William Tyler’s Geography Of Hope

Photo by Chantal Anderson In late January, William Tyler released “Goes West,” an album loosely inspired by his move from Nashville to Los Angeles. Below, the guitarist shares what inspired him to title the album after what is certainly a loaded phrase in American history. The origin of the words “Go West, young man” is unknown. They may belong to newspaper editor Horace Greely, but that’s only speculation. Like the burial place of Robert Johnson or the ride of Paul Revere, the saying has found a home in American mythology. Yet it represents a very specific attitude of the time when it appeared: the mid-19th century and the peak of America’s imperialist aspiration, Manifest Destiny. I moved to California two years ago, and while I can’t say that my new album is explicitly Western in motive or theme, I wanted to honor my move somehow in the album’s title. My friend MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger came up with the idea of calling the record Goes West, which is a pretty bold and direct statement. I am usually in favor of those (I mean, I am the guy who called his last record Modern Country), but it took me…

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