With its swirling array of finger-picked guitars and jazzy drums, guitarist Ryley Walker's sophomore album, Primrose Green, evokes a pastoral landscape worthy of its flower-themed title. But according to Walker's press materials, primrose green also has another meaning:
"'Primrose green' is a colloquial term for a cocktail of whiskey and morning glory seeds that has a murky, dreamy, absinthian quality when imbibed, and a spirit-crushing aftereffect the morning after," Walker's press bio states. Though Primrose Green's acoustic meandering certainly does achieve that murky, dreamy quality, the record thankfully omits the shattering comedown of its namesake, and Walker and his eminently talented band convey a subtle feeling of ease throughout the album's twists and turns.
But don't fear — if you do find yourself waking up with a searing headache on a Sunday morning, Walker is here with a pick-me-up. Here, six songs to soundtrack a lazy Sunday morning breakfast routine:
1. Jean Ritchie, "Little Musgrave"
"Damn Jean, you make me weak at the knees. The slightest vibrato and wobbly in-and-out pitch is so beautiful. This is the tune I put on when I start boiling water for the coffee. Black coffee. I don't have money for whole milk."
2. Sandy Denny, "Milk and Honey"
"First off, major respect to Jackson C. mother f--king Frank — the dude who penned this tune. His version is no doubt the musical equivalent of getting punched in the stomach and left for dead — so real and gorgeous. But here we got Sandy taking the arrangement and adding sparse and bleak tones of bass and guitar over the top. Bless your heart, Sandy."
3. Memphis Slim, "I'm Lost Without You"
"All right, now your hangover is definitely present. You didn't "not" get one because you drank two glasses of water last night. Coffee is on and you got like one last bit of butter to fry up a motherf--king egg. Memphis Slim knows pain like you do, maybe even more. Slim has the voice of a God and is a 100-percent certified genius. Great tune to wake up with."
4. Nic Jones, "The Lakes of Shilin"
"Nic Jones can kinda be folk with a capital F sometimes, if you know what I mean. His guitar playing is absolutely insane though, and he has the perfect pitch that somebody like June Tabor carries. I mean that in the best way possible. Dude is on point. The toast is burning, but its gonna be okay."
5. Dr. Alimantado, "Poison Flour"
"Incredible tune. Clear your dome for the day with The Doctor. Eating breakfast with dub tunes is a natural pairing."
6. John Abercrombie, "Timeless"
"Official tune of scrub-a-dubbing pans and pots. A little longer one to give you time. Jan Hammer? Jack Dejohnette? And John Abercrombie? All together? Jesus, was this all a dream? Incredible song, mad future genius nuts. Enjoy."
Primrose Green is out now on Dead Oceans.
(This interview was condensed and edited by Samantha Rollins.)
Watch the video for Ryley Walker's "Sweet Satisfaction" below:
More in this series...