I thought I’d take this opportunity to let you know that today is the day we re-release my latest album Your Perfect Matador.
It’s a day I’ve long anticipated and it calls for a celebration. What should we do? Well check this out first :https://smarturl.it/yourperfectmatador
But first, I should acknowledge the flurry of emails I received after my New Years Day post.
I must have hit a lot of hot buttons in that post as it’s now officially my most widely read blog and seemingly (to me) the least creative piece I’ve ever written.
My brother Bill once told me that my blogs are too ‘out there’ and that I need to write more honestly about what’s going on. “Too many sidebars and diversions little brother. Just tell people what you’re doing!”
Well Bill, I took your advice for that New Years Day round-up missive and talked about
1) US politics (Moving forward, I think it best to avoid the discussion of politics in polite company – yeah right! lol). But the climate does feel too fucked up right now. People are losing their minds over that which we cannot control. I was allowing big media to monopolize my head space until one day I was listening to a Tom Russell song and BAM…I kept listening to music and turned the TV off. Thanks Tom. Was it Hunter S. Thompson who suggested we involve ourselves in local politics? Saying at least we can affect change in a tangible way. Think globally – act locally. I agree. Or like my mom used to say “If people could just start with trying to get along with their own families…the world might be a better place.”
2) Taking time off the road and moving back to my hometown.
It’s true. After an eleven year run on the Voyageur trail, I decided to take my whisky, pelts and guns and paddle my canoe back to the trail head. I likely have enough inspiration to create songs for the next twenty-five years. It’s simply a matter of refueling. A man can’t live on tuna, gas station coffee and binge drinking alone.
You know those Hollywood movies you see depicting the lives of strung out musicians: Crazy Heart; A Star Is Born et al? They’re cliches for a reason. Albeit at a much larger level. The suffering and creation game go hand in hand. The late nights, the revelry and climb, the fall. It’s fun until it isn’t. But WOW…is it ever fun.
My other brother Phil reminded me of his favourite movie about this theme: Tender Mercies. Robert Duvall plays the aging songwriter who meets and falls in love with a younger woman who has young child and he slowly cleans up his act and commits to her. We re-watched it last week and it hit so close to home I couldn’t fall asleep until 4:00am that night. I kept replaying things over and over again in my mind until I eventually got up and started a song about it all. That actually happened (which is a great sign!)
But in telling my fan base (you) that I’m taking time off the road, my inbox was filled with an incredible amount of love and offers of shows from across the country. THANK YOU for that. Once I get things sorted out and I can find suitable employment, I will make a point of working toward long weekend flights to your city for larger shows. It feels like a sensible approach. If that’s even possible.
I’ve been following my friends The Small Glories well deserved ascension on the international folk circuit and I’m so happy for them. Seeing their pace of travel reminds me of how tiring it can all be. I’m currently living vicariously through my friends back on the circuit. Next weekend they’re all meeting in NOLA for a folk conference. That would have been fun but the ROI on the FAI has never quite been worthwhile for me. (Group hug aspect excluded).
The re-release of Your Perfect Matador.
(For the basics of the making of Matador head to my website www.jayaymar.com)
I’m not sure if you understand how long it takes to make a fully blown studio production like Matador? For me it hangs in my psyche like a long shadow. Most of it started in 2012, with seeds of songs and ideas and feelings of true love. Then there was finding the right producer. I did. Michael Phillip Wojewoda: https://mpwmusic.com/
Then with some help from Tamara Kater (grant writer) and Dan Greenwood (manager), and you (Pledge Music campaign) and my own contribution, I was able to come up with the amount needed to finish it. To date, I’ve recouped…um….let’s not talk about such things.
If you’ve been to any of my concerts you’ll know I often setup each song with an overly wordy introduction to heighten the suspense and connect you to the songs.
For those of you that haven’t been to a concert, here’s how it goes.
Matador explained – sort of.
I’m reading William Blake to her in her bed when our moment is interrupted : Your Poet Bleeding. I walk the village and notice the scribbling’s of a graffiti artist leaving artistic statements where they should not be. It becomes a metaphor for how we as artists can all ‘do a little wrong’ to make things right.’: Walls Are Pages. Walls are Pages – Video
This inspires me to learn more about art and it’s role in our subconscious state. How can art influence love? Step into the light. Rapunzel Rapunzel let down your hair: The Greatest Story Never Told.
Do I commit to my art or her? I awake in a motel room with this text “Dating you is like trying to hold on to a wild dog.” : Us Wild Dogs
The break. Trust and all the goodness that came with it is gone. Weird scenes inside the goldmine. The shadows start to creep in. The late nights get later. The strangers get stranger. The stories more harrowing: Alive in the Shadows.
Everyone asks me, why do you have three startling symphonic shots in the middle of that song? What is that about? Here’s your answer.
I wanted those shots to come exactly in the middle of the album. They represent the break that comes within the artist. Will the artist succumb to the life of drugs and pain or will they soldier on? (Alejandra Ribera sang so beautifully on this song that I am still humbled by her contributions. Thanks Alejandra – and thank you Richard Flohil for coordinating this.)
So what is going on here?
“Oh…back when we held the flame” (picture him holding his lighter up)
“To light the midnight sun (the crack pipe)
“We lit it for everyone alive in the shadows”
“Sirens wail singing to save us we took what they gave us free with Saint Vincent de paul of chemicals and alcohol.” (after the critical breaking point – they choose to live and get help for their addictions.)
After a joyous Clare Torry Great Gig in the Sky orgasmic wail of euphoria from Alejandra ensues, we’ve realized the tortured artist chooses to live and create. : Alive in the Shadows.
Back to reality…and now commenting on the world that is confronting us, the artist makes a rare political commentary on the state of affairs plaguing our democracy.
If I had all of the money in the world I would have created a video for this song with my friend Shakaru S’aida(who sings on this song) dressed up as the Statue of Liberty on roller skates defending herself from a mob of people wearing Trump masks (also on roller skates).
“You’re innocent it’s in your eyes
the silent truth in the house of lies
the scales are weighed the verdicts in
It’s a body of truth that’s build for sin
from the black and the white to the red and blue
I’ve never had much but I always had you
MISS AMERICA” : Always Had You.
And while we’re on this topic – #IMPTA
The artist now decides to hit New York city to get into the middle of things. He passes a small theatre company called “Two Planks and a Passion”. Meaning the only thing any of us need to tell are truths are two planks and a passion. A one act play by Jay Aymar! lol
But that’s such a rich image. Are the two planks a crucifix and is this the passion of the Christ? The long walk of judgement? Wait, that’s not a crucifix on his back, that’s a guitar!
And so the troubadour walks into a bar and falls in love with an idealized version of the woman serving him. She is an artist as well. She an aspiring actress. She will someday own this town:
“They’ll be congressmen and concubines
sharing the same ride
they’ll be lined up through Manhattan
to the Upper West Side
you’ll be holding down Ophelia
with roses at your feet
you’re going to turn this storied avenue
into your own little street
But you’ve got to pay the freight
so you paint your pretty face
for the lunatics and the politics
it’s Julliard around this place
pour me another one baby
and let me enjoy the view
I’m only playing good time Charlie
close to you
I’ll carry out this charade
with my two planks and this passion
I saw the artist
I met the actress”
: Two Planks and a Passion
He leaves with her after her shift to hit a late night movie. As they sit in the theatre, he thinks about his previous love. He wants to be with her but inside he can feel himself dying. The spark is fading. Is he singing to her or God? : Take Me Home.
As we pan out from the scene to see the street, the root tops and buildings, we hear the voice of Banksy decrying “I wanna leave this town”
Why Banksy? Because for Banksy art is the reward. The creation game. To make the world a better place.” Banksy Was Here.
The story is complete. What’s it all about? You tell me.
I was fortunate to have Peter Chapman discover this disc and take a chance on re-releasing it on his new label Fallen Tree Records. I asked Peter if he could tell me a bit about himself (for my readers) and tell me about the significance of the label name Fallen Tree Records. Here’s what he wrote back:
Peter Chapman founded the folk/roots record label Fallen Tree Records in 2018 after 12 years’ experience at Holger Petersen’s Stony Plain Records. His expertise includes working on the Canadian Gold certified recording Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! by Corb Lund; a number of Juno winning or nominated albums (Paul Reddick, MonkeyJunk and Colin Linden); and the Grammy nominated Migration Blues by Eric Bibb. He was raised in the UK on a diverse mix of music, and volunteered at a hospital radio station for four years. Upon moving to Canada he started volunteering at the campus/community station CJSR, where he has hosted a weekly eclectic music show since 2007. He believes that music is a powerful connector: from memories, to place, to relationships, to civil rights and activism, music is essential to what it means to be human. Fallen Tree Records are currently working with: 100 mile house, Jessica Heine, Logan and Nathan, Silent Winters, Jon Brooks, Ayla Brook & The Sound Men and Jay Aymar.
Behind the name: The name, Fallen Tree Records, comes from a lot of places. The purest perhaps though is to think of a tree as a recording: the artist grows a song, just as a tree grows. The meaning of the song is under the ground, often hidden or obscured. The trunk, the branches, the leaves are what we hear. Finally the tree is perfect, the artist can’t do any more to their song. They record it and release it, the tree falls, it is no longer the artist’s. When we hear the song our experiences and emotions are mapped on to it, we feel it as part of us. New life grows on the fallen tree – think of the fallen cedar, where new trees, moss and flowers are now sprouting from the fallen trunk. The roots and meaning of the song are still there, but there is so much new life given by that fallen tree; by that song’s release. That’s what I hope the music we work on will do for fans: give them new life, new experiences and new ways to see the world.
So there you have it friends. Fallen Tree Records has picked up Your Perfect Matador and re-released it today. You should find some friends tonight and smokem if you gottem and blast this album as a way to celebrate second chances. Now that I’ve broken down the fourth wall for you and we’re all meta… you can start to make sense of what this album is trying to do. You can tell your friends and then before you know it, it’ll be a world-wide phenomenon and I’ll be on the road again playing to packed theatres with my full band. I can see it now.
Willie gets it:
“On the road again
I just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin’ music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again”
But until then, check out these links and please, please share the album links your friends.