also hasn’t seemed to dampen either of the two’s spirits.

“I’m kind of an introvert in that I can be around one or two people consistently and be great with things,” Broemel says. Ramsey agrees: “We’re both pretty introverted people. We decided that we could come up with a podcast for this tour where we drive around in our van, play each other music and just appreciate the silence.”

Should they actually go through with their podcasting idea, though, there are lots of deeper issues both Ramsey and Broemel would be able discuss at length. In addition to their shared profession, they are both fathers who constantly adapt to the rigors of recording and touring and the gaps that their jobs can cause in shared family time.

“When you’re home, you’re 100 percent home,” Ramsey says candidly. “I just got to go see my daughter in a dance show today and we may go camping in the yard later, so it balances out in a cool way where maybe you’re gone for two weeks, but afterwards you’re there and can make up for lost time.”

“The good news is that when I am home, I don’t have a 9 to 5 job so I can be 100 percent involved in what my son’s doing,” adds Broemel. “In the future who knows if I’ll have to get a job outside music, but for now things can be balanced.”

For the near future, this tour serves as the duo’s main focus. However, you can’t keep busy folks down. Ramsey has some solo opening dates lined up and will take his band overseas later this year for a string of European dates. Broemel will reconvene with My Morning Jacket for a pair of August shows at Red Rocks Amphitheater before again linking up with LaMontagne for a string of fall U.S. tour dates. Then, of course, there’s the possibility of a recorded album sprouting from the tour.

“Hopefully I can talk Carl into making a record at some point. I think we should,” Ramsey declares. “If we can come away from this tour still as friends, then we can jump on things.”

Tyler Ramsey and Carl Broemel will play at 8 p.m. Monday, July 22 at The Kessler Theater and at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 24 at Andy’s in Denton.

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Tyler Ramsey, "A Dream Of Home"

Burned out by a decade of touring with Band of Horses, guitarist Tyler Ramsey left the group to create a more stable life. He, his wife, and newborn daughter, retreated to an isolated mountain farm where Ramsey began creating songs that reflect his connection to nature and family. "A Dream of Home" captures the repetitive, exhaustive pattern of life and work on the road, and the loneliness of missing seasons away from loved ones. Ramsey's songs reflect a sense of place and, as a new dad, a renewed sense of purpose.

Spacious arrangements elicit the feel of starry nights, golden fields, and woody trails. Shimmering guitars and drum beats feel like an invigorated pulse, and the sprawling six-minute length suggests a more tempered pace to life. --Rosemary Welsch, WYEP

View the full list at NPR.org

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.

Tyler Ramsey in WFUV Studio A

 
 

via WFUV

Tyler Ramsey draws inspiration from nature. He lives among mountains and rivers, his creativity flourishing among the trees and fields. It’s a natural and pure existence that lends itself to his musical vision. The Ramsey home is in North Carolina and the new Tyler Ramsey album, For The Morning, was born from times spend hiking in the forests, walking in the fields, and swimming in the streams.

For The Morning is the fourth solo album from Ramsey and his first in more than seven years. It’s also the first solo album he’s released following his time in Band of Horses, where he spent roughly a decade as guitarist and backing vocalist. Although this album comes in the wake of his 2017 departure from the band, its first seeds were planted while he was still very much active as part of the band. For The Morning reflects the difficulties Ramsey faced as a touring musician, and as a new father forced with being away from his home. It’s a human response that matches the surroundings from which the album emerged.

It was great to welcome Ramsey back to the Studio A with this terrific new album in hand. He’s visited with us in the past (including a session with Band of Horses), and this time he brought his own band to perform songs from his wonderfully organic album, For The Morning.

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

Tyler Ramsey: In Studio Performance and Interview (WTMD)

 
 

Tyler Ramsey has a new record, For The Morning, out now on Fantasy Records. The former member of Band of Horses stopped by the WTMD studios and talks with Alex Cortright about his new album, his days in Band of Horses, and his upcoming First Thursday Festival performance. He also plays a couple of acoustic versions of his songs, and one surprising cover. Listen below and plan to see Tyler and his band on Thursday, June 6th in Canton Waterfront Park.

West Coast Duo Quest with Carl Broemel

 
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Very excited to share the news that Tyler will be heading back out on the road with Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket) for the West Coast Duo Quest - a new leg of the collaborative shows the pair put together earlier this Spring! Tickets for the shows are on sale now, and be on the lookout for more dates to be added real soon.

Hope to see you out there!

July 7 @ Knuckleheads in Kansas City, MO | Tickets*
July 9 @ Larimer Lounge in Denver, CO | Tickets*
July 11 @ Live from the Divide in Bozeman, MT | SOLD OUT*
July 12 @ The Bartlett in Spokane, WA | Tickets*
July 13 @ Polaris Music Hall in Portland, OR | Tickets*
July 14 @ Columbia City Theatre in Seattle, WA | Tickets*
July 16 @ UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley, CA | Tickets*
July 18 @ Highland Park Ebell Club in Los Angeles, CA | Tickets*

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 Gives Folk For The Gentle Soul

 
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via Diandra Reviews It All

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.

CHICD: Tyler Ramsey and Matthew Fowler at Schubas – 4/22

 
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via Mid West Action

Tyler Ramsey and the audience at his show were all about the music. He talked and held their attention with ease as he started to play the first song solo. For the next song, Brian Landrum joined him, bringing some pedal steel for “Cheap Summer Dress.” Simple and moving, Ramsey sang so softly his mouth barely moved. This song is a great example of one of the things I love about this album: Ramsey’s masterful use of a quick minor interval to convey unease and evoke a haunting quality to his songs. The performance left me with a light floating, melancholy feeling.

The full band joined him for the next song, jumping in at full force on “The Valley Wind,” a reworked version that was a little faster and had real punch to it–especially with drummer, Kevin Rumley. He did a lovely gentle shuffle when called for, but he rocked out when given the opportunity. Watching him wail and sing along was really a joy. The harmonies brought by Landrum and bass player, David Macinnes, left me with chills, especially at the end of “Your Whole Life.” But, it was an echo from the album, the seamless transition between the instrumental “Darkest Clouds” and “Firewood,” that really made me weak. They followed it with a delicious psych-tinted jam session in the middle of “Worried.”

Ramsey brought different flavors to his music. It made the live performance interesting while staying true to the song, almost like a perfect cover of his own work.

See the Gallery at MidWestAxn.com

5 Questions With Tyler Ramsey

 
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via Do617

Sylvia sat down with Tyler Ramsey before his show tonight at Great Scott!

The songs on the new album For The Morning were written during a time in your life where there was much change. (near the end of lead guitarist/songwriter with Band of Horses, the birth of your daughter and a move to the country). How did this album (and its title) come about?

The song “for the morning “ was written on the piano with my infant daughter in her carrier on my chest. It somehow marked the beginning of the new group of songs that came for this album, and also for me it symbolized the massive shift that was happening in my life. To me, this album and the story around it began there at the piano so I decided to make that song title the title of the album as well.

What can fans expect on this tour? Will any of the songs you penned for BOH make the setlist?

I think fans can expect songs from all of my previous work, including the songs from those albums- the fun part has been reworking old material and reshaping into a live setting with the band I have been lucky enough to play with.

If we turned on your music player right now, what artists/songs would we see on your playlist?

I’ve been on tour a lot and listening to tons of different things- I will say the main things that have been on repeat lately are Strand of Oaks “eraserland”, Cass Mccombs “tip of the sphere”, Mountain Man “magic ship”, and the new Damien Jurado- those are just the new ish releases!

What is your favorite song to perform live?

That changes from day to day, but lately playing the instrumental “darkest clouds” into the song “firewood” from the new album has been great- it’s fun to see the audience react to that.

What else is coming up for you?

A lot of touring this year- my first solo Europe tour, some fun festival dates with my band, and hopefully more duo shows with Carl Broemel. I’ve also been recording some instrumental music at home- going to see what that can turn into when I have time to work on it some more.