Saturday, March 19, 2011
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: JAY AYMAR - PASSING THROUGH
I don't know if Jay Aymar knows where he's from anymore. While Toronto may be a home base, most of his work and time is on the road, and he's getting to know the country really well. He's part of a solid new folk scene that's crisscrossing the country, trading in a little blues or roots, whatever will get them on the bill of whatever club, festival or house concert is happening. As much as these genres are interchangeable now, what's remained true is the idea of the songwriter picking up bits and pieces of people's lives, and passing them on like seeds, wherever they land next.
I think I'll repeat that, because I like the sound of it: Jay Aymar writes people's lives. You get the actress who wanted to play the big-time roles, but had to settle for bit parts. There's the guy who just wants to find a normal girl. Or the white guy who's learned a lot more than most about First Nations people in the country by hanging out and being a friend. There are big stories, but it's the little details he puts in that paint the real picture for us, like the bus passenger who tells us, "As the weight of my wallet goes, I'm a Greyhound kind of guy." Then there's "the beautiful girl in vintage clothes". These people pop right into your head with one listen.
Aymar's folk is the kind with country leanings, and features strong fiddle, mandolin and ensemble playing. Aymer's part of a larger scene of like-minded folk folk, such as David Gavin Baxter, Tim Des Islets (who handles rhythm guitar on all tracks here) and young Jadea Kelly, an exceptional singer who shows up for an excellent old-timey duet on "Worthless String Of Pearls". There's honesty and raw talent flowing through all these people, so go out and see them next time they're in town. Especially Jay Aymar, since he's probably driving into yours right now.