Ryley Walker - Primrose Green - Vinyl LP

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Ryley Walker is the reincarnation of the True American Guitar Player. That’s as much a testament to his
roving, rambling ways as to the fact that his Guild D-35 guitar has endured a few stints in the pawnshop.
Primrose Green begins near where All Kinds of You, his last record, leaves off but quickly pushes far afield.
The title sounds pastoral and quaint, but the titular green has dark hallucinogenic qualities, as does much
of the LP. The band is a mixture of new and old Chicago talent, blending both jaded veterans of the postrock
and jazz mini-circuits together with a few eager, open-eared youths.
Ryley didn’t have much time to write this LP, so some of it he didn’t. Bits of lyrics were improvised into
full-blown songs in the studio, more often than not on the fly. The title track “Primrose Green” was nearly
discarded after its incarnation on a bleak St. Patrick’s Day spent in Oxford,Mississippi. “Primrose Green” is
a colloquial term for a cocktail of whiskey and morning glory seeds that has a murky, dreamy, absinthian
quality when imbibed, and a spirit-crushing aftereffect the morning after. “Summer Dress” is liftoff: seizing
the mantle from Tim Buckley’s Starsailor and perfecting its frantic jazz-induced fits. “Griffiths Bucks Blues”
is named for a local artist and eccentric botanist in Ryley’s hometown of Rockford, Illionois who has likely
had few other songs named for him. “Love Can Be Cruel” spends almost twominutes “out” before becoming
the song it was originally intended to be. Drummer Frank Rosaly pushes the song further and further until
it borders on a cathartic meltdown to close out Side A.
Side B sets off with a shot of Americana, “On The Banks Of The Old Kishwaukee”. It’s an ode to the
immersion baptisms Ryley’s witnessed while walking along the banks. Unlike the idyllic memories of
christenings under the weeping willows, the river was brown and polluted, the participants dirty and tired
and disinterested. “Sweet Satisfaction” presents some of Ryley’s most intricate and ecstatic fingerpicking. It’s
hard not to recall John Martyn’s early 1970s work, though Ben Boye’s piano work is particularly revelatory
“All Kinds Of You” is the oldest song included here. The title should seem familiar…it was written after his
first LP, All Kinds of You, was finished, but the name seemed to fit that collection of songs better than
anything else.
No one knows what the future holds for young RyleyWalker. Hardship and setbacks and uncertainty only
seem to spur him on creatively. If the world catches on, the Ryley that follows up this album may be a
different sort of person, one who knows the taste of better liquor and comfortable bedding and might not
be nearly as driven.Here, with PrimroseGreen, we risk limiting his access to personal disaster by flirting with

Primrose Green
Summer Dress
Same Minds
Griffiths Bucks Blues
Love Can Be Cruel
On the Banks Of The Old
Sweet Satisfaction
The High Road
All Kinds Of You
Hide In The Roses