For those unfamiliar with Tyler Ramsey, he was the lead guitarist and one of the core songwriters in Band of Horses throughout their astronomical rise to the top of their game and, having left the group in May of 2017, has returned with his first work since 2011 and it was more than worth the wait.
‘For The Morning’ is clearly a labour of love for Ramsey and throughout the record it is evident that the success of Band of Horses and his presence in the group was no coincidence as from the opening chords to the final note, every song has been carefully crafted and honed to near-perfection. The album itself was born throughout a period of change for Ramsey – the birth of his daughter, a move to a new city and the realisation that it might be time to change the musical path he was on. The latter of these thoughts was what kick-started the writing process beginning with album highlight and lead-off track ‘A Dream of Home’ written in a hotel room in Nashville during a tour with his group. The song serves as a good introduction to the album as it highlights the personal lyrical content and serves as a perfect bridge from his work with Band of Horses to his personal output, sounding familiar yet fresh, a recurring theme throughout ‘For The Morning’.
It would be incredibly difficult to pick out individual tracks to review on this record as each one brings something to the table, from the acoustic piano opener of ‘Your Whole Life’ setting the lyrical tone and the atmosphere for what is come, through to the finger-picked guitar of ‘White Coat’ and leading on to a re-working of an old Band of Horses track called ‘Evening Kitchen’, renamed as ‘Evening Country’. Each track has something to come back to and with every listen there is more depth in the music to be discovered.
‘For The Morning’ was written and produced by Ramsey himself with the assistance of engineer Kevin Ratterman and touring musician Seth Kauffman in Louisville, Kentucky, and the team did an excellent job of capturing the essence of Americana and the spirit of what the music and the message intended to convey. They also enlisted the help of a number of other talented musicians to add to the listening experience and the texture of the tracks, including Molly Parden, Joan Shelley and Thad Cockrell on harmonies and Russ Paul on pedal steel, each adding their trademark stamp on the music and in turn, providing that depth that is waiting to be discovered with each run through.
Overall, it is clear to see both how much passion has gone into the recording of ‘For The Morning’ and how much of Tyler Ramsey’s talent contributed to the success of Band of Horses as in its purest form, unfiltered and straight from the source. Tyler Ramsey has a knack for writing beautifully composed pieces of music and combining that with his honest, personal approach to writing lyrics which has led him to create one of the best, and certainly most coherent, debuts in a long time and we can only hope that this is just the beginning of the next chapter in his career.