Recording artist: The Gentle Guest
Release: Cast Off Your Human Form
Notable tracks: “To Pay The Piper”, “Scatter The Ashes”, “Modern Gods”
Recommendation: Buy the MPs’s, buy a record press and make it into a record. This would sound great on vinyl.
Occasionally the music world is graced with a musician that is obviously born in the wrong era of history, for example a Ray LaMontagne or Michael Bublé come immediately to mind. As much as these acts tend to be somewhat of a novelty, I do believe that there is something that we’re suppose to learn from them – what that is I’m not exactly sure yet though. Maybe it’s to remind us where the original joy for music came from before music labels and concert ticket monopolies got involved. Maybe they’re here to help us keep in mind that music was born on back porches as a way to pass the evening after a hard days work when times were simpler and the world a bit slower. Either way The Gentle Guest is here for us to enjoy today as we rush from point A to point B.
Eric Rykal is the genuine mind behind the madness, an Eau Claire, WI resident (home of Bon Iver as well) who writes songs as though he is Mississippi Delta born and raised in the early 1900′s who has experienced the world twice over and has a mind full of tales and experiences that need to be shared. Some are tales of a wild and carefree youth while others are about realizing that everyone needs to grow up eventually. The main reoccurring theme seems to be mortality, Rykal apparently want to remind us that eventually we’re all going to return to the ground from whence we came but that there’s nothing wrong with causing a little mischief along the way.
Rykal has a knack of telling a grand story along with the uncanny ability to write musical arrangements that matches either the stories freneticism or it’s sorrow. A fine story teller is an aspect of music that is lost on today’s artists who tend to write cryptic lyrics that may only have mean to the songwriter or can have no sensible idea at all. But with The Gentle Guest a listener can’t help but create striking images in their mind while listening to Cast Off Your Human Form as they takes us through a journey into all the pinnacle eras of history. “To Pay The Piper” brings to mind an early 1800′s saloon with dancing girls and Faro tables as it tells the tale of the consequences of getting into debt with an unsavory sort. “Death, She Comes” paints pictures of mobster era Chicago and slick men with smoke wafting from their cigarettes as they wait for some unknown exploit to unfold. “Who Is Gonna Love You”, at first, is a track that feels a little out of place on the album, as it’s an a capella track, but at the same time is not fully unexpected. The only thing that missing from this chain gang track is the sound of sledge hammers hitting stubborn rocks. Each track continues on like this as the tour continues – and be sure to keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle because it’s going to be a wild ride.