2022 has been packed with albums, so its easy to overlook a gem or two in the constant stream of news, noise, and general chaos of the year. The end of the year has also proven a hard spot to snag ears as everyone’s often decided that their minds have been made up in the rush to quantify a year that’s still got two good months hanging on it. So we come to Stephen Bailey’s new album G.G. Ryder. Bailey’s been better known as the voice behind Aussie psych outfit Mt. Mountain. Parallel to those works, though, he’s also been making solo records under his own name. The records have varied in tone, but often find themselves in some manner of psych-pop soup that’s a cooler counterpoint to his the Mountain.
For G.G. Ryder, he takes a tonal shift and embraces ‘70s folk rock, Country, and psych-folk, imbuing the album with a breeziness that pins the obvious J.J. Cale nods and Bobby Charles charms, mixing them with deeper dives towards New Riders, Kenny Knight and psych excursions that scrape Träd, Gräs och Stenar via Kikagaku Moyo. On past albums Bailey’s come close to some of the same touchstones, but they’ve also felt like he was still getting his footing. On G.G. Ryder, the corners of his consciousness come together into a quilt that’s meticulously made, but deceptively simple on the surface. The record feels familiar at every turn, but weaves into the kind of slightly eccentric ‘70s tributary by an artist that only picks up its due 30 years on — traditional enough to grab the mainline fans, but crackling with enough diversions to keep the heads happy. Hoping that it doesn’t take a few decades for this to get its accolades, but it has all the earmarks of a lost classic ready to be discovered. Get in on the ground floor.
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