Ryley Walker: The Lillywhite Sessions review – Weird and wonderful

Wed, Nov 14, 2018, 05:30


The Lillywhite Sessions

Ryley Walker

Dead Oceans


The popularity of Dave Matthews Band, as well as other, possibly forgotten acts such as Grand Funk Railroad and Ozark Mountain Daredevils, has to be a big-in-the-USA-but-not-really-in-Europe thing.

Let us not deny, however, the influence of such bands on emerging musicians that would later arrive at somewhat more interesting outcomes. Ryley Walker is one such, a Chicago-based singer-songwriter who has a reputation for exploratory manouvers. He does it again for his sixth record, which covers a scrapped album (from 1999/2000) by the aforementioned Dave Matthews Band, a music act he greatly admired during his formative years as a songwriter.

Never officially released, The Lillywhite Sessions (so named after their producer, Steve Lillywhite) were as much revered as sought after by avid fans, but for Walker they meant something else: a route to reminding himself that (as he notes) “we are all just kids from somewhere reckoning with our upbringing the best we can.”

The start-to-finish interpretations are inclusively weird and wonderful – Walker lobs jazz bombs, avant-garde grenades and abrasive Americana into the mix and strolls away without looking back.