As the naturalist john muir wrote, “in every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” it is for this reason that musician tyler ramsey goes into the woods when he is writing, and why he and his wife have settled on a plot of land many miles outside of the nearest city of asheville, north carolina, to raise their young daughter.
For Ramsey, living deliberately and with a little space, removed from distractions and the allure of needless consumption, is how he feels most creative and at ease.
Ramsey grew up absorbing the country-blues guitar players who used to roam the mountainous region of his Carolina home, including Mance Lipscomb, Mississippi John Hurt and renowned pickers like John Fahey and Leo Kottke. Equally adept at playing guitar, keyboards, bass and percussion, he has distinguished himself as a gifted songwriter, a sublime vocalist and an inventive, influential musician.
While Ramsey’s writing has been compared to Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens, his songs smartly blends elements of rock, Americana and folk, taking the listener on their own meditative, soulful and rewarding journey.
But for as much as he prefers to spend his time at home, his past decade was spent largely away from it. As guitarist for and co-writer with the rock group Band of Horses, Ramsey found himself on the road constantly, making temporary shelters inside of hotel rooms and bus bunks. After ten years with the band it was time for a change, and Ramsey seized the opportunity to pour all of his creative energy into his solo work. It became natural, then, for some of his new material to explore that dynamic of being away and creating a respite wherever possible.
Writing his acclaimed 2019 album For the Morning, his first album since 2011’s The Valley Wind and debut for Fantasy Records, Ramsey tapped into that insulated world where imagination flourishes and sounds for mining are plentiful to create his most realized and regal work yet. Following his exit from the band and free to follow his own music full-time, Ramsey took an album’s worth of demo songs to La La Land studios in Louisville, Kentucky, where he, studio engineer Kevin Ratterman, and Ramsey’s longtime friend Seth Kauffman, set out to record. The trio fulfilled the majority of all sonic duties during this tracking phase, with Ramsey’s demos serving as blueprints as they pieced songs together during the first weeklong session. Ramsey, Ratterman, and Kauffman would return to the studio again for another shorter period to flesh out those recordings, and one final day in friend and former Band of Horses bandmate Bill Reynolds’s Nashville studio finished the job.
The process was complemented by spots from several guest musicians, including Joan Shelley, Thad Cockrell, and Molly Parden singing harmony on various songs, the pedal steel player Russ Paul contributing several solos, and Gareth Liddiard from The Drones on guitar.
The new EP, Found A Picture Of You, is a continuation of Ramsey’s evolution as a solo artist, giving fans a glimpse into another side of his masterful artistry while he sets an eye towards better times ahead and new music in 2021.