Ryley Walker – Golden Sings That Have Been Sung (album review)

by Woody on August 12, 2016


Lately, Ryley Walker has had some less than flattering comments on his prior album – Primrose Green. Respectfully, I have to disagree. I loved that album when it came out and it has really held up well for me over repeated listens and seeing him a few times. So that being said, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung is outrageously good and a big step forward for Walker.

If you follow Walker on Twitter you don’t, you should), he comes across as someone with a quick wit and impulsive in letting his insightful thoughts enter the cyberworld. That belies his music. The tunes on Golden Sings are never in a rush to get where they’re going, Walker is content on letting his thoughts meander as the vocals come out as he sees fit, avoiding any preconceived notion of standard song structure.

Most of the tunes stretch out over 5 minutes but it is the shortest and most direct tune, I Will Ask You Twice, that really sunk its claws into me first. The lyrics on the first verse (and for the rest of the album for that matter) are brilliant – Played footsie with Jesus / but man what do we touch / I don’t read the bible baby / I think it says don’t ask much / with good posture for Pete / a celebration would be nice / and would you marry me baby / I will ask you twice.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the closing track of the album, Age Old Tale. It is a kaleidoscope of sounds and textures that ambles about as Walker occasionally drops some knowledge. You’ll need to find a better writer than me to do it full justice, but rest assured it is worth carving out 10 minutes to let this track wash over you.

Oft-labeled as Cosmic Americana, Walker has firmly placed himself as one of the premier voices in American music. This is one of the most ambitious albums that 2016 has seen.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Ryley Walker is here

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