Tyler Ramsey Interview

Tyler Ramsey Interview

By Big Al Weekley for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

At the core of any great singer-songwriter lies this inherent trait of stage presence, one where an entire room, no matter the size, is pulled in by this lyrical tractor beam — all eyes, emotions and energies aimed in one direction at a single voice.

For Tyler Ramsey, it’s being able to honestly connect with the listener, whether it be a packed room amid a live show or just someone throwing on his melodies in their own time and space.

“Writing is simply a release for me,” Ramsey said. “It’s a way for me to process my own path through this life. Some of the time I get it right — my aim is always honesty in writing.”

Albeit a genuinely humble soul, don’t let Ramsey’s words fool you. When it comes to the modern-day singer-songwriter, Ramsey remains a bastion of musical talent and lyrical aptitude — a melodic voice-of-reason and safe haven amid a 21st century world seemingly gone mad. The former lead guitarist of Band of Horses, Ramsey has also released four acclaimed solo albums, including “For The Morning” in 2019.

“What I’m after is still trying to make myself a better guitarist, a better writer and a better human,” he noted.

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Ramsey’s latest album “New Lost Ages” (out Feb. 9) was captured at the legendary Avast! Recording Co. in Seattle, Washington, by storied producer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty, The Shins, Built to Spill). The 10-song LP is an ongoing sonic quest — meticulously wandering across the musical landscape, this undulating tone of indie, rock and folk stylings.

The new album is about peeling back the layers of oneself, to locate and open up the dusty boxes of your past from the back of the closet of your mind. It’s memories and mistakes, lessons and lifelines bringing the present moment into focus — the future bright with possibility and purpose, so long as you never forget the road to the here and now.

Alongside bassist Morgan Henderson (Fleet Foxes) and drummer Sean Lane (Ann Wilson), Ramsey found himself fronting a full-on rock outfit in the studio, a scenario that conjured fresh inspiration and straightforward determination within the recording process — something genuinely heard and felt in the hauntingly poignant number “These Ghosts.”

“This song is for anyone who has left a bad situation behind them only to look down and realize they are still carrying it with them somehow,” Ramsey reflected. “Letting go — even letting go of something that’s no good — can take time. The pain in your head is just the smoke from a fire that burned out a long time ago.”

In 2017, Ramsey left the mainstage and the bright spotlight of Band of Horses after a decade tenure in the group, all in an effort to, perhaps, find solid footing in his own personal life and musical endeavors — creatively and spiritually.

“Every day, I’m trying to slow down the wheels, so I can just watch and be with my family and absorb all the moments I get with them,” Ramsey said.

Based in Western North Carolina, it’s been that continued trek for Ramsey that’s brought about a renewed intent in what it is he ultimately wants to create, onstage and in the studio.

Pushing further and farther down the rabbit hole of “New Lost Ages,” the melodies are aimed at sincere connectivity through honesty and vulnerability — symbiotic realms that nurture the genuine splendor and lore of Ramsey’s recordings and stoic stage presence in a live setting.

“[The album title track] is about letting go of innocence and facing the reality of a society that is in decline — one that is refusing to change course or even pause itself,” Ramsey says. “It’s searching for hope in all of this. It’s wanting my children to be able to experience this world with wonder and joy and not have to carry the weight of our mistakes.”

“I feel secure in what I do musically and I believe in what I’m writing,” Ramsey says. “I try to write songs that I believe every word of. I don’t want to ever dance around something or have to sing lyrics that don’t feel like truth to me.”

If anything, everything Ramsey has absorbed in his travels — onstage and on the road — is continually channeled through the unique lens of his words, unique tunings and guitar chords. It’s a whirlwind of sound and scope, all radiating from one human being with guitar in-hand, a silent room of curious souls awaiting the next number of beauty and grace conjured by Ramsey with such ease.

“I’m more and more drawn to playing intimate shows for people,” Ramsey said. “Stripping away smoke and mirrors, being in a room with people and trying to create a moment — one person with a guitar and a room full of people that want to listen.”

 

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