“Ancient Wind” is the new single release from California based singer, songwriter, and band leader T.J. Doyle. Since his 2009 debut, has toured extensively, garnered awards for his musical art, and played plum gigs at legendary venues like the Roxy in Los Angeles, among others. He has established quite a reputation over the past decade and, as a standalone single or part of a larger release, “Ancient Wind” is an impressive personal statement and entertaining musical release. It will appeal to Doyle’s wide existing fan base, without question, and impress any newcomers to his music enough they will come back for more.
Doyle’s voice has invited comparisons to icons like Neil Young, but I think it is closer in spirit to Tom Petty or Bob Dylan, if we must have reference points. His vocal is invested with a smattering of echo that brings a little extra atmosphere to the performance but, undoubtedly, it won’t have any such affectations in live performance. He does an excellent job of elevating the song’s fine lyric several notches without ever striking an overwrought note and his voice has great interplay with the song’s instrumentation.
The aforementioned lyrics are written with an economical eye, but nonetheless sparkle with intelligence and emotional weight. I like how he poses many lines in the form of questions; it would be all too easy for him to adopt a strident point of view for this song but Doyle resists the temptation to do so and, instead, puts a great deal of effort into making the lyrical material reflect his abiding concern for the song’s subject.
The musical arrangement is another highlight. It has the feel of being recorded “live” with all of the musicians sharing the room and laying down the track. Doyle and his collaborators are obviously well acquainted with each other and there’s an effortless give and take between them throughout the recording that makes this song sound easy rather than belabored and sweated over. Guitarist Tim Pierce is an important ingredient in what makes the song work so well and his solo near the conclusion is one of the track’s high points overall.
I am a big fan of the song’s overall sound. Doyle and his cohorts have obviously spared nothing in attempting to capture this track in a professional and high quality manner; he may be an “indie” artist, but there’s nothing about the song’s sound that strikes me as “indie”. “Ancient Wind” is the latest high point in a musical and songwriting career that has seen Doyle building a greater and greater reputation with each successive release. He is an artist with a great deal of nuance, but likewise one committed to delivering his message in a clear and unambiguous fashion. I look forward to hearing more music from Doyle and applaud his efforts.
by: Heather Savage