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Chris Ayer
Don't Go Back To Sleep
(self-released)
www.chrisayer.net


Singer-songwriter Chris Ayer delivers a folk-pop sound with an upbeat tempo that could make the sun peek through the storm clouds on his latest CD, Don't Go Back To Sleep. Fraught with catchy hooks and chord progressions that keep the songs moving forward and up, Ayer's songs are sautéed in folk-pop crystals branded in the vane of soul-inspired pop relatable to Daniel Powter and tethered to savvy street-folk grooves like Gavin McGraw. Ayer's album has the polish of coffeehouse-pop with a voicing that borders on country-bluegrass registers and makes for an easy listening album relatable to Colbie Caillat.

The Spanish flavor in the rollicking beats of "Pretty Poison Things" has a Tex-Mex shimmer, and the buoyant pumps dimpling "Lost And Found" and "Awake" sashay into flouncy folk wavelets. The softly brushed acoustics searing "Long Gone" have a crocheted feathering that gives the track a pensive feel, and the toe tapping rhythms bean-stalking "This Is A Test" are impossible to sit still through as the crispy guitar strokes alternate between moving rapidly and receding slowly. The country-folk mane of "In The Silence" is armored in the deep textures of the organ and steel guitar, and the breathy tresses of the acoustic guitar in "The Revealing" uphold Ayer's vocal rises with a firm grip showing that he has a way of finding the light through the darkness. The country-folk shading of "Roy G. Biv" has an upbeat tempo with a gospel-pop netting as he endorses, "Give a little love." The smooth swagger of Ayer's vocal gait in "On Your Way" shows confidence and determination as his lyrical musings along "Say What You Mean" are draped in percolating bongo-textured beats as he advises, "Say what you mean this time and stay who you are/Stick around and have a little fun."

Chris Ayer's lyrics speak directly to the audience like he is their good buddy offering advice and companionship while his words are drenched in a folk-pop broth. His songs are mostly about rising above life's frustrations and impasses and determining that other paths can lead one to one's goal. He inflames guitar-based folk with fiery strokes and percolating rhythms and gives folk-pop a cotemporary glaze. Ayer is more than your regular run-of-the-mill folk-based bards with a glint of modern pop that makes his catchy hooks stick in the listener's mind and lyrics that offer companionship to the listener.

-Susan Frances

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