Summer Essentials: Tyler Lyle Releases ‘The Native Genius Of Desert Plants’

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If perfect summer soundtracks are your thing, I confidently declare that this is the album for you. The independent second album from Tyler Lyle, The Native Genius of Desert Plants, is out today and is the perfect follow-up to his 2011 indie-folk debut, The Golden Age and The Silver Girl.

This album is mesmerizing and will resonate deep within your soul long after the final song ends. For those unfamiliar, now is the time to ingrain his name in your brain. Tyler Lyle is a poignant, brilliant songwriter, and extremely talented musician currently located in New York City. This is the album I personally predict will catapult his music to the masses this year. Mumford and Sons? Kings of Leon? Watch out, fellas – it’s Tyler Lyle’s turn.

The Native Genius of Desert Plants–streaming currently on PopMatters and available for purchase via Bandcamp–is overall lovely, delightful, and surpassed my already high expectations. This is what I originally expected John Mayer’s 2012 folk album Born and Raised to sound like, but it didn’t. Not even close. Tyler’s sound is what you would get if Ben Howard lost his accent, Walk The Moon took it down a few decibels, John Mayer’s vocal chords healed and those three artists locked themselves in a studio together for a year.

Lyle created this album from a massive catalog of songs he wrote over three years while living in LA and completed the production and final touches upon his move to New York City in the Fall of 2014. I knew instantly what I loved about this album upon first listen, so I was curious to know what Lyle loved about the behind the scenes creation of it.

“My favorite part of creating this album was working with my phenomenal band,” Lyle shares. “I met with the producer early on and he said it might make sense to track everything in two full-day sessions with a band. I was skeptical, but the band was all NYC session players who had worked with legendary musicians, and right away I knew I was in good hands. They were awesome. That was my favorite part.”

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He has also stated that, to his ears, the album sounds like “both coasts in the best sort of way.” I have to agree. The influence from both coasts is evident in a watertight combination of when desert/beach life collide with chaotic big city life. It is an incredibly beautiful pairing that most artists never have the chance to attempt if they haven’t had the opportunity to call both coasts home. Every song flows into the next unblemished while also giving each track the ability to be played just as memorably unaccompanied. Lyle’s musical style is timeless and the album has the ability to be enjoyed start to finish and on repeat with the intent of listening to each and every tune but can also be enjoyed as soothing background music as well.

For summer 2015, I declare that this is the must hear and must have album. It is perfect for a summer night with a bonfire crackling in the foreground, for a beach day while splashing amongst the waves. It’s perfect for a scenic drive or a picnic or simply laying outside in the sun. It’s perfect for reflecting, for listening, for a slow dance at dusk, and for a first kiss. It’s perfect for cranking up and for playing low. This album is perfect at any volume, any purpose, any time – perfect and timeless.

I wanted to get into Lyle’s brain a bit and dig into what makes this work important to him as well as the meaning behind the album title.

“The native genius of desert plants is that they can survive. I left my home in the south in 2011 and moved to LA with a broken heart, but I spent nearly four years growing and learning and working as a professional songwriter,” Lyle explains. “I met my wife. I found my happiness. I found my way out of the desert, so to speak. These songs are what I pillaged from LA before moving to New York in the Fall. If you’re not familiar with the folk genre, I’ve tried to make it as accessible as possible without dumbing it down. My goal was to make it impossible for you to dislike every song on the album, no matter where you come from, while still making the voice completely my own.”

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Tyler Lyle is playing an album release show TONIGHT at Mercury Lounge in New York City. Tickets are still available here. He will also be going on a summer tour, kicking off in July. Head over to his website for dates and tickets. Enjoy his album and pick up your copy today!

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