Music Reviews
Impossible Truth

William Tyler Impossible Truth

(Merge) Rating - 7/10

After years of playing with fellow alt-country bands Lambchop and Silver Jews, William Tyler has released his second solo album, capturing his unique and haunting guitar playing. Impossible Truth conveys Tyler's Nashville via California take on country twang and everything in between. It serves as the folk soundtrack to an interstate drive down old route 66, encapsulating a love of the West and the country spirit. 

Impossible Truth showcases Tyler's impeccable talent, a formable blend of blues and slide guitar. On the record's opener Country of Illusion, Tyler's finger-picking follows the likes of Jimmy Page; wandering the fret board and bringing a hectic but haunting melody into focus. At first, the track gives the impression of sounding like an abstract mess of notes, all fighting to be heard. But as the track begins to gain momentum, the intersecting hum of a pedal steel guitar guides the rambling herd of notes into a cohesive pack; organized and unyielding. Cadillac Desert continues on Tyler's lead in, continuing the momentum he started. This time around, the use of a cello adds to the complexity of his melody; the buzz-saw type of growl and hum of the cello offsets his guitar picking. The melody takes on a strong contrast, where the clam and soothing twang of his guitar strings are suddenly interrupted by the long, droney chord played on the cello. 
In A Portrait of Sarah, a tribute to Tyler's girlfriend, he's able to craft a bright, treble-infused country jive. The track plays like a sped up version of Led Zeppelin's Black Mountain Slide, full of Page-like hammer-on and chord blends. His chord playing in the beginning of the track opens up a progressive groove that will have guitar players' mouths catching flies. Tyler's back and forth fret work culminates in another round of sped up guitar-picking, transitioning from heavy guitar-fingering to attacking chords. The beauty of the arrangement really shines on this track; it's a hell of tribute to be penned in such a fashion. 
Aside from holding talent as a guitar virtuoso, Tyler's skills in arrangement are what really holds this record together. Instead of releasing an album of strictly guitar solos, he's crafted a collection of moody and engaging riffs, filled with experimental harmonies. As with any folk rock album, Impossible Truth covers all the traditional bases of Americana, but go a step further with his instrumentation. With a steadfast attention to his orchestration, it helps to illuminate his musical exploration of the West.