Notoriously known for his banjo playing and roots albums Africa to Appalachia, Lomax Project, and Folklife, Jayme Stone has shifted his musical focus on his latest album AWake. Due out August 28, AWake presents a more experimental pop environment that is eminently engaging along with full nuance and surprise.
Today, Stone shares his deeply moving title single from AWake along with an accompanying video. “I wrote “Awake Awake” in a cabin on the Pacific on the first anniversary of my brother’s passing,” Stone says on the single. “I was thinking about how time is circular, grief comes in waves and how people live inside us even after they’re gone. That summer I traveled to where he lived and where we grew up, scattering his ashes in the oceans and lakes he loved to swim in. The song seems to capture the impressionistic way that stories and memories light up and go out like matchsticks. The song ends with a sample of the last voicemail my brother left me.”
AWake features Felicity Williams (Bahamas), Jason Burger (Big Thief), Daniela Gesundheit (Feist), Jason Linder (David Bowie), Alec Spielgelman (Cuddle Magic) and more. It was co-produced by Stone and David Travers-Smith, his longtime collaborator who has recorded, mixed, mastered and co-produced all of Stone’s records. “For years I knew I had these songs in me,” shares Stone. “Like I had a premonition that some future me was driving backwards in time, full of songs, and at some point, we’d meet.”
AWake was recorded at Figure 8 in Brooklyn, a space that feels more akin to a community center or Japanese monastery than a studio. Entering from the street, musicians take off their shoes and walk through the kitchen with farmer’s market produce on the counter. The studio, made of reclaimed wine barrels, cork and felt, is drenched in sunlight. The studio’s owner, Shahzad Ismaily (who also guests on the album) has a dizzying collection of rare synthesizers and one of the world’s few Klavins Una Corda keyboards (which anchors several songs on the album). Stone has made a rare thing: a piece of work that asks us to both travels on his melodic and emotional journey and allows us to have our own.
For more on Stone: