Review by Danny Gaisin
Since the collapse of the White Oaks Folk Club; our opportunities for enjoying this creative genre have all but ended. Last night, Hamilton’s Pearl presented an evening with Jay Aymar, and it was fun! This young man has a talent for creating songs that epitomizes Randy Bachman’s credo about ‘telling a story
He manages to capture the very essence of his subject matter, whether it is his parents; love lives—past & present; or the socio-political arena of today. In one example, his recollection about an avuncular expedition to pick apples at the North Channel evoked even the endemic bucolic & verdant aroma.
Aymar utilizes intricate acoustic chording and in keeping with tradition, his lyrics are so catchy that audiences can soon join in chorus repetitions.
In some cases; they are even invited to do so. ‘His “I know” refrain was but one example that had this writer feeling like a vocal ‘sideman’. My reaction to his introductory comments, then witnessing the sincerity in which they become the actual libretto was the same as my experience with some of the compositions of Jimmy Buffett! Aymar’s rhyming equals that of Paul Simon.
Visually, he is comfortable with his audience and this reflects in the same sparkle that his face exhibits as he performs. The eyes twinkle and except when singing a dramatic bit, he smiles intimately across the footlights. He is ‘at one’ with his listeners. His creative piece about Don Cherry’s human side shows the dichotomy of personal as opposed to the TV brutish side of Hockey Night’s icon. One can see why Aymar is so favored by Ian Tyson and other personalities of the Canadian Folk world.
The only disappointment of the evening: the numerical paucity of the audience. Hamilton’s PEARL is a cultural gem and reflects the personal interest of producers—Barb & Gary who put so much of themselves into what intellectually matters in the city. The place is intimate; admission very reasonable, and their on-stage guests …eclectic. Something for everyone so it’s worth checking out.