REVIEW: Andy Aylward’s “Sometimes Rain” Offers Simple Wisdom

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On Sometimes Rain, New York City singer-songwriter Andy Aylward embraces left-of-the-radio early 80’s college rock in a way that builds upon this legacy while avoiding derivative sonic motifs. A simple four-piece band line-up consisting of Aylward (guitar, vocals), Justin Hla-Gyaw (lead guitar), Evan Gill Smith (bass), and Daryl Cozzi (drums) proves there is still power in a no nonsense, back to basics arrangement. The sound is augmented subtly throughout with help from Dan Lead (pedal steel guitar on Mockingbird and Mending), Robbie Lee (synthesizer on Midnight Comes Around), and Andrea Schiavelli (mellotron on The Same Place). Sometimes Rain was recorded and mixed by Ryan Howe and mastered by Paul Oldham.

Aylward eases us into his world with “Long Goodbye,” an easy stroll down a deserted street that his mind has already left behind as he sings, “But I’ve no care, no further use for talking, I’ll see you where, dreams live and time’s forgotten.” Crisp spry guitar leads fill out the end of this stroll over jaunty bass lines. “Aphrodite” maintains an unhurried dreamy yet powerful pace; Aylward wonders, “Balanced on a tightrope line, will she falter will she fly, will she sing tonight.” “Mockingbird” finds comfort in the roll of the highway driven by a country shuffle with a pedal steel companion. “Ride on mockingbird,” champions the refrain, “let your mocking song be heard.” A call to freedom, but freedom from oneself or from one’s circumstance. The mockingbird has broken free from constraints that society has placed on their psyche; sane or not, Aylward’s mockingbird flies free now, “Mockingbird do no harm, never show where you are, all the way from hospital, window left ajar, so ride on mockingbird.”

The title track, “Sometimes Rain”, hits like an early R.E.M. or late Big Star demo replete with world weary but engaging vocal and Byrds-meet-the-80’s guitar. “If life’s a joke then death’s a dream, and I am caught so in between…underneath above ground train, sometimes sunshine sometimes rain,” Aylward sings. “Collect the Pieces” and “The Same Place” continue to push expand on a similar sonic landscape, while “Mending” turns toward sounds of the lonesome prairie as acoustic guitar provides a foundation for pedal steel and Aylward’s voice to dance over as he offers simple wisdom, “now is the time for mending, it’s not the time to be blue, you fear that something’s ending, it’s just the start of something new.”

Give Andy Aylward’s Sometimes Rain some of your time today; you’ll be glad you did. https://andyaylward.bandcamp.com

 

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