Montana Public Radio

Jayme Stone's 'AWake' Synthesizes Kaleidoscopic Art Out Of Grief

Oct 13, 2020

Self-described "instigator" Jayme Stone returns to Musician’s Spotlight to talk about AWake, a recording that "sings from a white-hot core of love and loss." It's accompanied by a lush, immersive website containing a virtual listening post, a visual art project and choreographic interpretations of the songs. Even accounting for the diverse range of Stone's previous collaborations, the sound palette and emotional landscape of "AWake" is a departure.

Recalling the LP liner notes he would pore over as a child, Stone says: "I would just sit in front of the record player and listen and leaf through the notes and be immersed in photographs, ephemera and lyrics. I feel like we've lost that in the move to digital, and yet the Internet is an incredible way to share that stuff. We can have things moving and be immersive. I've always wanted to do something like this, and now felt like the opportune time to do it."

The songs on AWake mark a new creative start for Stone, who is best-known for his banjo playing and world-wise roots albums like Africa to Appalachia, Lomax Project, and Folklife. Now we hear Stone singing, playing guitar and OP 1 (a micro-synth, sampler and sequencer). He captures and sculpts sounds—felted piano, bass clarinet, analog synths and sequencers—until they're hazy and unrecognizable.

On any given day, you might find Colorado-based musician, composer, banjo player, producer and educator Stone in his studio reworking a little-known hymn learned from a field recording, producing a session with musicians from Bamako or New York, creating experimental soundscapes, or tucking his kids in on time so he can get back to writing the next verse of a new song.

(Broadcast: Musician's Spotlight,  10/13/20. Listen on the radio Tuesdays, 7 p.m., or via podcast.)