It’s not every day that a relatively unknown artist is recognized by the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. In 2006, the Lennon award was given to the Brooklyn, NY-based Chris Ayer in the folk category. The impression left by this achievement has opened many doors for the singer/songwriter whose song “Evaporate” from his self-released full-length, This Is The Place (2006), was given that particular honor. Yet to pigeonhole this talented musician as a folkie would be way off base. Elements of pop, rock, country and even jazz permeate Chris Ayer’s sound.
As he gears up for the August release of his sophomore album Don’t Go Back To Sleep, Ayer is hitting the road early to share his knack for great songwriting, where weighty topics take on a light touch, both drawing in and uplifting the listener. The new album, like its predecessor, was produced by Nashville-based Jason Gantt (The Chieftains, Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill).
Ayer grew up in McLean, Virginia, and got his start singing along to old cassette tapes of Elvis and Paul Simon on car rides. When his dad got him his first guitar as a teen, he started writing songs that same day. After moving to northern California, he started sharing his songs locally, while studying philosophy and music at Stanford University.
Though his songwriting started as a hobby, it quickly became his main focus. Ayer packed up and relocated himself to the New York area to challenge himself as a person and an artist, booking his own tours and performing constantly.
His first full length album was lauded by Performing Songwriter Magazine which asserted that "This is the Place has it all: tight arrangements, excellent musicality and imaginative lyrics. If you're looking for great music, this is the place indeed."
When asked about his latest album, Don't Go Back To Sleep, Ayer sees it first as a call to action for himself. "This group of songs has really become a collective note-to-self on how I want to live. They were all born out of moments where I was going along in my day-to-day life, and something shook me out of the autopilot rhythm, and reminded me that I better open up and dig in right this second."
Don’t miss your opportunity to catch this compelling artist live:
05/13/09 Bitter End New York, NY
05/14/09 Havana New Hope, PA
06/11/09 The Mint Los Angeles, CA
06/22/09 The Pour House Music Hall Raleigh, NC
06/25/09 Evening Muse Charlotte, NC
06/28/09 Eddie’s Attic Decatur, GA
07/09/09 New Hope Winery New Hope, PA
07/21/09 Canal Room New York, NY