By Bambi Grinder
Photos courtesy of Jayme Stone
Jayme Stone’s new album, AWake, features genre-bending, category-defying sounds—a creative triumph I truly appreciate in music. Beautifully orchestrated with a mellow, relaxing vibe. Those things stood out the first time I listened to the record. I didn’t know, yet, that the songs were written in the wake of tragedy. I only marveled at the light and chill sound, and the sense of community and connectedness I felt.
Jayme shared the following as part of his Q&A for NoteWorthy Music:
“I’ve made several world-wide roots music records so this record is a departure aesthetically and emotionally. I started writing these songs in the wake of my brother’s death and wanted a whole new sound, palette, and way of making music.”
Beautifully orchestrated with a mellow, relaxing vibe.
Listening to AWake again after learning of his brother’s death, the songs take on a new meaning, a new depth that I fear to explore too closely. In that revealed intimacy, one can’t help but wonder and read speculative meaning into the lyrics. Overwhelmed with the feeling I must tread lightly on sacred ground …
Photo by Michael Wilson
I feel the loss of Jayme’s brother in this song as I listen to it now. Strong, striking lyrics in a lovely composition.
The salt dissolves your eyes are clear
My hands your hands a single sphere
I love this image of hands creating a single sphere. Universal experiences such as grief connect us one to another. We come together for comfort in times of pain, and somehow we must go on even as the loss remains.
Wait for Heaven
Out it in the distance it’s plain as song
You wait for heaven you wait too long
These lines resonate with me. For many reasons, I resist the notion of waiting for my grandmother’s heaven. Our lives are now. We must live now. We must make our own heaven in this world and within ourselves. As Jayme says,
heaven’s on the inside
My Woman’s a Nation
Perhaps my favorite composition on AWake, “My Woman’s a Nation.” I so love this distinctive sound. I’m happy when I can’t easily categorize music into any genre. This particular special case brings to mind Gorillaz, one of my ultimate favorite bands of all time. Listen to this awesome orchestration paired perfectly with lyrics of love.
My back in the day when you
Whispered “come stay” and we
Kissed until morning
A joyous song of adoration, full of promise, celebrating past, present, and future.
A joyous song of adoration, full of promise, celebrating past, present, and future. And here I tread lightly on that sacred ground by saying I am happy and hopeful to hear this amidst the others in which tragedy and grief are prevalent.
Photo by Shervin Lainez
“Brotherless” very much captures the loss of Jayme’s brother. A song that resonates with any of us who have lost anyone. What did they feel? What would they have said if only they could?
What you felt we can only guess
There are mountains hidden in hiddenness
The slow stillness of “75 Out,” the sad words enhanced by sound perfectly attuned to them.
There’s a world all around you don’t forget that you
are in it
A wonderful message to us all. Let’s remember it, no matter what we face and experience.
Celestial references always appeal to me. I love this picturesque title, the imagery of it, and that evoked by the following line:
The old Moon is in the new Moon’s arms
What a unique impression from this fascinating song. Our lives cycle as do the heavenly bodies. This may be why we find comfort in them. They endure, and perhaps so do we. There is death. There is wonder. We live, and we have both. Isn’t it worth celebrating this strange and beautiful cycle of life on our strange and beautiful planet?
Isn’t it worth celebrating this strange and beautiful cycle of life on our strange and beautiful planet?
Tragic, intimate, so much that it’s maybe not for me to touch it, yet Jayme shares it, sings it, puts it out there because to keep it inside would be too much. The only way with that kind of pain and the confusion it often leaves is to give it an outlet, let it out.
You always said you’d die trying
I never thought you’d try dying
It’s hard to know what we can live without
Mouth the Words
AWake consists of captivating, thoughtful lyrics and unexpected word play that makes me smile. The title of the record itself as a play on words aptly fits the layers of meaning in this undertaking. “Mouth the Words” contains another fine example:
There your eyes tumble low …
It’s 10 below you hardly speak
Tombolo the islands swim out past the creek
The words hearken again to things left unsaid and to the searching spiritualism present throughout the album. You can experience this firsthand on the immersive site designed to go along with this project. https://awake.jaymestone.com/
I recommend spending some time there. The photographs and margin notes further paint the intimate portrait of this collection. A glimpse of lives lived and the thoughts of the one who remains.
Jayme Stone’s beautiful love song, “My Woman’s a Nation”
Jayme Stone is from Toronto, lives in Colorado and has released eight records (including Folklife, Lomax Project and Africa to Appalachia). He’s won two Juno Awards and three Canadian Folk Awards. Stone has worked with Margaret Glaspy, Julian Lage, Tim O’Brien (to name a few) and tour highlights include Lincoln Center (New York), Kennedy Center (DC), Celtic Connections (Glasgow), Bumbershoot, Vancouver Folk Festival, Savannah Music Festival, NPR All Things Considered, NPR Mountain Stage, and more.
Jayme’s new album is available now. Visit the immersive website for AWake at https://awake.jaymestone.com/.
Writer and Editor
Co-founder/owner of NoteWorthy Music, Bambi Grinder has spent many years as a shaper of words—writing novels and short fiction (which she prefers in first-person present tense). Bambi is delighted to make this foray into the digital landscape with NoteWorthy Music as publisher, editor, writer, and web designer and developer.
You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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