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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 01/21/2011

William Tyler's wordless story songs

By David Malitz

william tylerWilliam Tyler may make you a fan of instrumental music. (Rebecca Gillespie)

In today's Weekend section I profiled guitarist William Tyler, whose recent album "Behold the Spirit" is a gorgeous, meditative album of ambient acoustic music that combines the classic fingerpicking tradition of John Fahey with the more experimental sounds of Sun City Girls. In the story Tyler -- who is also a member of Lambchop and played with Silver Jews -- talks about the stories behind his songs and why instrumental music should appeal to a wider audience. He performs tonight at 9:30 Club, opening for indie rock stalwarts Yo La Tengo on that band's intriguing Wheel Tour.

Read a couple of interesting tidbits that didn't make the story, about Lambchop's overseas success and the final Silver Jews show, after the jump.

On Lambchop's greater success in Europe than America:

You think about Americana -- and I hate that word -- it does mean something. It’s our folk music, not their folk music. They have a folk music over there and we think that’s really exotic over here, which is why bands from former Yugoslavia do a lot better here than they would there. They never got Garth Brooks and they certainly didn’t get Big & Rich. They actually think country music is Will Oldham, Lambchop and David Berman. Because that stuff, sonically and thematically, is a lot closer to what was being done here in the 1970s than what is being done now. It’s smart, it’s literate, it’s melodic, it’s all about songcraft. Sure, it’s obvious to anyone that kinda knows. But there’s been very little attempt to bridge the gap between those worlds in Nashville, which is kind of unfortunate because there are so many great musicians that aren’t doing bad country music. And they are kind of shut out to a large degree.

On why he decided to release "Behold the Spirit" under his own name instead of past moniker The Paper Hats:

I put out a record under the name the Paper Hats. One of the reasons I wanted to have a recording moniker was David and the Silver Jews. And he was the first person to come up to me at a show about a year and a half ago and he was like, don’t hide behind a bad name. You’ve got a name, why don’t you just be who you are? And I was like, that’s interesting. Because he was literally the guy who inspired me to have a name. Not hide. He was the first person to put that in my head.

On the Silver Jews somewhat sudden final show in 2009:

It kind of felt like playing your last game knowing you’re not going to the playoffs. It was pretty bittersweet, honestly.

By David Malitz  | January 21, 2011; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  In today's Post  | Tags:  William Tyler  
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