Second job

Interview: Tyler Ramsey splits the difference with Band of Horses
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  January 16, 2008

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Tyler Ramsey is currently touring the country pulling double duty as both a solo singer-songwriter and a recent-addition guitarist in Band of Horses, the South Carolina fuzz-folk fave. On his debut, A Long Dream About Swimming Across the Sea (Echo Mountain), Ramsey evokes fond memories of Red House Painters’ lovesick melancholia while paying able tribute to acoustic-guitar heroes like John Fahey and Leo Kottke. He opens for Band of Horses at the Paradise Wednesday, January 23.

Opening for your own band — don’t you get any sleep?
It’s definitely a really busy schedule all the time, but it also seems like they work well together. Of course, doing the opening slot isn’t gonna happen every time, but I can see it lasting for a while — they kind of go hand-in-hand.

Describe a typical day on the road.
We’ll pull into the town we’re playing and start loading into the club around 2, then start soundchecks. As soon as the band is done soundchecking, everybody else runs off and takes a break, goes and walks around, gets dinner, whatever. But I’ve gotta start checking my stuff then, so pretty much from the time we pull into town I’m busy, hopefully with the exception of an hour or so when I can get the chance to grab something to eat. It’s cool, though: I like getting up on stage before everyone else and then coming back out with the band. By that time I’m like, “Oh, I know these people.” I’m pretty relaxed and can enjoy myself.

Were you worried that joining a buzzed-about indie-rock band would distract folks from your solo work?
Well, the stuff that was happening for my record was sort of already happening when I joined Band of Horses. I’ve read a lot of stuff where it’s like, “Band of Horses guitarist on going solo,” but I was already doing that. It certainly doesn’t hurt having the Band of Horses thing, but it seemed like the solo thing was doing pretty well on its own. I know people were getting advance copies and enjoying it before they knew the Band of Horses thing was happening.

When did you know the Band of Horses thing was happening?
Hmmm, I’m trying to think of the date we started playing together. I think it was sometime in October.

Was it a difficult decision to make?
I kind of thought about it for a little while, then gave my answer really quickly. The main thing was just whether I was gonna be able to push my record enough. [BoH frontman] Ben [Bridwell] asked me to open the last couple of tours, and he’s been super-positive about me doing this record and stuff. But there were a couple seconds there where I was like, “Is this totally gonna put a damper on my record?” I don’t think it has.

What convinced you to join up?
They’re such good guys, and I could tell it’d be a fun band to be in. Plus, I love the music we play in Band of Horses. Being able to play through a giant Fender Super 6 Reverb amp — I enjoy that a lot. My stuff tends to be quieter, so it’s sort of taken care of an itch I’ve needed to scratch for a while. Being in a band, one that’s probably gonna become a collaborative effort, is nice too.

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