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Published on September 3rd, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann


The Punch List with Jazz/Funk Guitarist Tyler Ross

Metronome Charleston‘s weekly Punch List puts local musicians on the spot with a questionnaire that touches on music, venues, gear, records, vices, and more. This week, electric guitarist and composer Tyler Ross (of Faces for Radio and the Charleston Jazz Orchestra) has a go.

1. What is your favorite local hang and why? 

“Bowens Island. Oysters, fried seafood, beer. I drop too much money out there every year! I probably shouldn’t say this, but there is usually a massive line of tourists standing in line to order; instead of waiting, grab a seat at the bar, drink a Schlitz, and ask for a menu.”

JAC at GrowFood(TessaBlake)FacesForRadio-375

Tyler Ross on stage with Faces for Radio, 2012 (photo by Tessa Blake, courtesy of the Jazz Artists of Charleston)

2. You know you’ve played an excellent show when…

“When you wish you recorded it … but, of course, the best gigs never get recorded.”

3. What was the last show you attended that really got you fired up in a good or bad way?

“Jeff Mangum at the Charleston Music Hall last winter. Luckily, my buddy Ron Wiltrout offered me an extra ticket. The energy surrounding that show was so infectious. I’ve been blasting Neutral Milk Hotel records in my car ever since.”

4. Define your musical style in exactly 10 words.

“Whenever I rock hardest, somebody comments afterwards, ‘Chill playin’ dude.'”

5. What’s your theme song? 

“When it’s a beautiful day outside and I’m walking down the street, I commonly start whistling ‘Mud Puppy’ by Faces for Radio [click audio track below]. I’d been doing this since I was 16 or so. A couple years ago, I was biking downtown when I realized, ‘Shit, maybe I wrote this melody?’ I went home, put some chord changes to the tune, and Faces for Radio has been playing it ever since.”

6. Gear-wise, what’s your irreplaceable baby?

“My Koentopp guitar. Dan Koentopp is a guitar builder in Chicago. He is mostly known for building arch-top guitars, but he recently started building some instruments with a Telecaster-style body. We had many lengthy conversations about the specifics of the guitar prior to the building process. Now, I have my one-of-a-kind beautiful blonde flamed maple axe.”

7. What’s the most overplayed album in your collection?

“Gillian Welch’s Time (The Revelator). You know that warm nostalgic feeling some records give you? I had that feeling with this album the first time I heard it and each time since.”

8. When was the last time you were genuinely star-struck?

“I was at Lambeau Field for a Green Bay Packers game last December [in Wisconsin], and Wee-man from Jackass was seated two rows behind me. I had run into him before on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. He gave me a hug and said he remembered me. It was sweet!”


Faces for Radio (L to R): Tyler Ross, Stuart White, Gerald Gregory, and Ben Wells (photo by Nicole Ponton)

9. What’s your poison?

“I like beer.”

10. In 10 years, I will be…

“Everything I quick-think of belongs on a Hallmark card or painted on a piece of wood hanging in some sweet old lady’s kitchen. I guess I’ll go with: hopefully, in 10 years, from time to time, I’ll remember to take a walk on the beach or in the woods by myself and reconsider that same question.”

When he’s not teaching guitar at the College of Charleston, Tyler Ross enjoys composing original pieces, collaborating with experiment-minded musicians, strumming a variety of styles with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, and getting funky with mostly instrumental quartet Faces for Radio.

Since forming in 2010, Ross and his Faces for Radio bandmates — drummer Stuart White, bassist Ben Wells, and keyboardist Gerald Gregory — have delivered dynamic and deeply groovy sets based on a jazz-funk-fusion foundation. Their latest slab is an independently produced LP titled Washout.

Faces for Radio opens for Asheville, N.C.-based trio Jonathan Scales Fourchestra at the Pour House on Thurs. Sept. 5 at 9 p.m.

Ross will join in during the Mike Quinn Super Funk show at the Pour House on Fri. Sept 6. He’s also on board for a College of Charleston Faculty Jazz Quintet concert at the Simons Center’s Recital Hall on Mon. Sept. 9.

On Sat. Sept. 21, Ross will perform at the Charleston Music Hall with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra during Latin Night: The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Co-presented by independent musical nonprofit the Jazz Artists of Charleston (JAC), the event will feature two individual concerts at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. The 20-piece ensemble will explore the lively and complex works of Brazilian composer and pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Visit for more.

      1. ‘Mud Puppy’ by Faces for Radio



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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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