No doubt about it, the deep roots/blues music scene emerging of late is the most important musical force today. Like most shining stars, the energy comes from a new generation that is tired of musical excesses and commercialism over the years. American blues has been exploited by this more than most, so it is very gratifying to see young musicians resurrect true blues with their own inspired originals and all-but-forgotten classic covers.
CW Ayon is a fairly recent and most welcome addition to the deep roots/blues scene. Hailing from New Mexico, Ayon has a confident playing style that bodes especially well for a one man band. His guitar work is impressive, pulling out some outstanding guttural bass that one doesn’t often hear on a 6-string. Keeping beat on double drums, and occasionally blowing some harp, it’s a pleasure to hear CW’s variety — he keeps the tunes from becoming repetitious, which is so often the curse of the one man band format. Ayon’s vocals are also a departure from the typical whiskey- and smoke-soaked sound we are so used to. Ayon’s youthful vocals are clear and skilled, yet there’s no lack of feeling or soul. This musician understands deep blues with a real passion, all-too-often lacking in the blues scene we’ve been witness to for decades.
Ayon wrote all the songs on his 2009 release Is what it is, the beginning of his deep roots discovery. His 2010 release, Ain’t No Use In Moving, pays more homage to his influences like Junior Kimbrough (Feels So Bad), Joe Callicott (Roll and Tumble), R.L. Burnside, and Fred McDowell, while maturing his own style. Mostly originals, Ain’t No Use In Moving is a nice mix of dark blues with some spikes of hope that pervade throughout the disc.
One of Ayon’s more personal stories showing both the dark and bright sides is “No Reason Why,” which reflects on his childhood and a broken home. It is a heavy-hearted song filled with a tired anger but in the very end finds peace and reconciliation. This song-writing maturity continues on one of my favorites “Stole My Heart,” a truly beautiful song reminiscent of early Appalachian folk music. In this, Ayon is able to have a lighter touch while keeping all the powerful emotions that pervade throughout his more heavy-handed songs. An unlikely addition, “You Are My Sunshine” by Davis and Mitchell, takes on a moody tribal mantra-like vibe, mesmerizing the listener, and perhaps revealing that “sunshine” comes at a price! Like all true blues, the musician conveys virtually all the feelings through the instrument while the lyrics add structure to confirm those feelings. CW Ayon’s passion for early American music has given us yet another inspired artist we can look forward to hearing from for many more years to come.