Back to All Events

Ryley Walker, Mike Mangione & The Kin

  • Shitty Barn 506 East Madison Street Spring Green, WI, 53588 United States (map)
Photo by Tom Sheehan.

Photo by Tom Sheehan.

When Chicago jazz-folk adventurer Ryley Walker released his second full length and Dead Oceans debut, Primrose Green in the spring of 2015, everyone who dug it experienced the breezy, humid start of summer a little early. A proficient finger-picking guitarist, Walker opens the album with a simple subject that sets the track in cadence and allows for Walker and his collaborators to explore, giving his group the freedom to incorporate drifting piano lines, straying counter melodies, and rambling vocals. He sticks with this approach throughout most of Primrose Green, but twists it a little on 2016's Golden Sings That Have Been Sung. After a short intro, Walker sets the album's pace with "The Halfwit In Me." The entire ensemble locks into a larger-scaled, through-composed structure of uneven phrasing, sometimes abruptly truncated or deceptively expanded. Unlike Primrose Green's title track—a simple, swaying structure with room to freely explore—"The Halfwit In Me" tightens the rope around the ensemble, challenging the musicians to find smaller pockets in which to meander. The listener hears an equally summery, but segmented assemblage of ideas: Walker's fleeting finger-picking, slow and subtle organ oscillations, richly resonating electric guitar, meandering bass lines, colorful splashes from the drums. Both albums yield a sense of warmly inspired freedom and auditory adventure—a stoney sweetness to feed the sonic wanderlust. —Emili Earhart

Earlier Event: October 4
Spotlight Cinema: The Unknown Girl
Later Event: October 5
Macbeth (free)