Tuesday, August 18, 2015
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: JAY AYMAR - THE CHICKEN CAME FIRST (book and CD)
Talk about your extensive liner notes! Aymar's latest, a live one, doesn't have a booklet, it has a book. Yes, a real, full-length, full-sized book. Actually, it's more of a case of the book also including a CD, but whatever. It's the best way to take in everything Aymar does. He's a storyteller, writing, singing, or in person.
The collection came about as an extension of what Aymar has been doing the past while, writing down his stories and observations in blog postings. The project took on a bigger scope earlier this year when friends found a great-sounding church where he could record with an audience. Everything was in place.
As a songwriter, Aymar shines best when he's telling you tale soaked in big truths. He's learned these the hard way, touring the country endlessly, playing off the beaten path on purpose, and finding the best people that way. In fact, he's even given up any idea of a home, other than the road. He's become the modern troubadour, at home everywhere and nowhere officially.
With the book, you get even more insight into what makes him tick, and what Canada is about. When Aymar inevitably runs into a deer on the highway, a series of great-hearted people come to his aid, just because they are decent, and because they are in a position to help. We drop into every province and territory with him, and start to understand what it is that drives Aymar and his fellow touring musicians to keep going, to bring their talents to the people who appreciate them.
If you're one of the many semi-pros that share some of the spirit, Aymar even includes the sheet music to the album tunes. And there are guests, both in print and on disc. The terrific young Toronto singer Jadea Kelly takes the lead on Always In Her Dreams, while legendary promoter and publicist Richard Flohil contributes a chapter on the realities of Canada's music biz, and the true spirit of it all as found in these independent musicians. Aymar and company have done more than entertain here; this will give you insight, and a new respect for anyone who chooses this profession, and it gives you a little bit more national pride as well.