For singer-songwriter Tyler Ramsey, a new “Morning” is about to dawn.
It’s been seven years since the ruggedly ethereal artist released his last album, “The Valley Wind.” At the time, he was the lead guitarist for Band of Horses, the indie band whose brand of rock ‘n’ roll beauty was an ideal fit for Ramsey’s songwriting and vocals.
He left the band in May of last year, however, and not much has been written about his departure.
“Basically, it was 10 years of being on the road, heavily touring with a bunch of dudes that don’t necessarily know how to communicate very well,” Ramsey told The Daily Times recently. “It gets tricky after a while, like any relationship that you have that lasts a long period of time. Traveling and being on the road is a tricky thing anyway, and staying open is a hard thing to do. It just kind of was time, and I knew I had this record ready, so I felt like it was time to do something different, really.”
“This record” is tentatively titled “For the Morning,” and it’s slated for release sometime in early 2019, added Ramsey, who performs Wednesday at The Open Chord in West Knoxville.
The foundation stones of the album were laid at his home near Mt. Pisgah in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where he’s spent much of the past year playing guitar and relaxing with family.
“It’s pretty country, right at the foot of the mountain, and we’ve got a little stream running through our yard,” he said. “I built a little studio out here last year, in this little building out in the field down from my house, so I’ve got a place to go play music.”
If it sounds bucolic, that’s an apropos description for Ramsey’s particular brand of Americana. Coming up in the Asheville scene, his raggedly blissful style made him a standout, and after releasing an eponymous debut album in 2005, various publications hailed his early 2008 release, “A Long Dream About Swimming Across the Sea,” as a worthy inheritor of sounds peddled by Ryan Adams and Red House Painters.
With Band of Horses, he helped cement that band’s legacy as a purveyor of anthemic rockers and intricate ballads, and he’s proud of the work he did as part of that group, he said.
“I went back recently and listened to ‘Infinite Arms,’ and I’m super proud of that record, and I think it still sounds really good,” he said. “I just think it really represents what the five of us could really do when we were working together really well, and it gained us a lot of momentum. I look back fondly on that time, even though it was kind of a messed-up time.”
His time in Band of Horses helped him develop into a better musician as well, he added: He feels his voice is bigger and stronger, and his guitar work allowed him to dial in on the particular sounds he wanted to capture on “For the Morning,” which was cut at a couple of sessions at La La Land, a studio in Louisville, Ky. It features a number of appearances from friends and peers that Ramsey has worked with in the past, another new element about which he’s particularly excited.
The overarching sound, however, doesn’t stray too far outside of his wheelhouse.
“I always try and not go too far away from the original game plan,” he said. “I don’t want to come out with some electronic record. I did do a lot of keyboards and piano, and a lot of songs were written on piano for this album. We also had some string players come in, so there are some extra things that make it a little bit more similar to ‘Long Dream’ in that way. There are a lot of really cool moments that fill it out, but I think it’s a logical progression.”
Whether it’ll be enough for him to step outside of the Band of Horses shadow remains to be seen.
He was a successful solo artist before he joined, and while his association makes it an interesting footnote for music writers, it’s also a period of his life he’s made peace with, he said.
“People want to apply that to whatever, when they’ve been in a band that’s pretty popular, and I really don’t have any problem with it,” he said. “When I was in the band and would go out and do solo shows, I would kind of resist using that as a thing, and I still would rather not, but it’s fine. I was in the band for 10 years, and I’m proud of what I did with them. I don’t mind people who need that to recognize what I do. If they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that guy!,’ then that’s fine with me.”