Growing up in Nashville as the son of musicians and songwriters, William Tyler was predisposed, by virtue of a good old-fashioned head start, to understanding music on a deep level.
The solo guitar ace and ambitious composer will inaugurate the Lonesome Rose’s intimate new Monday concert series, the Lonesome Lounge Sessions, on September 16.
The series — produced with Texas Public Radio — will consist of intimate shows by top-tier artists who “perform American Roots music, in the broadest sense of the definition.” With eclectic 20th century modern furniture provided by Period Modern, the Lonesome Rose will also find itself transformed into more of a listening room for these concerts, a slight pivot from its often-raucous vibe.
“In the spirit of collaboration and maximizing our resources, we came together remembering the concerts that took place at Period Modern,” said Roberto Adrian Martinez, the TPR marketing manager involved in planning the series. “There was something really special about seeing a well-known band play in this very chic, mid-century modern furniture store. It seemed like an experience unique to San Antonio.”
The sessions’ mix of intimate performances and conversations with the artists is meant to invoke a “San Antonio lounge version of KEXP/KCRW or NPR’s Mountain Stage,” Martinez added.
Tyler seems to have absorbed some sorcerous source code of folk, Americana, country and blues, which makes him an ideal artist to kick off the sessions. Through a mystical mode of melding and melting, he’s able to transmit a deconstructed amalgam the entire heft of these musical traditions.
“I’m a sponge when it comes to sounds and melodies,” he told the Current.“I absorb things from so many places, and they show back up in my songs.”
Tyler’s all-instrumental catalog of four LPs also culls considerable influence from the American Primitive style of solo guitar composition — and, no doubt, from years spent playing guitar for two of Nashville’s most influential indie outfits, Lambchop and Silver Jews.
Tyler released his fourth album, Goes West, at the start of this year. It features a greater variety of both movement and instruments than his previous three albums, a trend towards complexity that’s marked each successive recording. It’s easily his most lush and accessible to date.
As he’s added to his approach, Tyler has also found his footing as a composer.
“I think when I made my third record called Impossible Truth, I started feeling really confident that I had my own voice — with not necessarily guitar, but in the way I composed and arranged,” Tyler said.
“I wanted to prove from the outset that I wasn’t just a solo guitar player, that I could be an arranger and bandleader. I think I am more interested in recording an album with a lot more space and ambience now. Space doesn’t have to mean lack of density, just maybe less kinetics than on the latest record.”
If it sometimes seems like Tyler’s wordless songs evoke more vivid images and tell richer stories than songs with lyrics can, the reason may lie in the nature of his relationship to music.
“As a kid I only listened to classical and soundtracks and jazz,” he said. “Then I went through a long phase of wordy rock music. Then sort of through the Fahey/avant garde classical prism I got back into instrumental music. I don’t know why it isn’t more accessible. I honestly find lyrics obtrusive most of the time. A lot of people aren’t good at writing them.”
For Monday night’s concert, Tyler will play solo “mainly out of necessity” but also to push himself as a player capable of carrying a solo set.
Lonesome Lounge Sessions: William Tyler
$12-$15, 7pm, Monday, September 16, Lonesome Rose, 2114 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 455-0233, thelonesomerose.com.
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