I’ve seen men crawl on their knees
Just looking for a taste of your skin
Like a summer dress
—from “Summer Dress” by Ryley Walker
“Lost my mind with a headful of primrose green,” sings guitar virtuoso Ryley Walker on the title track to his latest record set for release on March 31st. The 25-year-old grew up steeped in Chicago’s noise-rock scene. He also played acoustic guitar and got into British folk music, which influenced his current sound. Often compared to influences such as Nick Drake, Bert Jansch, John Martyn and Tim Buckley, Walker has a post-rock, freewheeling jazz-folk sound. Check him out on Sunday, March 15 when the Chicagoan hits Baby’s All Right with his band of post-rock and jazz titans.
Long Island Pulse: How do you describe your sound aside from folk?
Ryley Walker: Spontaneous.
P: Along with the British folkies, I can hear some Doors-like psychedelia on Primrose Green. Who are your biggest influences?
RW: [British folk and The Doors] are most certainly big influences. I’m a big sponge of music, pretty much all types of music go through my head.
P: What’s the meaning behind Primrose Green?
RW: It’s a mixture of morning glory seeds and whiskey. A fine blend for an ignorant mind.
P: Do you improvise the lyrics as well as the music? The words seem to be free flowing without much detail. Could that change on your next record?
RW: It’s part of what I do. Just kind of a free flowing thing. The band gets in on it too. It keeps everything fresh for us.
P: Why do you get acrylic nails for fingerpicking?
RW: It’s a personal preference. Some people use picks, I use acrylics…
P: Who would you most like to tour with, and why? How did you end up being picked for Wilco’s Solid Sound fest?
RW: I would love to tour with Cass McCombs. Wilco curated the Solid Sound festival. I don’t really know them personally, kind of mutually and just a few times in passing have said, ‘Hello.’ They got the record somehow!
P: What can we expect to hear at Baby’s All Right on Sunday, March 15th?
RW: I’ll be accompanied by drummer Frank Rosaly, bassist Anton Hatwich, pianist Ben Boye and guitarist Brian Sulpizio. And we’ll be playing long versions of the tunes on the new record.