Early in his career, Ryley Walker was known mainly as an amazing fingerstyle guitarist.
With his 2015 breakthrough, “Primrose Green,” he showed he was more than just that, creating an album that combined pastoral folk and jazz in the style of early Van Morrison.
His latest album, “Golden Sings That Have Been Sung,” features musicians from Chicago’s experimental jazz scene and includes Walker’s most personal — and funniest — lyrics yet.
amNewYork spoke with the 27-year-old musician.
You’ve said it’s more important to you to be known as a songwriter than a guitar player. Why does that matter to you?
Guitar playing is just wankery. A nice song with all the elements combined is meat and potatoes, baby. A hearty meal.
You have called yourself a fraud as a guitar player. What do you mean by that?
Just in jest. I mostly don’t see myself in these enclaves of guitar shredders though.
What made you decide to go in a more personal direction with these new songs?
The desire to make a better record is probably the biggest reason. [It] just makes for an album that can be revisited. I don’t think this one did quite as well as the last, but I’m much happier with the results.
There seems to be a sense of nostalgia on the album for a time that wasn’t so long ago. Is that a feeling you often get?
Lately I get nostalgic for my early 20s. I was really hungry for music then. I’m getting a bit older and more tired now. I used to devour any sort of culture I can. Now, I just make my own music and keep to myself a lot. It’s great.