LTG 005 // William Tyler // Blue Ash Montgomery
William Tyler is a primitive futurist guitar poet from Nashville TN. Member of legend band Lambchop and frequent collaborator with Silver Jews, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and other Lightning Artist Wooden Wand. In the past few years William has risen to mytho-cultural status among the heralded lineage of 6 string American story tellers. Born and raised in Tennesee by songwriting parents, William also co-owns a bar in Nashville with his sister Elise called the Stone Fox. We mean to tell you that he is a renaissance man, and all the more to blow your mind when you hear him play guitar that he has time to do anything else in life besides practice.
Though 60 minutes in length, Blue Ash Montgomery is more a collection of various works than a traditional full length album. Side A is beautifully played guitar master odes, a sort of American counter part to other Lightning recording artist Shinji Masuko of DMBQ/Boredoms Moan project. Equal parts textural, fierce, and performative, they elaborate on the long-form, through-composed guitar tradition, more of an epic poetic form suited to bards and shamans. Side B is the entire performance of an improvised set from 2012 by William with legendary underground percussionist Tim Barnes at the Nashville Presbyterian Church. Barnes has performed and recorded with Jim O’Rourke, Tower Recordings, Pullman, and Silver Jews to name a few. His percussion work is a perfect complement to William’s textural side, and together you get to hear them pull apart the 20th century narrative and re-enact it in a 30 minute present day suite.
Quotes from William’s LPs Behold the Spirit and Impossible Truth:
……You either fully embrace Fahey— like, say, the late Jack Rose— or you run the other way, like Ben Chasny with his work as Six Organs of Admittance. A middle ground exists, certainly, but it’s rarely been claimed with the grace and elocution of Behold the Spirit, the debut from young Nashville guitarist William Tyler. Arguably the most vital, energized album by an American solo guitarist in a decade or more, it accepts Fahey’s legacy while escaping its shadow. Moreover, it’s simply a joy to hear. - Grayson Currin / Pitchfork
The Nashville-based William Tyler is obviously an amazing guitar player, but it takes some accumulated hours with his music before you begin to notice and savor his deeper qualities. Making an album of wordless solo guitar compositions that remains interesting for its duration is hard, demanding a range of subtle skills far beyond nimble fingers— a fine, exacting ear for color, an intuitive sense of momentum, a mind for musical structures. These are fragile musical gifts, difficult to cultivate and even harder to point out, and they become even more fragile when the focus bears down on a single instrument: You are painfully exposed, both as a player and as a musical mind….. But as he moves closer to Fahey’s spirit, Tyler sounds more and more like himself. Every melody he plays…somehow feels as it if was always there, a rare musical quality…..Once you’ve reached this rarefied air as a player, whatever your musical mind touches will come out transformed - Jayson Greene / Pitchfork