Nashville, TN (February 21, 2022)
Having earned critical applause for her melancholy indie-folk, Amy Jay now makes a remarkable leap forward with her moving and kinetic debut album, Awake Sleeper. The Florida-born, NYC-based singer/songwriter surveys profound emotional terrain, juggling fragments of memory and embedding her observations within a paradoxically lush sonic approach. Exploring the boundaries between acoustic and synthetic, minimalist and ornate, Awake Sleeper echoes a breathtaking cross-pollination of introspective songcraft, surprising textures, and hypnotic soundscapes.
Recorded at Brooklyn’s Mason Jar Music with producer Jonathan Seale (Feist, Fleet Foxes, Aoife O’Donovan), Awake Sleeper marks Jay’s third official project and first full-length release following a pair of well-received EPs—2016’s Supposed to Be and 2018’s So It Is—that earned her national acclaim and nearly 1M worldwide streams. Seale enlisted a top tier line-up of NYC session players to fill the sonic spaces in Jay’s often sparse songs, including Mike Robinson (Railroad Earth, The Jeff Austin Band) on guitar and pedal steel, drummer Jordan Rose (Cory Wong, Theo Katzman), guitarist Chris Parker, bassist Jeremy McDonald, Andrew Freedman (Henry Jamison) on piano and synths, and award-winning bowed-string instrumentalist Duncan Wickel (Molly Tuttle, Rising Appalachia) on violin and cello.
Awake Sleeper was profoundly inspired by Jay’s day-to-day life in New York City, conjuring its incessant energy, its ambient noise and constant motion, occasionally quiet but ceaseless in its flow. Jay gave life to her songs with an idiosyncratic sound equally informed by experimental electronica, classical music, and post-rock as it is by traditional acoustic folk songcraft. “It was a conscious choice that the recording elements reflect the lyrical themes, like for example, when we doubled the vocals to mimic emotional duality, or repetitive instrumentation to evoke anxiety or stuckness,” Jay says. “The direction of the music was very much decided by how best to portray these themes sonically.”
“I went through a theological crisis (for a longer season than I ever thought) after being disillusioned with the charismatic Christian church movement. That movement influenced so much of my faith and the experiences of my child and adult life. My foundations were shaken after a trip to California and subsequently strange coincidental events that made it so I left my church and had to decide what to do next,” she says. With time, she has found another church and a support system, as she continues to figure things out (as she knows she always will be).
Having made Awake Sleeper in what now feels like a distant past, Amy Jay is looking firmly towards the future, driven to continually push her songcraft towards new terrain while still honoring her remarkable debut album with the attention and self-love it so rightly deserves.
“It’s complicated,” Jay says, “because obviously I’m proud of this huge, monumental thing that I’m doing. I have to just remember it’s a time capsule, a glimpse into a life before the world crashed, snapshots of memories. We captured what was happening at the time, written in the past, relevant for today.”
** Photo: Katrina Sorrentino
Awake Sleeper Track List:
1. Lucid Dreaming
4. All My Name
5. Inner Critic
7. Bide My Time
YouTube Album Playlist:
Spotify Album Playlist: