Tyler Ramsey has long been infatuated with the art of songwriting.
Music is his passion, the reason he gets up in the morning - thankfully, it's also become his livelihood, enabling him to take his artistry around the globe.
His latest EP is a five strong covers selection, with Tyler dipping into something of his greatest inspirations.
Curiously, the original authors are all female - he didn't set out to do it that way, it just happened naturally, a sign of the impact female songwriters have had on his work.
Given a warm, acoustic feel, the rich, mellifluous Americana has a crisp Autumnal feel, just right for these times.
Out now, 'Found A Picture Of You' was born from Tyler's habit of throwing in special covers during his live shows, before becoming something more complex.
"I wanted to do it in a really simple way to document performances rather than overthinking everything in the studio setting," he comments. "Each song features friends of mine playing or singing harmonies, and the idea was always the same: to try and get the feel of what happens on tour when a friend gets up to sing harmonies or play guitar or fiddle."
"There is such amazing energy that happens in those moments when songs are played and sung maybe for the first time together in front of an audience. When the list of songs came together I realised that most of the writers and all of the voices of the songs I was covering were women. A lot of my favorite songwriters are female writers, and a lot of the records in my collection that have really had an impact on my musical path have been female artists."
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Tomorrow On The Runway
Of the songs on this EP, this is one I’ve been playing the longest. I fell in love with the Innocence Mission the first time I heard them. Karen Peris’ voice goes directly into your heart.
When I started recording this song, I remembered that my friend Thad Cockrell was the one who introduced me to the Innocence Mission; he gave me a copy of their album 'Befriended' and it became extremely influential for me. I was able to get Thad to come and sing on it with me; I am a huge fan of his songs and his voice carries so much emotion.
All Through The Night
Years ago, I became friends with Jules Shear when he briefly moved here to Asheville, North Carolina. I was taken by his voice and songs, and realised over time just how many songs he had written that were a big part of my life.
In 2019 I did a couple of duo tours with my friend Carl Broemel, and he started playing this song with me each night. Carl’s guitar playing and singing elevate everything he plays on. I was happy to be able to record this with him, and catch some of what we were finding each night we were able to play together on tour.
And then of course there is Cyndi Lauper! Growing up with her hits playing on the radio…. Her voice and presence have been inspiring to me always.
Elizabeth Cotten has been a hero of mine since I began really focusing on the guitar. She informed my playing and sense of melody as much as anyone.
There is a fantastic children’s book called Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten, by Laura Veirs, that I bought and read to my daughter. We listened to Elizabeth Cotten and started to play this song together in the living room one day. I went down and recorded a version and decided to send it to my friend Billy Alletzhauser; he and I have been friends forever and have played a lot together over the years. I love what he added to this song.
You can also hear my daughter, Sylvie, singing on this!
Back On The Chain Gang
I love Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders; once again I grew up hearing that unique voice on the radio and got hooked on their records. This song has a line in it that gets me every time: “I found a picture of you / those were the happiest days of my life / like a break in the battle was your part/in the wretched life of a lonely heart.”
I was lucky enough to meet Annie Williams at Bill Reynolds’ studio in Nashville, and she sang the gorgeous harmonies on this.
When You Go
This song was written by Jennie Lowe Stearns. She and I met a long time ago, and I am always blown away by her songs and her voice. Rayna Gellert played the beautiful fiddle and sang harmonies, and Carl Broemel added pedal steel and harmony.
1000 Black Birds
This version came about from a tour I did with Avi Kaplan in 2019. He had an amazing band, everybody could sing like an angel, and they would come out and sing this one with me each night. I wanted to record a version with them, and managed to get them to come by the studio when I was in Nashville.
Jeremy and Jonathan Lister’s harmonies blew me away, and Avi’s low harmony part makes me smile every time I hear it.
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Photo Credit: Bill Reynolds
'Found A Picture Of You' EP is out now.
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