05.07.2015 - 05.08.2015
Ryley Walker with Brothers Lazaroff
The Luminary presents Ryley Walker with Brothers Lazaroff Thursday, May 7. Doors 8:00 pm, show 9:00 pm. Tickets $10 adv, $12 dos. Buy tickets.
Ryley Walker is the reincarnation of the true American guitar player. That’s as much a testament to his roving, rambling ways, or the fact that his Guild D-35 guitar has endured a few stints in the pawnshop. Swap out rural juke joints for rotted DIY spaces and the archetype is solidly intact. His personal life might be tumultuous and his residential status in question, but his bedrock is disciplined daily rehearsal and an inexhaustible wellspring of song craft.
Raised on the banks of the ol’ Rock River in northern Illinois, Ryley’s early life doesn’t give us much more than Midwestern mundanity to speak of. Things start to pick up for young Walker when he moves to Chicago in 2007 and briefly attempts a collegiate lifestyle as he storms the always fecund local noise scene with his Jasmine-brand electric guitar; just a cheap knock-off from which he could coax unearthly sound hallucinations. A few years of wasted finger-bleeding basement shows variably under the names Heatdeath and Wyoming (with requisite cassette-only releases) firmly established his name locally, if not always positively.
Ryley transitioned slowly into the finger-style artist we know today in 2008 and 2009, still opening for synth nerds in basement venues, but growing by leaps and bounds in virtuosity. He perfunctorily maintained day jobs with frequently amusing results, famously getting fired from Jimmy John’s for practicing in the walk-in freezer. By 2011, at age 21, he finally began issuing recordings from his already impressive catalog of compositions. Evidence of Things Unseen and Of Deathly Premonitions (with Daniel Bachman) appeared briefly as limited cassette releases. Both efforts were impressive displays of fingerpicking prowess though not fully elaborated documents.
Brothers Lazaroff is a band that melds genres, and they might share brainwaves too.
David and Jeff Lazaroff could be a pair of telepathic siblings. But it's more likely that the brothers' compatibility onstage comes from playing music and writing songs together since their high school days. The duo carried on composing as a team for more than a decade while David lived in Austin, TX, all the while the songwriters continued to develop their roots-driven sound. Currently reunited in St. Louis, the fraternal front men are a staple of the local music scene and draw crowds all over town.
Besides a possible secret language, the brothers are equipped with earnest songwriting and an earthy sound peppered with jazz-inspired riffs and fuzzy solos. The remainder of the quintet they've led for more than 7 years includes Grover Stewart on drums, Teddy Brookins on bass and the most recent edition of Nate Carpenter on keys. Both in the studio and onstage, the evidence is clear that the group has developed an intuition and familiarity that allows each player to create something unexpected.
Whether Brothers Lazaroff is guiding you through a slow-paced ballad or a heady jam, each member of the group stays cohesive and poised to create something ear-catching. The group's fourth and latest release, "Hope, Fear, Youth," lends new songs to the Brothers' repertoire, with melodies bound to get stuck in your head.
The Luminary's Concert Series is sponsored in part by Master Pieza, MELT, and Urban Chestnut Brewing Company.