Live Review: William Tyler, The Keep, Guildford 27.4.2019

William Tyler is a brilliant American guitarist who has plays in such bands as Lamb Chop, Silver Jews and with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billie. Both his parents are song writers from Nashville.

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On Saturday night he played the intimate surroundings of The Keep pub, in the shadow of the old castle walls of Guildford. The gig was promoted by People Music, run by Howard Smith who has been putting on wonderful acoustic shows in the selected pubs and churches of this town for a few years now (fun fact; Howard also used to be the drummer in post punk band The Vapors).

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William ambled in to the front of the sold out crowd and straight away charmed us all with his Southern charm by thanking us for coming to see him and saying what a special and lovely places the pub and Guildford are. ‘I’m honoured to be sharing this moment with y’all.’

Watching his exquisite finger picking style is a delight. I don’t remember hearing one mistake or even slight fluff all night. After each instrumental guitar piece he chats to us and describes how and why they were all written.

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He joked of one tune that he recently took some psychedelic drugs and listened to Joni Mitchell, woke up on friend’s couch the next day and then wrote it!

He talks often of films and soundtracks. He’s a huge Kubrick fan. He explains of his ‘Man In A Hurry’ as being written after an episode of that name, of the ‘Andy Griffiths Show‘ starring a young Ron Howard.

This is a version of that tune featuring Meg Duffy on electric guitar.

Occasionally he uses loop pedals and delay effects but for the vast majority of the set it’s just William and his acoustic, no tricks. He changes the tuning every so often, I spotted DADGAD in there, I’m sure he uses other tunings too.

I did try and do some filming but the quality wasn’t really very good and when clips like this exist, it seemed a bit silly to post mine!

William said how he was recently very nearly not allowed to enter the country as he was held up at customs, when one of the officials saw his guitar case, he asked him if he needed a drummer, ‘dude, if you let me in, you can drum on the whole tour’. The crowd wouldn’t let him go as we kept calling for more ‘this is the opposite, I can’t leave now!’ he joked before treating us to some more glorious music, finally ending on a brilliant instrumental version of ‘Go Your Own Way’. ‘This song is by Lyndsey Buckingham, it just goes to show, there’s no such thing as job security – it might take two people to replace you though!’

A special night.

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