Course In Fable

Course In Fable

Baroque flourishes, fingerpicking arrangements, complex instrumental parts: These are some of the elements that characterize Ryley Walker’s crafty songwriting on Course in Fable, his fifth solo album. For an artist who’s regularly summoned the spirit of '70s British folk rock while peppering in just a dash of rootsy flair—from 2015’s Primrose Green to his Dave Matthews Band covers album The Lillywhite Sessions—Walker builds on these foundations as he pushes further into improvisational jazz and prog rock. The native Illinois musician enlisted some of the major players in Chicago's experimental music scene to flesh out his vision, embracing virtuosic guitar tapping (“Clad With Bunk”), dub-tinged grooves (“Pond Scum Ocean”), and rough-edged jamming (“Rang Dizzy”) to bring his high-flying sound to life. And even if his city-dwelling observations are just as free-flowing, they capture the everyday essence of going on aimless strolls past nail salons and fluorescent-lit corner stores: “If only I gave to charity more often/The city streets would have a spit shine that is glowing.”

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