Tyler Edwards – Too Young For Love
Formerly of South Carolina rock band I Anthem, Tyler Edwards forges out on his own with a new sound and a new EP, Too Young for Love. I’m not familiar with the music Edwards was making before this solo stuff, but if it was of a similar quality then I’d love to hear it! This six song release oozes charm and class with tight arrangements, intensely melodic guitar work and powerful songwriting quality of many facets. He’s a little folk, a little country, a little blues, a little soul and a little pop, all wrapped up into a package that favors coherent song-craft over curveballs and complexity.
The intro tune “Headed for the Coast” is a southern-tinged, moving affair where Edwards’ tautly woven guitar melodies coalesce into gorgeous violin accoutrements. It’s hard to pick out influences or comparisons, Tyler’s peaceful odes to country classics resting somewhere between Iron and Wine, Jack White and Johnny Cash. All semblance of peacefulness and Zen is shattered on the locked and loaded, boozy rocker “Calling Me.” It’s not rock n’ roll by traditional standards but it does have the rollicking, careening rockabilly feel on tap with blazing harmonica, high flying guitar lines, banjo plucking and every array of danceable deviations necessary to make it stick in your craw. The frenetic energy here is dangerously in the red and it’s only right that Edwards and the band distills it a notch or two for the somber “Down” and it’s adherence to blistered, gritty blues with a depressing feel and atmospheric flourish. Edwards manages to wring a lot of tunefulness out of this downbeat ode allowing the rich honey of his voice to carry the song while it glides gracefully on the waves serene acoustic guitar hymnals. “Common Ground” sticks to the blues to get its point across but showcases some pop structure in the form of verse/chorus transitions that are harmonically perfect and completely single-worthy. If country radio wasn’t busy peddling the newest Kenny Chesney clone, they’d find a new champion in Tyler Edwards by giving “Common Ground” the airtime it so rightfully deserves. Veering off the main road, “Sail On” hits the gravel path with its numerous bumps, curves and rocky trajectories where the guitar is hard and driving with the violin greasing the wheels of a sad, haunting melody line that only further authenticates the true blues-based nature of Edwards’ music. Closer “Too Young to Love” is also a bleaker piece of work with a chorus that firmly roots itself in pop soil with guitars and instrumental breaks that are of a huskier, roughhewn crop that feels simultaneously stressed and happy.
Too Young for Love is unique in that it doesn’t play to a sole mood like most country/folk/acoustic records tend to do. There are songs that take chances with different pacings, tempos, arrangements and ideals. As a result, Tyler Edwards stays fresh and original with each track and the music never gets boring. Anyone who is looking for some acoustic music done right would do well to check into this EP.
8 out of 10 stars.