[15 January 2008]
These days, Tyler Ramsey’s probably best known for playing guitar with Band of Horses, but he’s also forging a strong solo identity. A Long Dream finds the Asheville, NC musician trafficking in gentle, largely acoustic arrangements that recall the deft guitar playing of Leo Kottke or John Fahey (and in some spots, even the percussive, pastoral acoustic style at which Jimmy Page excelled). A few instrumentals, such as “Chinese New Year” and “Birdwings”, show off Ramsey’s slide and fingerpicking chops, but on this record of leisurely-paced songs, they feel more like sketches for larger ideas. By and large, Dream finds Ramsey crooning his way though intricate arrangements of percussion, violin, piano, and other instruments for an effect that’s somewhat dreamlike, but earthy enough to keep from becoming completely ethereal. There’s a chance that Dream might get a little sleepy here and there (the high-flying harmonies that close out “Once in Your Life” mark the only time Dream really kicks up any dust), but Dream is definitely a disc designed for the quiet hours. Band of Horses might bring a bit more noise than Ramsey creates on his own, but once you hear Dream, you can tell he’ll still fit right in.