Ryley Walker: The Lillywhite Sessions review – Weird and wonderful

Wed, Nov 14, 2018, 05:30

   
 

Album:
The Lillywhite Sessions

Artist:
Ryley Walker

Label:
Dead Oceans

Genre:
Alternative

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.