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On January 25th, 2019 William Tyler returns with Goes West, his follow-up to 2016’s Modern Country on Merge Records.
Here is an excerpt from the M.C. Taylor-penned bio:
William and I bonded early in our relationship over Barry Hannah, a hellraising writer from Mississippi who practically reinvented the way that words could be assembled on a page. Like Hannah, William Tyler knows the South—as a crucible of American histories and cultures, an entity capable of expansive beauty and incomprehensible violence, often in the same beat—as his native place, the place that holds him and that he runs from. In the music of William Tyler, the South is not apart from America; the South is America condensed. And like Hannah—and this part is important—William moved to California, where Goes West was written. We don’t know how long William will stay—Hannah lasted just a couple of years, writing in the employ of director Robert Altman—but the change of scenery seems to suit him.
Goes West marks a sort of narrowing of focus for William’s music; it sounds as though he found a way to point himself directly towards the rich and bittersweet emotional center of his music without being distracted by side trips. Perhaps this is down to the fact that William only plays acoustic guitar on the album, a clear and conscious decision considering that he is one of Nashville’s great electric guitarists. The band that performs Goes West alongside William—including guitarists Meg Duffy and Bill Frisell, bassist and producer Brad Cook, keyboardist James Wallace, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, and engineer Tucker Martine—is the best and most sympathetic group of players that William could have assembled to play these songs.
Photo credit: Hunter Armistead
Born in 1976 in San Antonio, Texas, Ryan started playing drums at 11, learning his craft through an early exposure to not only rock and jazz but also the colloquial conjunto, zydeco, and punk rock musics of his home town. He moved to New York in 1997 to pursue his interest in improvised music.
Years of peerage in underground and jazz scenes with enormously high-grade collaborators has informed Ryan’s performance and arrangements, helping to shape the output of a supremely talented musician into a rare channel of vast textures, dynamics and moods formed from drumkit alone. Ryan has played alongside Marshall Allen, Boredoms, Thurston Moore, TV On The Radio, Charles Gayle, Nate Wooley, Rhys Chatham among countless others. He joined a fledgling At The Drive-In as a teenager and played on their debut LP Acrobatic Tenement. He also writes and performs for dance and other extra-disciplinary forms, including Anna Sperber’s acclaimed ballet Prize, performed in NYC in 2016. Currently he is in Gang Gang Dance.
“Ryan Sawyer [coaxes] rolls, shimmers, sand storms and other electrifying sounds from his kit…Exceptional…Kaleidoscopic.”
New York Times