Sometimes, friends of friends are the best way to discover new music. Or, at the very least, friends of artists you never want to miss live. This was the case with Ryley Walker, a close friend and frequent tour buddy of American Primitive guitarist Daniel Bachman. Walker would accompany Bachman in seriously raucous and psychedelic live sets only a couple years ago, and Bachman would tell me, "Just wait 'til you hear Ryley's stuff." Well, now it's here — and it's not at all what I expected.
With the charming swagger of jazz-folk troubadour Tim Buckley and the resonant, full picking style of Bert Jansch, "The West Wind" comes from Walker's first widely available release, a three-song 12". With acoustic guitar in hand and a voice like browned butter, Walker swings and sways in a lush string-and-piano arrangement right out of Buckley's Starsailor; it slowly picks up to a swirling gallop without bucking the rhythm.