13 for ’13: William Tyler – Cadillac Desert

Part 5 of a 13 song recap of my 2013 in no particular order

I’ll level with you – I’m no expert on this ‘American Primitive’, post-John Fahey folk stuff. I came to it by way of James Blackshaw a few years back and have only recently gone further down that rabbit hole to inspect it’s roots and look around to see who else is carrying the torch. Of the releases I checked out this year William Tyler’s Impossible Truth is probably the most widely celebrated – and deservedly so. He has a way of taking you down a sonic winding road better than most – the album’s concept is, I believe, some kind of apocalyptic road trip-cum-love story. I don’t know about any of that but it’s certainly strong enough an album for you to close your eyes and be taken wherever you want to go.

Tyler has a way of effortlessly moving between guitar hooks – whereas often the fingerpicking in this style is used more for texture than melody Tyler swings in the opposite direction. Cadillac Desert’s six and a half minutes features several beautiful moments that would have been highlights in any other song – the haunting slide guitar introduced around the 5 minute mark probably being the pick of the bunch, changing the mood of the piece from upbeat to sorrowful in a heartbeat. The versatility Tyler has at (and indeed in) his fingertips is incredible and he utilises it to expert effect throughout Impossible Truth, one of the best sonic trips you could take in 2013.

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