"Walker is a prodigious talent. He possesses the light touch of Bert Jansch, the unbottled energy of Peter Walker, and the musical erudition of John Fahey...Walker is versatile, too, with a chameleonic quality that allows him to slip into ragged electric blues and bucolic acoustic reveries with equal ease. Of all the songwriters trying their hand at this revivalist approach...Walker is the most natural and enviable."
So said Pitchfork about Illinois born singer-songwriter Ryley Walker, who plays Strange Brew at the Róisín Dubh on Thursday August 20 at 9pm as part of the Irish leg of his Primrose Green tour.
Primrose Green is the title of Walker's latest album, which has met with four star reviews from Mojo, Q, and The Guardian, while Uncut gave it a nine out of 10 rating. However his path towards his musical career stems, not so much from his early gigs in basements and initial recordings - all done when the day job permitted - in the late noughties, but in a bike accident in 2012.
Following the accident, the then 22-year-old quit his day job to recuperate and eventually returned to music, now lacquering his nails to give his fingerstyle guitar technique more aggression and tone. He also came under the spell of British folk guitarists Bert Jansch and Nick Drake, as can be heard on his The West Wind EP and All Kinds of You LP.
This set the stage for his acclaimed Primrose Green, released via Dead Oceans in March this year. The song 'Primrose Green' was written during a St Patrick's Day in Oxford, Mississippi, and is a colloquial term for a cocktail of whiskey and morning glory seeds that has a murky, absinth like quality, with a none too positive after affect. 'Summer Dress', written in a dressing room in upstate New York, reflects the influence of Tim Buckley's Starsailor; while Walker's fingerpicking style is heard to great effect on the John Martyn-esque 'Sweet Satisfaction'.
Support is from Anderson (formerly of The Rags ), whose debut solo album, Patterns is out September 18, and Galway singer-songwriter Paul O'Reilly. Tickets are available at www.roisindubh.net, the Ticket Desk at OMG Zhivago, Shop Street, and The Róisín Dubh.