Great Guitar With Tyler's Goes West

Bruce Von Stiers

William Tyler is a guitarist who has an interesting musical heritage. His dad is a songwriter who wrote songs for LeAnn Rimes and co-wrote songs for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and others. His mom is also a songwriter. Tyler's parents co-wrote the Oak Ridge Boys hit Bobby Sue.

Although Tyler has his roots in country music, his style is far more eclectic. It has some alt folk, a touch of alt rock and a bit of what used to be called New Age.

Tyler's latest effort is an album titled Goes West. It is strictly an instrumental album. It has ten songs and a play time of thirty-seven minutes. The album was produced by Bradley Cook and Tucker Martine. Cook is known for his work playing with and managing Hiss Golden Messenger and playing on Bon Iver albums. Martine has worked with bands like The Jayhawks, The Decemberists and R.E.M. This album was engineered and mixed at Flora Recording and Playback, a studio that Martine owns. The album was released on the Merge Records label.

On the album Tyler plays acoustic guitar. He is joined by Cook on bass guitar, piano, vibraphone, mandolin, Omnichord and synths. Tyler also added some special guests for the album. Meg Duffy plays and records under the name Hand Habits. She also has recorded with Amber Arcade and War On Drugs. On this album she plays electric guitar and loops. On drums and percussion is Griffin Goldsmith. He is a member of the alt folk band Dawes. James Anthony Wallace has helped an album by Blank Range and is pretty well known the North Carolina folk scene, especially in the Chapel Hill area. He plays piano, vibraphone and organ on this album. Besides his long solo career, Bill Frisell has recorded with a whole slew of artists, including Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams and Paul Simon. He plays electric guitar on one song on this album.

The first song, Alpine Star, has a light toe-tapping sound to start out with. Then things build up a bit with a melodic, sometimes Middle-Eastern or perhaps Spanish sound.

Fail Safe has a faster pace with some great guitar. It has a somewhat whimsical sound.

Not In Our Stars slows things down. If sounds somewhat like it would be a love lament song if vocals were added.

Strong acoustic guitar can be found in Call Me When I'm Breathing Again.

Eventual Surrender has an almost haunting tone to it.

Rebecca has a definite love song sound to it.

Venus In Aquarius has some nice guitar out in front of intriguing background music. While not quite otherworldly, the background music has a certain feel.

A solo trip down a country or mountain road might be imagined while listening to Virginia Is For Loners.

Man In A Hurry is melodic, yet has a sort of sad undertone.

The album concludes with Our Lady In The Desert. This is the song that Bill Frisell plays guitar on. It has a great mix of acoustic and electric guitar.

Not too often do I review an album of instrumental guitar based music. Goes West is a great example of subtle mixing of styles to come up with a melodic sound. In a way, it kind of reminded me of the music that Wil Akerman did in his Windom Hill days. William Tyler is definitely someone I would listen to time and time again.

Goes West is now out and can be found at your nearest music retailer.

William Tyler's official web site is He also has a Facebook music page at

In addition to William Tyler, Merge Records has several other great artists on their roster. Check out their site at


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© 2019 Bruce E Von Stiers