To say that TJ Doyle and his eponymous band are having quite the year in 2019 would be an epic understatement to say the least, and in their most recent release “Ancient Wind,” they amalgamate a sea of textured melodies into a singular jam that, in more ways than one, captures the soul of Doyle’s identity as a songwriter better than anything he’s released to us prior has. Simply put, Doyle lets go of every inhibition in this track and dispenses some of the most cathartic vocals I’ve heard him record in his career thus far (which is nothing to scoff at for those who’ve heard his incredible past works).

Much like his last single, the tender “Lullaby,” “Ancient Wind” has a classic rock stylization, but I wouldn’t call it a throwback by any means. There’s an original edge to the arrangement of the string parts, a contemporary mix to even out all of the color in Doyle’s vocal and the adjacent drumming, and a very surreal quality to the harmonies that transcends the concept of musical eras altogether. This song makes sense for listeners both young and old, and that’s not exactly the easiest balance to strike nowadays.

This isn’t nearly as poppy as I was expecting it to be (once again, based on my perception of his last release), but that’s not a bad thing at all. Doyle is getting a little closer to his electrifying rock n’ roll roots in this track, and while he’s shown an interest in giving us just as much spice as he has sugar in previous cuts, this is definitely a song that leans a little more on the former than it does the latter. As a fan myself, I think that it’s one of the best sounds he’s showed off in a long time.

SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/tjdoylemusic/ancient-wind-single

I would love to hear “Ancient Wind” in an open-air venue with a slightly bigger band behind TJ Doyle. It’s got great bones and could easily be manipulated into an extended, multifaceted jam, which isn’t to say that it underwhelms us in this capacity at all. Doyle has a charismatic energy that he brings with him to virtually every song that he records, and in this sense, this latest single is no different. What I think sets it apart is its forward-thinking, almost experimental foundation; this guy is looking ahead, and he’s making a statement about where he wants to go in this song.

Longtime fans are going to be particularly pleased with what TJ Doyle has assembled for us in “Ancient Wind,” which I would argue is just as strong – if not a touch stronger – a release as the much-lauded “Lullaby” was. There aren’t a lot of artists making the kind of singer/songwriter folk-rock this man and his very talented band are in 2019, but that said, he’s filling a void in the American pop lexicon that has been left empty for far too long. This is a reminder of his epic skills, and moreover, a preview of what’s still to come.

Michael Rand 

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