I have confession to make. I really like Dave Matthews Band. I always have. Their eclectic blend of alt-rock stylings, pop sensibilities, brilliant musicianship and jam bandesque shows made them national heroes in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Then around the time of my high school years, for reasons I can’t completely explain, DMB morphed into an indie rock punching bag, a symbol of tragic lameness, and my appreciation went underground.
More than decade later, enter indie chameleon Ryler Walker, here to rescue to us all from musical pretentiousness. Walker’s new album, The Lillywhite Sessions, is a radical reimagining of DMB’s lost 2000 record of the same name, which has never been officially released. Exploring his own fondness for Dave Matthews, Walker runs the leaked Lillywhite tapes through his own sonic filter, turning the funky jam sessions into 75 minutes of meditative psychedelic folk and meandering transcendental jazz, with multiple songs extending past the 10-minute mark.
In terms of sheer brilliance, the album could have been cut in half to make a much stronger impact. In terms of concept and heart, Ryley Walker deserves a standing ovation.
Ryan is a writer, editor and vinyl collector currently based in Los Angeles. He started Mini Music Critic in 2017.