I met William Tyler on a train going south out of London. He had a nervous and cryptic and welcoming aura and was the first Nashville native (there is such a thing) that I’d ever met. We both carried more than we could manage on that trip, and I realized later that his bags were full of books. Books about psychology, philosophy, the Civil War, and astrology. Books—I realize now as I write this—about measuring and deciphering the boundaries of kindness and cruelty. William Tyler is interested in the human capacity for understanding ourselves; this is what I feel I mostly know about him now, so many years later. He is one of the most profound autodidacts I know, and he seems to be chasing knowledge in support of something he feels sure exists in all of us. The notes beneath the notes. Empathy might be the closest I can get to putting a name to it. Listen to his music and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.