Singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer MICHAEL AYLES has spent the last decade learning and playing the traditional music of Ireland, as well as that of his home province of Quebec. Impressively versatile, he plays with a skilled hand on the tenor banjo, Irish flute and acoustic guitar; he is also a sought-after singer with a warm, welcoming voice that has a surprising maturity for an artist in his twenties. Michael has played with some of Canadaâ€™s best folk-music acts: Genticorum, Laura Risk, The McDades and Matapat to name a few. His ability to adapt to different musical styles and his skill as a singer, melodist and accompanist have won him the respect of his peers throughout Canada and the United States.
Michaelâ€™s musical personality has been shaped to a large extent by the variety of musical styles that are heard in his home town of Montreal. Although originally drawn to traditional music through a love of Irish dance tunes, he was soon exposed to music from Quebec, Scotland, Cape Breton and the United States. His musical vocabulary draws from all of these different styles, each lending something of its color to his playing. The result is a musical mÃ©lange that is fun, varied and distinctly North American.
With his first solo CD under his belt, Michael is now returning to the studio to work on the 2nd CD from his Quebecois traditional music group La Part du QuÃªteux, due at the end of 2006. Fans of Frech-Canadian folk music can find out more by visiting www.queteux.com
ABOUT THE RECORDING
OVER THE BRIDGE, Michaelâ€™s first solo CD, is a collection of traditional music and original compositions that brings together elements from many different styles of music. It features tunes and songs from Ireland, England, Quebec, the United States, not to mention a healthy dose of more recent compositions in the same vein. Flute, banjo and fiddle play driving reels, slinky jigs and moving airs, while the interspersed songs tell stories of love, deception, hope and sorrow.
Fans of acoustic music are sure to find something to like in Over the Bridge. The album covers moods ranging from the playful, lilting whistle of Sara and Gus to introspective flute airs like Water Under. Songs like The Crockery Ware and Bonnie Light Horseman have deep, layered arrangements, while the live-in-studio A travers la fenÃªtre sticks to the essentials: banjo, fiddle, guitar and the foot percussion that Quebec is so famous for.
Michaelâ€™s singing and playing are backed up by some of the best musicians in trad music today: guitarist Yann Falquet (Genticorum), fiddlers David Clark and Olivier Demers (Le Vent du Nord) and percussionists Paddy League and Jim Good, among others. Not to be outdone, Michael himself plays flute, tin whistle, banjo, guitar, Irish bouzouki and sings â€“ though not all at the same time, of course.
Over the Bridge is a musical autobiography, an homage to everything that Michael loves about the music of Quebec and Ireland. Itâ€™s about traditional tunes coexisting with the modern compositions that they gave rise to, about different roots thriving in common ground. Itâ€™s honest, engaging, fun and humorous, with a healthy dose of respect for where the music comes from and an eye toward where itâ€™s going. If you are a fan of good acoustic music, take a minute out of your day and discover one of the best young trad musicians in Canada today.
Check out the artist's website:
1. The Crockery Ware
2. Friday Harbor Reel/over the Bridge/the Sensible Ear
3. Tom Billy's Jig/the Taxman
4. Miss Mcdermott/hanley's Tweed/emily's
5. Shady Grove
6. A Travers La FenÃªtre/reel Des Esquimaux/lÃ©vis Beaulieu
7. The Bonnie Light Horseman
8. Sara and Gus
9. Water Under/pancake Tuesday/bigger House