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Ryley Walker Recorded an Entire Album-Length Tribute to Dave Matthews Band’s Lillywhite Sessions

Chicago guitarist and songwriter Ryley Walker recorded a song-by-song tribute to the “lost” Dave Matthews Band album The Lillywhite Sessions—which seems like a bit Walker might throw out on his very funny Twitter feed, next to observations about gas station nacho cheese and scenes of hallucinating P.O.D. guitar tabs on salvia, but is actually just a real thing he did. Walker announced the tribute today as his followup to this year’s very good Deafman Glance, and you can hear his version of Dave’s “Busted Stuff” below.

A little background on The Lillywhite Sessions for those who missed indoctrination into the cult of DMB as youngsters. Matthews and the band recorded it with producer Steve Lillywhite in 1999, but their label didn’t like the dark and knotty songs they turned in. The label shelved it, and the band released the quickly recorded and poorly received Everyday instead. But this was the age of Napster, and the Lillywhite tracks eventually leaked and became fan favorites. Many of them ended up reworked and given an official release on the next DMB studio album Busted Stuff, but plenty of people prefer the originals.

Walker has a reputation as a jokester, and his decision to take on one of the most divisive artists in music certainly has the air of a prank, but he’s clearly coming from a place of love for DMB. In a long and fascinating interview with Stereogum about the new album, he explains that he grew up as a hardcore fan, and that he thinks of version of The Lillywhite Sessions as “a loving tribute.” Still, that doesn’t stop him from radically reinventing the songs—his version of “Busted Stuff” takes the peppy original on a misty and careening journey, with lots of new jazzy Bill Frissell-esque guitar lines, until it sounds of a piece with Deafman Glance. 

The Lillywhite Sessions arrives via Dead Oceans November 16. Hear Walker’s take on “Busted Stuff” below.