Tyler Ramsey’s “Country Teen” was arguably the best thing about Band Of Horses’ Why Are You OK. So it makes some sense that he broke from the group a year after the album’s 2016 release to resume his solo career. “Ten years is a long time in any relationship, except for maybe a marriage,” says Ramsey. “Especially with a bunch of dudes who are basically living together and carrying all the stereotypical baggage of being in a rock band.”
With the new For The Morning (Fantasy), the versatile multi-instrumentalist has found common ground between the subdued acoustic nuance of his previous work and the lush Americana grandeur of Band Of Horses’ Grammy-nominated 2010 album, Infinite Arms. Nowhere is that reconciliation more evident than on “Your Whole Life,” “A Dream Of Home” and “Breaking A Heart” (the last track available here as a free download). With its pronounced Laurel Canyon vibe, “Breaking A Heart” sounds like some lost Desperado-era Eagles gem, though with a mist-shrouded Appalachian soul. “The chorus was looping around in my head for a while,” says Ramsey. “I had everything written for the song, but there were a few lines troubling me, so I called my dad and we came up with the last few lyrics 20 minutes before I tracked the vocals.”
Seasoned singer/songwriters Thad Cockrell and Molly Parden provide harmony vocals on the song, and the fluid pedal-steel accompaniment comes courtesy of Music City session ace Russ Pahl. “Russ did it in Nashville and sent the files over,” says Ramsey. “I was literally jumping up and down when I heard it.”
When he’s not on the road, Ramsey lives with his wife and daughter on an idyllic piece of rural real estate 14 miles from his hometown of Asheville, N.C. Much of For The Morning took shape during Ramsey’s regular writing excursions into the woods on his property. He took the demos he made at home to La La Land studios in Louisville, Ky., where he worked with engineer Kevin Ratterman and longtime friend Seth Kauffman (Jim James, Lana Del Rey). Finishing touches came at Fleetwood Shack, the Nashville studio of former Band Of Horses bassist Bill Reynolds, who departed the group the same year as Ramsey.
Not that Ramsey is opposed to looking back. For The Morning includes “Evening Country,” a full-band variation on “Evening Kitchen,” from Infinite Arms. “It was the only thing on Infinite Arms that was super bare bones,” he says. “That was the dimension I was really pushing in that band, trying to give fans something that’s more intimate. It was fun to have that influence.”