William Tyler Performs ‘Sunken Garden’ For ‘Westerly Sound Sessions’

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Singer-songwriter and guitarist William Tyler recently recorded a video session for Westerly Sound Archives in Westerly, Rhode Island. The troubadour performed the song “Sunken Garden” from his 2016 Merge release Modern Country for Sean W. Spellmen’s ongoing, off-the-cuff video series.

Here’s what Tyler had to say about the session and song as posted by Brooklyn Vegan:

This was shot by Nick my first afternoon ever in Westerly- a beautiful nook of a town whose spirit immediately took me in. It’s the kind of town you might only find on tour if you’re lucky, as I did. Between the sea and the woods- that’s my kind of place to land. The sun was perfect and deliberate in Sean’s studio that afternoon in September.

Sunken gardens are a traditional form of English garden.

The most famous ‘sunken garden’ in America was planted by a plumber in St Petersburg, Florida, in 1903- George Turner. He bought a small lake, drained it, and planted his private dream garden- citrus trees, tropical flowers, walkways. A humid oasis ten feet below the rest of the neighborhood.

The most American thing he could possibly do next was charge admission, and it quickly became one of Florida’s first roadside attractions.

I was thinking of Debussy’s ‘Sunken Cathedral’ when I wrote this piece a few years ago, and I knew I wanted the word ‘sunken’ in the title.

I was also thinking of the gorgeous above ground cemeteries of New Orleans- where the only way to entomb people below sea level was to build the cities of the dead above ground. The other night I watched ‘Easy Rider’ in a hotel very jet lagged, the film builds to a sort of climax in a New Orleans cemetery. The two wandering hippies have one kind of bad trip amongst the graves then a few minutes later a much different bad trip when the harsh reality of rednecks confronts them.

Check out the performance below:

William appeared on an installment of The JamBase Podcast earlier this year. Listen to his “Musical Mentors” segment covering Tyler’s influences, the Grateful Dead, recording his 2019 LP Goes West and more below:

Tour Dates for William Tyler