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Yours Truly, The Commuter

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 19, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

After 15 years at the helm of Grandaddy the Modesto, California quintet whose celebrated five-album run started as a project in Lytle s bedroom and took him around the world Jason Lytle returns with a new collection of songs that are at once a continuation of and elaboration on the musical and lyrical ideas he explored in that band. The title Yours Truly, The Commuter tells it all: songs about the treks we all make, from one state to another, from inner lives to outer, and the tolls those travels take. Musically, the dreamy soundscapes mirror the dramatic environment of Lytle s newly-adopted Montana, where the record was written and recorded, while the twang of central California farmland remains in the inflection and phrasings of the Modesto native s unmistakable voice. Electronic flourishes collide with acoustic guitars and soulful piano parts, recreating Lytle s signature electro-lo-fi atmospheres. I wrote all the songs, I engineered the whole thing, I recorded it, I played all the instruments -- this is what I do, says Lytle, and we are glad he s taking passengers on this journey.
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Digital Booklet: Yours Truly, The Commuter
Digital Booklet: Yours Truly, The Commuter
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 19, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Anti
  • ASIN: B001VFDNU2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,773 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It would be easy to discuss this as a natural extension of Grandaddy, since Lytle was the voice in front and the songwriter behind that great band. The claim has been leveled that the last couple recordings from Grandaddy were largely Lytle's efforts anyway, and while I don't know about that (Jim Fairchild has proven himself a songwriter to be reckoned with in his new project All Smiles), I prefer to write about "Yours Truly, The Commuter" simply as what it is: a solo debut.

Jason Lytle has packaged together a loosely knit group of songs that musically and thematically make superb use of his plangent voice and lyrics. There's no obvious story arc to make this a concept album, yet one gets the feeling that the protagonist of the title track, who was "left for dead," is limping his way back home over the course of the entire disc. Lytle's understated pop chops are in excellent form on songs like that one (the opening cut) and "Brand New Sun," the clear college radio single here. As alluded to in the photographs inside, "weird arrangements" are kept to a minimum ("not on this album" declares a handwritten scrap of paper), yet some of his sonic signatures are intact: wordless harmonies and open-ended chords that build a sort of muted majesty, the musical equivalent of autumn light. There is an abiding presence of the natural world in the branches, canyons, and sunburns that populate these songs.

All told, Lytle has produced a memorable album that is one of the early entrants for 2009 "Best of" lists. It's a mellower affair, but cohesive and grounded and the kind of album that makes you want to press play again once it is over. The focus is clearly melody and mood, and Lytle has succeeded on both counts with "Yours Truly, The Commuter."
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Format: Audio CD
Jason Lytle will admit through his lyrics that this is not a triumphant return, but his reemergence back to the indie, alt-country, southwestern music scene is certainly redeeming. Rather than further eulogizing the dissolution of Grandaddy, Jason has reified his talent through his new solo album Yours Truly, The Commuter. Not only is it a lo-fi production continuing the Grandaddy vision of natural wonder surrounded with crunchy guitars and ethereal overtones, but it's also a statement. Lytle, in his pursuit of serenity, is here for the long-haul, not as a rock star, but as an artist.

The overall theme of the album is somewhat a continuation of Grandaddy's What Happened to the Fambly Cat, where Lytle is not subtle about never being able to return to his Shangri-La, geographical or otherwise. The Commuter, however, stresses the classic idea of having the destination matter less than the actual journey, and it is in this journey that Lytle realizes the heroism of the ability to keep pushing on rather than cling to fleeting paradise.

As the album progresses the landscape changes from the typical earthy Grandaddy sound of intertwined guitar, synth and subtle percussion to the takeoff of ethereal chords and extended, up-close confessionals. Plenty of standout tracks on this one; mine include Brand New Sun, Ghost of My Old Dog, Rollin' Home Alone, Flying Thru Canyons and Here for Good. It's an album that gathers an emotional momentum, but soon dissipates, for it's typical of Lytle: all his intention is to make an honest sound, watch it fly around, and then be on his way.
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Format: Audio CD
Let the others dissect the songs one by one with detail on each word in the lyrics.

Not me. I listen to and love music from the ear and the heart. This new production written, produced, sung and played solely by Jason Lytle is as good as Sumday which was a breath of fresh air in a time of moody, repetitive music.

Few artists today are capable of generating really good music. Andrew Bird, Devotcha, and Lytle are among those who break the mold and give us what we really want to hear.
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Format: Audio CD
Jason Lytle and his album "Yours Truly, The Commuter" is a welcome return from a tremendous songwriter, previously with Grandaddy, with an album that makes me feel the wonder that it is to be young again, staring at the stars on a warm summers night, scared and excited for what might be.

His songs seem to reveal a vulnerability, a certain honesty that you seldomly hear in music. I think what first grabbed me to his writing is that the music is dreamy, yet sad, and the lyrics range from complex to comical. You get the sense that his music is his interpretation of his daily life and I can say I am glad to share it again.

I highly recommend this to anyone.
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Format: Vinyl
This record rocks, and shows a great follow up to grandaddy's last record- "Just Like the Fambly Cat". Lytle's unmistakable voice makes this record recognizable, but a departure from the grandaddy days.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a brilliant solo record by any measure, especially knowing it's just Lytle alone do everything. The songwriting is incredible as expected from him, and there's also a positive under-current to it. Obviously, some people don't care much for lo-fi recording, as if it's not really music without a professional producer & recording studio. Myself, I love both ways of recording, and great music is great music, pro studio or not. Either way, give it a chance, it's definately a worthwhile record.
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