Walker, Chicago Ranger

Ryley Walker plays Soda Bar on Friday, Oct. 14

Ryley Walker Press Session 2 3 2016
Tom Sheehan

Ryley Walker, the musical vagabond. Unemployable and uninterested in changing that. He is the epitome of a starving artist.

The Chicago-native’s music is calm and severe, but the singer/songwriter speaks as if he’s a punk-rock artist. His contentedness with sleeping on floors, and, as he put it, “scrap[ing] a few measly dollars off the bulls--- indie-rock totem pole,” has him rugged and sarcastic. “I’ve been fine sleeping on floors my whole life. I don’t want to have a regular job. I’m really happy doing what I do,” he explained as if he had just inhaled an entire pot of coffee.

Touring in support of his latest album, "Golden Sings That Have Been Sung," Walker turns a corner on his usual indie-folk style toward a darker and more mysterious sound -- eight songs that illustrate a hazy cigar bar in Chicago and indie-rock euphoria.

Complementing his style with sullen lyrics on “Funny Thing She Said to Me," Walker effortlessly sings, “You’re chiming in the wrong shade of blue, Saturday night meant nothing, but I know that Sunday was true.” The warm, jazzy overtones display a certain emotional allure.

“I wanted to make slower songs,” Walker said as he explained the six-minute ballad. “We played it live for over a year.”

He laughs, “That song is just f------ depressing; definitely dingy.”

The 27-year-old is set to play Soda Bar on Oct. 14 before he takes off for Joshua Tree to perform at Desert Daze. His last appearance in San Diego was at the former Tin Can Alehouse in 2011. “I slept in a park that night; it was really nice,” he said about his stay in Balboa Park.

A lot has changed since 2011 for Walker, including a world tour and a critically acclaimed album, but he is still the same youthful rapscallion.

“I’m glad to get back there [to San Diego] now and reinvigorate my love of Southern California.”

Musician, people-pleaser, lover, fighter and writer Matthew Craig Burke has been spewing musical words of wisdom since never. He lives off of peanut butter sandwiches, beer and Beck Hansen. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.

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