Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


Silver Jews: Live at WFMU, with William Tyler

8 Sep 2014

silver jews, courtesy of aquarium drunkard

In honor of September 8, Aquarium Drunkard has posted an old Silver Jews song, from a session they did at WFMU back in 2008. It features our old friend William Tyler, who played for us last August:

On September 8, 2008, David Berman rolled his touring band into WFMU‘s New Jersey studio to record a live set for Benjamin Walker’s show. Berman — who by this point had played live less than a hundred times in his band’s twenty year career — sounds like his pre-Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea self; the sense of confidence that rings through that record is suddenly notable for its absence here. But his crackerjack band, which includes experimental guitarist William Tyler, spitshine the lo-fi off that back catalogue, giving Starlite Walker standout “Trains Across the Sea” the trad-Nashville sheen it never knew it needed. Less than four months later, Silver Jews would be no more.

A doozy indeed. Listen here, or check out the whole session at the Free Music Archive.

Heath Breakdown: Grimes, a three time Pro Bowler, is the only established veteran in this unitIt is conceived and led by Tate Modern’s Assistant Curators, in dialogue with Tanya Barson, Curator. And, judging by Datoc exclusive focus on Mosby physical appearance at a Friday press conference, where she announced that she will press criminal charges against six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, being called smokeshow is meant to diminish the nation youngest urban top prosecutor as she takes a momentous stand against police brutality. That said, you certainly. Leading the trio is Atsuto Uchida who transferred to German side Schalke, while Yuto Nagatomo inked a deal with newly promoted Italian Serie A side Cesena. David Beaty, science manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,

Guitarist William Tyler on Randy Travis, Cadillac Deserts and the Power of Nostalgia

23 Jul 2013



William Tyler
with $3.33
8pm | August 6, 2013
Highland Annex, Marfa, Texas
$5 at the door

Listen to Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at Ten radio interview with William Tyler on Tuesday, August 6, at 10 am on KRTS 93.5 FM or via their online stream.


In the early ‘60s a number of Western musicians began turning on to the mesmerizing sound of Indian ragas. The Beatles and Led Zeppelin are the most widely-known of these dilettantes, while composers like Terry Riley, La Monte Young, Simone Forti and Catherine Christer Hennix went all in, bringing transcendent drone concepts to the West as disciples of the luminous Hindustani singer and teacher Pandit Pran Nath. Likewise, sitarist Ravi Shankar found a new constituency among Western hippies, while Brij Bhushan Kabra started playing traditional ragas on guitar for Indian classical audiences.

We find Henry Flynt — self-described “cognitive nihilist,” visual artist and polymathic agent of cultural disruption — in between these two pop and avant-garde camps of early adapters. Flynt had the instinct to blend Hindu and hillbilly aesthetics, flawlessly merging the holy music of India with Western religious music, Southern blues traditions and porchfront finger-picking from Appalachian hollers. The result was the genesis of a new transnational folk music as the hypnotic structures of Indian devotional jams began a 40-year transmutation through guitars, banjos, fiddles, ouds, effects pedals and home-wired electronics by Sandy Bull, Robbie Basho, Peter Walker, John Fahey, Bert Jansch, Daniel Higgs, Jack Rose, Ben Chasny and their cohort.

Nashville-based guitarist William Tyler is a practitioner of such mystical music, and proof that these sounds are still a living, evolving tradition. Tyler’s reputation is well-known outside of his own music: his playing can be heard on records from Will Oldham, Lambchop, The Silver Jews and Charlie Louvin. But it’s on the albums under his own name where he stakes his claim as a member of the illustrious traditions outlined above.

His 2013 album, Impossible Truth, exists as part of this lineage, but avoids the trap of static revival by adding dimensions to the sound that are all his own. In particular he attributes the album’s origin to readings about Southern California, its relationship to apocalypse and ecological disaster as illustrated in Mike Davis’ Ecology of Fear, and the self-involved social dynamics of the Laurel Canyon scene explored in Barney Hoskyns’ Hotel California. He desribes the resulting LP as his “’70s singer-songwriter record; it just doesn’t have any words.”

Marfa-based musician Celia Hollander will be opening for Tyler in her $3:33 guise. Hollander makes electronic compositions that range from meditative pieces for keyboard and treated voice to collaged battle raps from underground YouTube MCs. Her music shares a similar openness to aesthetic cross-breeding, a sound born as much from the ominous heavy-lidded hip-hop of Three Six Mafia as the pastoral digital abstractions of Asa Chang & Junray.

We talked with Tyler earlier this month about his impending visit to Marfa, the visual art that inspires his music and the “Randy Travis Rule” for analyzing the unfolding sense of nostalgia in relation to popular music.

Why did you choose to come to Marfa?

I have been fascinated with Marfa for a while. I used to have a record label that focused on reissues called Sebastian Speaks and one of the artists I worked with was Collie Ryan. She is an incredible painter and singer who self-released some albums in the ‘70s, very astral sounding folk in the Baez/Buffy Sainte-Marie orbit. Collie lives near Terlingua and that got me interested in the region and its history. And then finding out more about the nature of the arts community that resides there and its very remoteness, it all just seemed like an amazing anomaly that I can’t wait to visit for the first time.

William Tyler Posters: In Process

18 Jul 2013

William Tyler posters, in process, by Daniella Ben-Bassat

William Tyler posters, in process, by Daniella Ben-Bassat

We’re gearing up for the William Tyler show on August 6 (did we mention that $3.33 will be opening?), and got a sneak peek at the posters, designed by artist Daniella Ben-Bassat, which are due to arrive next week. They are printed on DENIM. We emailed Daniella about her inspiration for the design:

I really like being able to manipulate whatever I’m going to print on and was feeling a little bit limited by paper. Denim has always been very cool to me and can symbolize a lot of different things and aesthetics — Americana, folk, punk, whatever. I was also looking at some of the shapes from the Gee’s Bend quilts and started messing with those. The blocky patterns reminded me of the Black Flag logo, so I started incorporating that font into the design. It’s always exciting to me when different periods of creative culture and history speak similar visual languages.

And she ps’d us with another influence.

So good. People are cool. We’re lucky to work with artists in all phases of our shows: poster, performance, photography. Triple threat. Check out Daniella’s inspirations for the poster below.