William Tyler - Modern Country (Merge Records, 2016)
William Tyler, along with a notable cast of characters, including Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and Phil Cook of Megafaun, has managed the ultimate and unexpected feat of picking up right where John Fahey left off, laying down a stunning collection of instrumentally based atmospheric songs that fuse a range of moods that seldom rise above a heartbeat.
This is country, it’s also a sort of plaintive pastoral folk music laced with understated spacey synths and a gentle breezy pedal steel guitar that interweaves and intertwines with Tyler’s guitar work, where the music is nearly organic, designed to both summon emotions and wash them away in the same instant. Not since the work done by Neil Young on the "Dead Man" soundtrack have I been so musically shaken, yet "Modern Country" is so very much more, with each song sounding for all the world as if they’re letters from another time and another place, where the simpleness of this music only goes to denote its complexities and brilliance.
Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
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