Fort Collins has no shortage of great feel-good, jam band-esque artists. But Tyler T. has raised the bar and expanded the genre to a new, virtually untouchable level on Wild Flower.
The album kicks off with the open tuned, percussive, fingerstyle laced “Feather in the Wind,” a free-love theme that builds from start to finish adding drums, electric guitar and mandolin as it progresses: a perfect prelude of what’s to come.
Wild Flower features so many different instruments that it’s hard to keep track. In addition to Tyler’s signature vocal rasp, the record boasts both acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, banjo, organ, saxophone, flute, dobro, and two notable staples of every Tyler T. show: marimba and didgeridoo, provided by Tyler himself.
Another key track on Wild Flower is “Neanderthal Man,” a storytelling tune a la the early ‘60s folk of Harry Nielsen, chronicling the life of a caveman, metaphorically taking him from The Flintstones to the modern struggles within American politics. It’s worth noting that said Neanderthal man’s significant other is a “hairy legged stocky looking firewood gathering thing,” a nod to Tyler T.’s creative folklore-esque lyrical style.
Appropo, Wild Flower has somewhat of a central theme: true love. The melancholy “Take Me With You” speaks of love that is soon to be lost, while the title track, “Stone Tree” and “Away From it All” suggest a deeper, more comfortable place in the songwriters’ life.
The album’s true highlight, though, is Tyler T.’s profound skillset as a ridiculously talented multi-instrumentalist. “Tzumbertiade” and “Alley-Oop De-Loop” are clear examples that he’s not only a world-class singer-songwriter in the folk/jam scene, but well-versed in numerous instruments, making him a force to be reckoned with in progressive music as well.
Catch Tyler T at Equinox Brewing in Fort Collins from 6-8pm on Saturday, January 11, and in Longmont on January 30 at the Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom from 5:30-8:30pm. Check out tylertmusic.com for more.