“Changing Pace”, the 2nd EP by Charleston singer-songwriter Tyler Boone lives up to it’s name. Like the striking front cover graphic and the record title imply, the songs are focused on change, time and direction. Boone writes music in a modern pop/rock style with hints of southern fried acoustic blues sprinkled throughout. Comparisons to another well-known South Carolina band might be made, as one of his musical mentors is Mark Bryan from Hootie and the Blowfish and his influence can be felt on some of these five songs. The first release from the Lowcountry local boutique record label, King City Records, “Changing Pace” shows off Tyler’s great skill at writing songs and his penchant for an introspective, almost sublimely-peaced out delivery that still manages to transport a load of emotional resonance.
The first song, “Don’t Forget My Name”, plays with an almost island rhythm, and some vocal overdubs that catch the listener’s attention. I’m reminded of singer-songwriters like Jack Johnson when I hear Tyler’s intimate moments with just him and guitar playing. The mellow guitar fills and radio-perfect keyboards make this a probable hit with the right exposure. “Home”, the song rightfully chosen to be made into a video, starts folkish and moves into lush, intricately produced pop balladeering. The mournful violins introduced later in the song and great subtle backup vocals by Emily Everett are perfect style choices and this is his signature song right now. Most of the other tracks follow in the same pattern, with the notable exception of the last song, “Put it Down”, which I admit took me a couple of listens to get into. With a wailing electric guitar, funky organ and jazzy horns, it almost doesn’t fit in with the rest of this record, but somehow Boone pulls it all together in a song that will shake you free from any attempts to pigeonhole him, stylistically. I liked the fact that after so many songs that were purely pop driven, Tyler still managed to get my toes tapping without hitting me with hooks right out of the gate. It also hints at a future depth of potential recordings, which is a point in his favor.
“Changing Pace” seems to be the start of something much grander for Boone. This Tyler is a different kind of creator, a genuine young dude with big plans, who is obviously in charge of his future.
Recommended if you like: Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Hootie and the Blowfish