Just as the opening line in Tyler Ramsey’s melody “New Lost Ages”
proposes — “you better get yourself familiar with suffering because we’re
living in a world that we can’t understand” — so, too, becomes this
notion that to truly find yourself in the ether and incessant white noise
of modern society, one must simply let go of ego, pain and trauma in
exchange for pure love.
“I’m trying harder and harder to just roll with things and make
moments that are beautiful, to appreciate everything we have,” Ramsey
says. “I’m trying to just be here and in the moment, with my family and
with my music, and not get caught up in the sadness and fear that lies
out there in our world — to always pursue hope and compassion.”
Coming into his latest album, “New Lost Ages,” the celebrated
singer-songwriter felt this deep, profound shift into a new, perhaps
unknown, level of his ever-evolving melodic journey with one question
lingering — where to from here?
“And I think the ‘where to from here’ is a feeling that I’ve always had,”
Ramsey says. “It’s a feeling that shifts, whether it’s making music,
having kids or just trying to figure out how to find stability in your
music career — it’s the continuation of your life and how you’re able to
make sense of it all.”
Captured at the legendary Avast! Recording Co. in Seattle, Washington,
by storied producer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty, The Shins,
Built to Spill), the 10-song LP is an ongoing sonic quest within Ramsey
— meticulously wandering across the musical landscape, this
undulating tone of indie, rock and folk stylings.
“Each album carries me down a different path, every record drawing in
new people, new experiences,” Ramsey says. “And ‘New Lost Ages’ was
this new process, where I really trusted a producer by handing over my
songs and was willing to work on anything that he felt needed work.”
Situated in a power-trio formation — including bassist Morgan
Henderson (Fleet Foxes) and drummer Sean Lane (Ann Wilson) —
Ramsey found himself fronting a full-on rock outfit, a scenario that
conjured fresh inspiration and straightforward determination within
the recording process.
“At first, it was intimidating to walking into a room with these super
talented musicians and just put my songs down in front of them,”
Ramsey says. “But, they’re killer musicians and we were able to pull it
off in a short amount of time. We figured out all of the arrangements
pretty quickly and played our parts live.”
“New Lost Ages” is about peeling back the layers of oneself, to locate
and open up the dusty boxes of your past from the back of the closet of
your mind. It’s memories and mistakes, lessons and lifelines bringing
the present moment into focus — the future bright with possibility and
purpose, so long as you never forget the road to the here and now.
“[The title track] is about letting go of innocence and facing the reality
of a society that is in decline. One that is refusing to change course or
even pause itself,” Ramsey says. “It’s searching for hope in all of this.
It’s wanting my children to be able to experience this world with wonder
and joy and not have to carry the weight of our mistakes.”
For Ramsey, who’s based in Western North Carolina, it’s been that
continued trek in this often-unforgiving music industry that’s brought
about a renewed intent in what it is he ultimately wants to create,
onstage and in the studio.
And at the foundation of Ramsey’s recordings and stoic stage presence
in a live setting are these symbiotic realms that nurture the genuine
splendor and lore of his work — mesmerizing melodies aimed at sincere
connectivity through honesty and vulnerability.
“I feel secure in what I do musically and I believe in what I’m writing,”
Ramsey says. “I try to write songs that I believe every word of. I don’t
want to ever dance around something or have to sing lyrics that don’t
feel like truth to me.”
The Donkey and The Rose is a recording by your lady, Leslie Stevens. Check it out. AKA Leslie Stevens and the Badgers or Leslie and The Badgers