Tyler Edwards – Too Young for Love
Tyler Edwards takes the listener on a hayride through the hard country on his debut EP, Too Young for Love. These tunes are practically antiquities, artifacts from a style long thought extinct has modern folk often eschews the legitimacy and heartfelt passion of the Dylan era for pop fervor that lacks the necessary expressionism to make the material work. The soul in Tyler’s sound is evident from the very first track, “Headed for the Coast,” in which Edwards narrates a tale of scenery change over rambling acoustic guitars, stark violin crescendos and vocals that tremble with vibrato. There’s not a complexity to be found here just intricate layers of acoustic sound that build with each passing tick of the clock.
“Calling Me” is a real fireball of triple X lightning in a bottle that ignites the barnyard with harmonica, fiddle, blazing acoustic guitar and vocals that keep the action in foot flingin’ frenzy. The groove is straight from the dirt and everything explodes into a boogie that really packs a wallop. Beyond this point the album settles into a smoky, hickory-flavored folk churn with touches of blues and country rounding things out. “Down” is a bleary-eyed, hazy groove with the acoustic licks keeping a morphine drip pulse as Edwards’ vocals croon as if they’re on their very last leg of life. It’s perhaps the most downtrodden cut on the EP with “Common Ground” lifting the dirty, earthen vibes into a pop-folk number that still possesses a blistering, harder edge. Those acoustic melodies move huge mounds of ground in the verses before unleashing into a full-blown, skyward chorus where Tyler’s pipes have all of the room needed to fly. He brings a share of the darkness back into view on the sunburnt, gold-panning jam “Sail On,” where greasier acoustic grooves and dreary violins push the feelings towards desolation and derelict country pastures. The title track also calls to mind the imagery of abandoned farms, rusted tractors and long gone fields with its barren acoustic riffs giving way to lonely vocals that are sometimes backed by glistening harmonies to help give a fuller, fatter effect to the music. Even when Edwards strips his songs down to the bare sonic bones, he always has just enough going in the background to fill things in and fully flesh the material out.
Too Young for Love is a very nice piece of work with some sturdy melodies, sprawling soundscapes and passionate songwriting. Sometimes, it feels as if the record would benefit from a few more upbeat numbers like “Calling Me.” Edwards is certainly capable of penning material in this vein, but really everything stays in one tempo besides this rare exception. Tyler still excels at working within this framework and summoning a certain mood and texture that sticks with you long after listening, yet it would be nice to hear him spread his wings and flex his muscles with a few more faster numbers on future releases. Whatever the case may be, Tyler Edwards has dropped a well-rounded doozy and from here he can only develop and grow into a greater songwriter.
8 out of 10 stars.