Ryley Walker

Ryley Walker (born July 21, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist from Rockford, Illinois.[1]

Ryley Walker
Ryley Walker performs at Heineken Jazzaldia in Spain on July 22, 2016
Ryley Walker performs at Heineken Jazzaldia in Spain on July 22, 2016
Background information
Born (1989-07-21) July 21, 1989 (age 33)
Rockford, Illinois
OriginChicago, Illinois
GenresIndie folk, psychedelic rock, blues, blues rock
Occupation(s)Songwriter, musician
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
LabelsPlustapes; Whistler; Dead Oceans; Tompkins Square; Drag City; Thrill Jockey; Husky Pants


Walker, and critics, have cited the band Genesis and singer-songwriter Nick Drake as early influences.[2]

Walker began his career in Chicago's independent music scene after moving there in the early 2010s, releasing several cassette EPs and a vinyl EP.[3] In 2014, he released his debut album for the Tompkins Square label, and followed it early in 2015 with Primrose Green released on Dead Oceans.[4] Backing musicians Walker employed on Primrose Green include several noted Chicago jazz and experimental musicians such as Fred Lonberg-Holm.[5]

Also in 2015, Walker released an instrumental album, recorded in collaboration with fellow Chicago musician Bill MacKay [de], entitled Land of Plenty. It was recorded live during a January 2015 residency at The Whistler nightclub in Chicago. The songs on the album were taken from the last two shows of the residency, on January 25 and 30. MacKay's guitar was recorded on the left channel and Walker's guitar was recorded on the right channel. Their instruments converge in the center. MacKay played 6-string guitar, requinto and glass slide, while Walker played 6 & 12-string guitars. The album's sound was described as fingerstyle ballads, psychedelic waltzes, and raga-inspired blues.[6] The duo's second album, Spiderbeetlebee, was released by Drag City in 2017. MacKay performs in Walker's live band, from 2017 or earlier through 2021[citation needed] and has also played on at least one of Walker's other records.[citation needed]

On August 19, 2016, Walker released his fourth solo album, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, which was yet another change in his evolving sound.[7] His fifth is Deafman Glance, released in May 2018. Walker released The Lillywhite Sessions, an album of covers of the aforementioned Dave Matthews Band album. In 2021 Walker released Deep Fried Grandeur, a live album with the Tokyo band Kikagaku Moyo, and Course in Fable, his sixth solo album of original music, both on his own Husky Pants Records label.[8][9][2]

Walker has, as of 2021, released two albums with Chicago-based jazz drummer Charles Rumback [de]. The first, Cannots, was released by Dead Oceans in 2016. Little Common Twist was released by Thrill Jockey in November 2019.

As of 2021, recently Walker had gotten sober and had moved from New York City to Vermont.[9][2] As of 2022, Walker had moved back to New York.[10]




  • The Evidence of Things Unseen (Plustapes, 2011)
  • Of Deathly Premonitions (with Daniel Bachman) (Plustapes, 2011)
  • West Wind (Tompkins Square, 2013)
  • So Certain EP (Husky Pants Records, 2022)


  1. ^ Jessica Hopper. "Ryley Walker looks, sounds beyond his years". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Kinney, Fergal (April 5, 2021). "Ryley Walker: 'Going two days sober was impossible since I was a kid'". The Guardian. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  3. ^ Thom Jurek. "Ryley Walker | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  4. ^ "Ryley Walker: Primrose Green | Album Reviews". Pitchfork.com. March 3, 2015. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  5. ^ "Review: Ryley Walker, 'Primrose Green'". Npr.org. March 2, 2015. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Bill MacKay & Ryley Walker "Land of Plenty"". whistlerchicago.com. August 1, 2015. Archived from the original on October 5, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  7. ^ "Ryley Walker Performs a Great Leap Forward". thelineofbestfit.com. August 8, 2016. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  8. ^ "Ryley Walker". Ryley Walker. 2021. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Farnsworth, Chris (June 30, 2021). "Ryley Walker Talks Moving to Vermont and His New Album". Seven Days. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  10. ^ "INTERVIEW: Ryley Walker | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East". narcmagazine.com. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  11. ^ Thom Jurek. "Primrose Green – Ryley Walker | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  12. ^ "Charles Rumback & Ryley Walker – Cannots". discogs.com. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "CHARLES RUMBACK & RYLEY WALKER". thrilljockey.com. Retrieved November 8, 2019.

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