Jay Aymar Passing Through

Given the glut of urban hipsters doing roots music, it's heartening to see that there are still populist hardcore Canadian troubadours making the rounds. To the likes of Tim Hus, Jack Marks and Scotty Campbell, you can add Sault St. Marie-based Jay Aymar. He won fans with last album Halfway Home and returns here with an even stronger effort. Aymar often performs solo, but there's a full band sound on this record. Fiddle and pedal steel are put to good use on country/folk ballad "Garbo and Hepburn," while the vocal harmonies of Angela Hilts and Jadea Kelly add depth to some tracks. A lovely duet with Kelly on "Worthless String of Pearls" is an album highlight. The title track has a gentler, sparser feel, showing Aymar can sing sensitively when needed. There's a little bravado in "Hold On Nashville," with Aymar threatening to conquer Music City. He may, in fact, be just a little too real for Nashville, but we'll gladly keep embracing him. (Independent)