Published on October 18th, 2012 | by Ballard Lesemann0
CD Review: Tyler Boone
Changing Pace (King City)
Singer/guitarist Tyler Boone, a Goose Creek native, is still a rookie musician at 22, but he certainly has a ton of music biz experience under his belt already. His independently produced five-song disc Changing Pace reflects Boone’s increasing maturity, both as a musician and as a songwriter.
Boone has performed and recorded with various bands over the last five years, and he’s booked, promoted, and produced a pile of shows and benefit concerts for colleagues and touring acts. While finishing up his college work in Columbia at U.S.C. over the last two years, Boone eventually focused more intensely on composing and documenting his own music.
Last year, Boone released his debut EP, a low-budget session titled A New Start. Earlier this year, he aimed for a higher production style and booked time at Ocean Industries studio on James Island with local engineers Jeff Leonard Jr. and Eric Rickert. The sound quality and performances on A New Start were fairly basic and straight-ahead, but the glossier production on Changing Pace is considerably more confident, dynamic, radio-ready.
Changing Pace, dedicated to the memory of Boone’s late manager Johnny Diamond, contains some of young songwriter’s toughest and richest compositions to date. Some lean more toward a contemporary groove-heavy pop-rock style (a la John Mayer or the Wallflowers), while others rock with elements of traditional blues-rock, New Orleans-style funk, and modern twists of Southern rock.
Lead-off song “Don’t Forget My Name” kicks things off on a mellow, acoustic guitar-driven verse on which Boone’s liquid-toned singing overlaps from line-to-line (it’s a clever overdub). The song gradually gains momentum with additional percussion (mostly congas from Tidal Jive’s Spoda Alvarez), subtle organ chords, and electric guitar. Romantic and steady, “Don’t Forget My Name” might be one of the most thoughtfully arranged numbers in the bunch.
The three members of Boone’s core backing band — bassist John Fletcher, guitarist Dan Rainey, and drummer Arthur “IV” Young — provided the basic tracks on all of Changing Pace, and they all sound solid and tasteful throughout. The dual-guitar interplay between Boone and Rainy resembles the balanced texture of classic double-guitar acts like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Rolling Stones, and Television. Their rhythm and lead parts complement each other nicely.
A Meters-like snare shuffle opens “Stuck Between” before the full band launches into a funky 4/4 beat. Some of their finest Hendrix-esque licks (by way of Stevie Ray, perhaps) pepper and propel the transitions between Boone’s hushed, straightforward verses.
The anthemic “Home,” one of the most poppy tunes of the collection, revolves around Boone’s strummy acoustic guitar with elegant harmonies from guest vocalist Emily Everett. Guest violinist Brent Price provides a beautiful violin with Entropy Ensemble pianist Andrew Walker’s piano chiming in the background. The sleeve notes mention that Mark Bryan (of Hootie and the Blowfish) helped Boone arrange the additional tracks.
Jon Hager’s keyboard work enhances the funky rhythms and riffy guitars of “All of This,” another one of the album’s steps toward a modern pop-rock style. In a serious tone and breathy delivery, Boone sings “Wherever you are/whatever you do/I’m always right here, right here with you,” on every chorus. It’s a bit syrupy, but it works.
Trumpeter Ron Mendola and alto sax player Andy Childs provide a full horn section sound on the funky closing track “Put it Down,” the most playfully syncopated and convincingly soulful song on Changing Pace. Boone’s voice radiates joy and passion in the soaring choruses. The distorted tone of the extra lead guitar is a little thin, and the riffage seems a bit excessive. But taking a stab at this kind of jazzy jive is a bold move for such a young combo; they pull it off like seasoned pros.
Changing Pace is impressively consistent — musically, sonically, and lyrically. It’s a major step ahead for Boone as a budding songwriter and bandleader. Not long ago, he was dabbling around, trying to find his voice and sound. With this affable collection, he’s closer than he’s ever been.
Tyler Boone and his band released Changing Pace on King City Records on Oct. 9. They co-headline a King City Records showcase at the Tin Roof in West Ashley on Nov. 3 at 9 p.m. with Wrenwood, Harrison Ray, and Loners Society.
Visit tylerboonemusic.com for more.
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