Tyler Ramsey: For the Morning
“There’s a dream of home for those that work out on the road/ And there’s a vision of the road for all the others,” Tyler Ramsey sings on his fourth solo LP, his voice blanketed by swooning slide guitar and a delicate acoustic strum. “I can tell you what I’ve seen because I’ve been at both extremes/ There’ll be a time you will wish you could trade your life for another.” It’s a sentiment as old as pop music itself: a musician worn down by traveling and missing his family, and the sobering realization that the touring lifestyle isn’t the fantasy one may think. It’s the central theme from For the Morning , his first album since 2011’s The Valley Wind and a reemergence into the solo realm since leaving Band of Horses in 2017. Ramsey crafted the record partly on tour, cramming in writing sessions in hotel rooms and on airplanes, and partly at his idyllic home near the woods outside Asheville, N.C. Both of those realities, the longing and the contentment, flow through the music. “Who will bring in the firewood? And who’s gonna keep up the fire?” he sings on the haunting folk reverie “Firewood.” Is he referencing an actual pile of kindling or the foundation of a marriage? With its weepy steel guitars and acoustic-heavy arrangements, many of the highlights here—like the gospel-tinged “Your Whole Life” and fingerpicked “White Coat” — suitably feel like they were written in middle of a forest, with a hunting dog nearby and a smartphone nowhere in sight. It’s Ramsey’s dream of home, solidified in sound.