William Tyler

Artist: William Tyler
Title: Impossible Truth album
Release Date: 29 April 2013
Label: Merge
Formats: CD / Download / Vinyl
Cat Number: MTG465
Website: www.mergerecords.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/williamtylermusic</a>
Twitter: @williamtylertn

Punctuated by sweeping lap steel slides, the intensely layered cyclic melodies of lead David Lindley referencing track ‘Cadillac Desert’ can be streamed here: https://soundcloud.com/mergerecords/william-tyler-cadillac-desert

“William is a literary guy, a language guy, and to my thinking he is presenting his music as such. It is as linguistic as it is literary without saying a fucking word. It rewards rereading” Kurt Wagner

William Tyler will make his Merge Records debut on April 29 with Impossible Truth

Impossible Truth was born on tour as William read two books with an odd kinship while on long and lonely Midwestern drives: Barney HoskynsHotel California and Mike DavisThe Ecology of Fear. Both centre on the promise and psychosis of southern California, albeit from very different angles: Hoskyns tackles the naïve and narcissistic Laurel Canyon scene of the early seventies, while renowned social scientist Davis deals with the history of the destruction of Los Angeles, both in real and imagined disasters. The synchronistic tackling of these tomes inspired Tyler to compose a story rooted in apocalyptic expectation and bittersweet nostalgia. Or as Tyler puts it, this is “my ’70’s singer-songwriter record; it just doesn’t have any words.”

The thematic elements here range from the westerns of Rudy Wurlitzer and Michael Cimino to peak oil, vanishing water supplies, suburbs turned to ghost towns, and Art Deco fallout shelters. Song titles such as ‘Country of Illusion’ and ‘We Can’t Go Home Again’ belie end-of-the-world musing, while ‘A Portrait of Sarah’ is his love song, because “even an ‘end of the world’ album needs a love song.” There is melody and wishful thinking in Tyler’s eschatology, coupled with a somewhat resigned view of history and current events.

Recorded and mixed at Beech House in Nashville and co-produced by Tyler and Mark Nevers, Impossible Truth features guest appearances from Chris Scruggs, Luke Schneider, Roy Agee, and Lambchop compatriot Scott Martin. The arrangements are centred around Tyler’s guitar work, but the sympathetic and informed playing of the other assembled musicians contributes something unique to the story. Scruggs’ masterful and melodic lap steel conjures David Lindley on songs like ‘Cadillac Desert’ and ‘Hotel Catatonia’; the hushed ambience of ‘The Last Residents of Westfall’ gives a nod to Durutti Column; and the layered intensity of closing track ‘The World Set Free,’ on which all the featured musicians make an appearance, is akin to a lost seventies soundtrack theme.

2010’s Behold the Spirit, William Tyler’s first album under his own name, was celebrated by Pitchfork as “the most vital, energized album by an American solo guitarist in a decade or more” and established him as a critical favourite, the picker who, according to his friend and tour mate M.C. Taylor from Hiss Golden Messenger, “connects the dots between Sandy Bull, Richard Thompson, Bruce Langhorne, and Reggie Young.”

Impossible Truth will challenge your ideas of what an instrumental guitar record can and should be. As Taylor puts it, “William will worry a phrase—some tangled chordal wormhole—until you are certain it’s all that exists. He’ll take you over the stiles, he’ll love you up and down, and then he’ll make you cry for the world and what we’ve done to it. Willy T’s got the vampire blues. And there’s only one like him.”

Praise for William Tyler:
‘Impossible Truth doesn’t just feel like a really satisfying and beautiful set, but one which also stretches the edges, a little, of the scene to which it notionally belongs’ Uncut
‘Arguably the most vital, energized album by an American solo guitarist in a decade or more’ Pitchfork 8.6
‘It is by its nature something quite other, that is at once strange and almost unspeakably beautiful” All Music 4/5
‘The world is crawling with Fahey-loving acoustic guitar players these days but ones as good as William Tyler are rare.’ Dusted Magazine