Ryley Walker : Primrose Green, released March 2015

Ryley Walker, a guitarist and singer/songwriter from Chicago follows up his 2014 debut album ‘All Kinds Of You’ with a new collection of jazz/folk/rock songs, built on his percussive acoustic guitar picking and subtle accompanying instrumentation.

Some commentators have compared him with Nick Drake, I think that is because of a desire to find such a person rather than the reality. His free-form pieces have more in common with some of the more experimental work of John Martyn, but he is taking any influences in a new direction, adding a rockier edge too. This is most evident in the epic ‘Sweet Satisfaction’; it starts off like a track from Martyn’s classic album ‘Solid Air’ then the emotional lyric and acoustic vibe tangles up with a distorted electric guitar and drums building to an exhausting, relentless finale. Brilliant.

This is followed by the gentle string sounds of ‘The High Road’. A roving double bass introduces the instrumental passage of ‘Same Minds’ before the vocal soars and glides above it all. ‘Griffiths Bucks Blues’ is a zesty instrumental, ‘On The Banks of the Old Kishwaukee’ is a bluesy slice of Americana. In contrast, ‘Hide In The Roses’ could almost be from the soundtrack to sinister British horror-flick ‘The Wicker Man’. The opening track ‘Primrose Green’ has many of the good ingredients of the rest of the songs with a more mellow vocal performance.

So it is moving in a different direction from his first album, more loose and moody. I look forward to seeing him in concert..



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