It's uniquely English but made by an American. It's an artful folk record constructed by someone steeped in noise, in free jazz and punk. Ryley Walker's new album 'Primrose Green' may be an immediate, emotionally engrossing experience, but it's depths are only revealed over subsequent, repeated listens.
It's a curious affair. “My songwriting process is probably the worst process a songwriter can have,” he tells Clash. “If you pay the rent by writing songs I would never recommend writing songs the way I do. I just kind of have sketches, y'know. I'll have an idea or a riff. It's often really spontaneous. My background comes from improvisation, it's what I like to do a lot."
“My way of doing business is just get onstage and hope for the best," he continues. "Not a lot of things are planned out. It totally gives me anxiety but it's the way I work and I wouldn't have it any other way.”
It's this devil-may-care attitude which makes Ryley Walker so infectious. Tapping into the inquisitive, probing atmosphere of the late 60s folk scene – think John Martyn, Pentangle or Anne Briggs, even – he adds something uniquely modern.
“I don't think of myself as some nostalgic artist,” he states. “It's definitely not about looking back. I'm trying to make it my own, but I can't do that without a deep admiration for that music.”
Clash is able to premiere a new performance clip, featuring Ryley Walker easing his way through the title track of his new record. 'Primrose Green' has a delightfully English, pastoral feel, but there's a directness to the approach which stands apart.
Caught entirely solo, you can hear each pull-off, detect each strum, each finger roll as the Chicago-based artist breezes through the words, tumbling into fresh meanings.
Watch it now.
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'Primrose Green' will be released on March 30th.