Our featured artist this month is Tyler Edwards. Described as, “…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.” – IndieMusicReviews.net
He just released his debut full-length album called, “A Few Good Hearts” and played at Neumos for his album release with ALKI and Ghost Ship. Ballard VOX caught up with Tyler at his Vinyl Listening Party downtown for some awesome photos of a great evening with great music. Check out our Q&A with Tyler below and also check out his website tyleredwardsmusic.com for news on upcoming shows as well as links to download and purchase his new album!
Introductions. Who are all the members and what do they do?
My name is Tyler Edwards, and I play guitar and sing songs, mostly ones that I write. My band can change depending on the setting, but when we do a full band show the members consist of Bill Panks (violin), Aleida Gehrels (viola), Devin Daniels (electric guitar), Luke Minnich (bass), and Ben Libay (drums).
Back Story on where you are from and how you got to Ballard?
Well, I was born and raised in Florence, SC. I moved to Seattle in 2015 to pursue music as a singer/songwriter. The people and music in Ballard certainly clicked with me. My very first show was at a coffee shop called Grumpy D’s and that opened up the door to play at The Sunset and Tractor. Ballard is also home to most of my favorite places to eat. So, it just kept drawing me in.
How did you start writing/playing music? Is your whole family musical?
I started playing music in high school at church. I have no doubt that it sounded pretty horrible, but I was convinced that music was what I had to do. I put together a band for the youth group, and other churches would ask us to come play. That kinda sparked me wanting to tour and play music at different places. As I got tired of the songs we knew pretty quickly, I started writing my own, the other plus side is no one can say that you are playing a song you wrote wrong haha. My family has hints of musical roots but mainly a deep appreciation of music.
First Instrument? Favorite instrument?
Guitar and I would still say it is my favorite instrument.
What are you looking forward to the most this year? What’s next?
Releasing and sharing new music is always very exciting. It feels great to finally have all that finished. The next thing is to start booking some tours. So once we have finished the local release, I am excited to get back out on the road.
Favorite musicians/Groups? Records?
mmm… Tom Petty (Damn the Torpedoes), Bruce Springsteen (Nebraska), Gregory Alan Isakov (This Empty Northern Hemisphere), Ryan Adams (Heartbreaker), Jon Foreman (Limbs and Branches).
Describe your sound in your own words…
I would say I am a bit of an alchemist. I try to mix in things I like from different interests of mine… so rock, folk, poetry, blues… my southern roots certainly come through that highlight a country flare. I really care about the lyrics. That’s sorta of the outline and core, then I like to color the song in with different elements of music I like.
Describe your new album and what vibe/story if any you are trying to convey to the listener…
My new record feels like a snapshot of the past two years of my life. I dug really deep to push myself as a writer and uncover songs. Sometimes as songwriters, we feel like we have to create something. So, I tried really hard to discover something. I would only commit to what I wrote when it felt inspired. There are always elements of myself in the song, but it is really fun when the song doesn’t feel like a mirror. Sound wise… you can expect a journey that blends rock, folk, americana, and country.
Where do you find inspiration for writing these songs?
Inspiration is a funny thing. It can be a phrase you hear, a story you hear, or a story you are living. Songwriting is like catching lightning in a bottle.
Can you describe your creative process?
Typically, I looking for a melody and phrase. Both have to catch me as interesting. Then I start wood carving and trying out different things. There is a bell in my head like an alarm when something is not right. I try to write and rework until that stops ringing. Sometimes it stops… sometimes you gotta let go. It’s a funny process of trying to create freely but also being honest with yourself. Is this good? That is a tough question sometimes. Ultimately only you can answer that for yourself; sometimes you need another opinion.
What are your favorite songs to perform and why?
My favorite song to play solo on acoustic is A Few Good Hearts. I believe every single line in that song. With the band… I think Southern Belle is fun because the crowd catches the melody easily and sings along. And then my favorite song to jam is Talk So Tough. That song quenches my love of southern rock.
What are your musical influences?
Anything I hear totally influences me. I have to be careful to not listen to too much of one. Because I want to recreate everything I hear.
Name a Local artist that has influenced you and why?
Fleet Foxes… I love their blend of harmonies and unique instrumentation.
Any side projects/music collaborations happening?
Nothing really, sometimes I get the itch to have a Southern Rock cover band. But we will see if I get some free time. I already got the name… but we will wait for all of that.
What kind of show do you want to give the crowd? Describe a performance that was memorable…
I always want to give a show that is genuine, fun, and meaningful. The perfect show makes the crowd and performer feel connected… like we learned something from each other. I love telling stories and hearing stories. I love when a room is dead silent, and I love when a room is filled with laughter and dancing.