“No matter who he performs with—and he plays with quite a cross-section of acts in Madison’s music community—your eye is always drawn to Kyle Rightley on stage. The lanky guitarist hovers above his bandmates like a sky dancer, one of those inflatable waving tube men you see in front of used car lots. Of course it’s not his tall, wide-eyed good looks that get him gigs. It’s versatility and something extra he says he’s always had: musical empathy.” - Andy Moore
“[Rightley's] new solo effort, The Hum, does include some Americana elements but they are employed as one piece of what as a whole is a very impressive mixing of varied musical styles — often smoothly juxtaposed in the same song. No matter the style, Rightley's empathetic and aware storytelling is always at the fore.”
“The Hum is hard to summarize. Slide guitar slices to the quick, chamber-pop brass elevates poignant disappointments into elegant hesitation...Rightley’s perceptive lyrics unify the album’s encyclopedic styles” - John Noyd
“…windswept folk guitar trimmed in mandolin and graced with a clear calm voice.” - John Noyd
“…rooted in traditional Americana that resembles political forebearers like Joan Baez or Willie Nelson.”
“Low guitar notes cut through the sound of falling rain in the opening lines of "Song for the Flatirons," a pretty and wistful highlight of Kyle Rightley's latest EP. Titled The Bleak, Barbarian Pines, the album is the Madison artist's sophomore solo release, but it doesn't sound like the work of a green musician.” - Julia Burke
"Seawolf 7-6, the mesmerizing Rightley-Martin song, is one of 14 powerful and moving performances on “The Last Thing We Ever Do.” Rightley weaves together the magical revelations of Martin, who, he writes, “came back to a country that didn’t understand me.”
“I labored over the lyrics,” said Rightley, a multi-instrumentalist who won the 2018 Madison Area Music Association Award for Country/Bluegrass Album of the Year.
He met Martin only through long-distance calls to hear his story. The two continued to confer by email and phone as the song started to take shape.
“It is one of several interesting projects I’ve done, but it also made an impact on me because I’ve never heard a story like that,” said Rightley, whose song was engineered by Landon Arkens at Blast House Studios. “I wanted to get it right."
-Gayle Worland, Wisconsin State Journal
"Other songs tell of perhaps unexpected experiences, like “Seawolf 7-6” by Kyle Rightley and Bill Martin. Martin was a helicopter gunship pilot with the Seawolf Squadron whose call sign was Seawolf 7-6. On his stops in various villages he entertained children with magic tricks and quickly developed a rapport with the youngsters, especially at an orphanage near his base. The song recounts his experiences performing his shows."
-Larry Abbott, The Wrath-Bearing Tree
Musicians and veterans join forces for catharsis on 'Warrior Songs' album
"Seawolf 7-6 is a melancholic, jazzy track performed by singer/songwriter, educator, and classically trained musician Kyle Rightley, based on the testimony of U.S. Navy veteran Bill Martin, founder of the Veterans and Patriots Performance Group."
-Cameron Cieszki, The Cap Times
"Madison’s Kyle Rightley... contributes “Brothers,” a muscular slow burner with tremolo guitars that contribute significantly to the song’s dark subject matter. This track is one of the album’s strongest with clear and powerful production and featuring Blueheels members drummer Adam Cargin... and bassist Landon Arkens."
-Rick Tvedt, Local Sounds Magazine
"Fronted by the spicy soulful vocals of Leah Isabel Tirado, The Big Payback is comprised of highly experienced and profoundly innovative artists whose collective sound has earned them award after award after award. Guitarist Kyle Rightley took time out this week to talk with me about “Animal Brain” and how the theme of musically unifying the duality of the human mind came to fruition."
-Michelle Harper, Maximum Ink
"Rightley, a multi-genre classically trained musician, also discussed the importance of lyrics in a song. He attributes his inspiration for his creative lyrics to both internal forces such as a desire to address an issue or tell a story and external forces, like someone else’s life."
-John Everman, The Clarion