Jay Aymar is a Canadian singer-songwriter born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. As an acoustic guitar player and singer, he is known for his storytelling through music. His songs cover themes central to everyday life,love, spirituality and the human condition. An English literature graduate from Carleton University in Ottawa, his songs are influenced by classic literary themes. A 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award Emerging Artist nominee.
In 2008, Canadian musician Ian Tyson recorded Aymar's composition "My Cherry Coloured Rose"— for his album ‘From Yellowhead to Yellowstone and other Love Stories'. The album received high critical praise. (Tyson was nominated for a 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards for Solo Artist of the Year).
Life and career
Aymar grew up as the youngest of a family of eight children in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He attended Sir James Dunn Secondary School before majoring in English literature at Carleton University in Ottawa, where he "became drunk on language and storytellers like Mark Twain and Stephen Leacock."
After graduating, he began a series of jobs which included freelance writing and various sales positions.
Once discovered, the CBC produced his very first demos in 1993.
He released his first studio album Howling at the Moon in 1996 (now out of print) and has since released five more studio albums and one live album.
Aymar released his sixth studio album, Your Perfect Matador, with producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda on October 12, 2018.The album took inspiration from a woman Aymar calls the "Fundy Maiden." He described the 9-tracks as if "You're kind of eavesdropping on a conversation between the two of us. It's thematically cohesive from start to finish. It plays out like a story."
In 2015 Aymar released a book of short stories entitled: The Chicken Came First (and other half-truths of my life as a touring songwriter). The short stories originally appeared on his site under the banner: Road Stories.
The Chicken Came First Book / LIve CD review. Veteran CBC broadcaster, reviewer Bob Mersereau.
“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.
As a songwriter, Aymar shines best when he's telling you tales 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."
August, 18. 2016 Bob Merseareau's Top 100
NEW ALBUM FOR 2018
Aymar is currently in the studio recording his latest full length studio album entitled Your Perfect Matador. A collection of what he refers to as 'deeply personal love songs.' Recorded in Toronto's Union Studios with producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda this promises to deliver Aymar's biggest vision yet.
"This is the album I've long wanted to create. There is an intentional cinematic feel to this record. From the moment I arrive to her graffiti filled village to the moment it fades into the rear view. From hope to pain and back again. It's all here.
Working with a world class producer like Michael has been an extremely rewarding experience. He has a gift for putting the artist at ease and drawing out the inner musical vision. Or as he puts it: "coaxing performances out of fragile egos" I love that. It really does sum it up.
Musically I wanted to rock out a bit more as I felt these songs required an edgier feel. The band consists of Champagne James Robertson on lead electric guitar, Robbie Grunwald on keys, Devon Henderson on bass, Michael on drums and myself on rhythm guitar and lead vocals.. Add to that three of my favourite artists/vocalists/friends (Chloe Charles, Alejandra Ribera and Shakura S'aida) and string arrangements by the legendary Drew Jurecka. How can a guy go wrong with a combo like that? We expect to have it ready for Canadian release in the Fall of 2018."
ASSORTED REVIEWS FROM PREVIOUS RELEASES
"It is a rare pleasure to behold the work of a fully realized artist at his creative peak. Jay Aymar’s Your Perfect Matador is one of those records.It is the centre of the arc of the record, the fifth track of nine, “Alive in the Shadows,” sung with Alejandra Ribera, that serves as the climax of the piece. It is the most sublime six minutes of recorded Canadian music I’ve heard this year."
Andy Frank. Roots Music Canada 2018
"This alone should elevate Jay Aymar to front and center stage where the likes of John Prine, Randy Newman and all the others I tiresomely mentioned stand. He’s that good."
John Apice, No Depression Magazine USA
“He frequently gets compared to John Prine or Lyle Lovett for his “homemade” songs, but this critic also hears a little of Leonard Cohen in his soft, low-key delivery… (Halfway Home) A good disc for singers to swipe some new songs from and yet another nice effort from Jay Aymar.”-By Barry Hammond, Penguin Eggs.
"Aymar is a classic, and Overtime is a knockdown priced master-work."
David Farrell, New Canadian Music
"There is no quibble about raising him to the higher rungs on the steep ladder of Canadian singer-songwriters, not just his contemporaries but of all time."
Doug Swanson (Penguin Eggs Magazine)
"Ontario-based singer-songwriter Aymar sounds something like an amalgamation of Tom Rush, Jesse Winchester and Guy Clark. "This Town Ain't Big Enough" has the Caribbean lilt of Winchester's "I'm Gonna Miss You, Girl," for example, and "All I Know" is broadly reminiscent of his "Defying Gravity." The arrangements have the exquisite blend of stark simplicity and sly sophistication that one associates with the above-named masters.”
Jerome Clark, author, songwriter, music critic, Rambles Magazine USA
"Jay has written a true Canadian folk song. It's a classic. My Cherry Coloured Rose." Ian Tyson