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Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown

Wild Child

(Carved; US: 22 Jan 2013; UK: 22 Jan 2013)

Make no mistake, Tyler Bryant can play the hell out of a guitar. The 22-year-old prodigy has collected accolades from the likes of Steve Vai and has toured Jeff Beck in 2011, who reportedly invited him onstage to jam with him during encores. Somehow, he’s already managed to release a previous EP and long-player. He’s got some serious chops, in other words, and six-string fanatics should check him out.

But are his songs any good? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for. Bryant plays straight-ahead, scorched-earth rock ‘n’ roll, and tracks like the peppy opener “Fool’s Gold” and the equally raucous “House On Fire” stake their claim as future rock classics. More than just an able picker, Bryant wields the slide and whammy bar with equal felicity. “Lipstick Wonder Woman” features some nice finger picking and a midtempo chug-a-lug rhythm that showcases Bryant’s range. There aren’t a lot of ballads here, but album closer “Poor Boy’s Dream” is a nice sendoff, as Bryant picks and warbles with minimal accompaniment. His voice isn’t the strongest, tending as it does toward thinness, but fans of Jack White probably won’t be bothered.

The singer’s shortcomings—and youth—are most apparent in his choice of subject matter, which tends to consist of girls, girls, and more girls, with a heavy emphasis on how the ladies have done him wrong. Nothing wrong with that, but the lyrical and thematic repetition might wear thin for some listeners after a time. The guitar playing, on the other hand, is unlikely to do anything but delight.


DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.

Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown - "Lipstick Wonder Woman"
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