British blues-rock guitarist Aynsley Lister is heading back out on the road, this time in support of his upcoming eighth studio album ‘Eyes Wide Open’.
His extensive national tour reaches Half Moon in Putney on 1 December 2016.
Produced by Lister, the raw, energetic followup to 2013’s ‘Home’ marks a return to his roots.
“I wanted to keep the raw edginess and energy of a band,” says the 38-year-old musician. “So that meant minimal takes and going with the ones that had the most spirit and passion over those with technical perfection. To me, music isn’t supposed to be perfect. It’s supposed to grab you and move you both emotionally and physically; it’s supposed to connect with you.”
Not only showcasing his talents as a guitarist – “I definitely wanted to rip out on the guitar on this one,” he confirms – his eighth studio album showcases his ability as a songwriter. Musically, the 13 tracks blend blues, rock, pop, and soul, while lyrically they reflect the world around him.
“The world never stops and so much happens around us – some of it resonates with you, some of it doesn’t. This album is written about the world as I see it, through eyes wide open,” says the man named Guitarist of the Year at the 2015 British Blues Awards.
So, for example, the song ‘Won’t Be Taken Down’ looks at the jealous nature of society.
“The competitive nature of people can sometimes be overbearing, especially for those who aren’t so intent on their own agenda. The fight can be real. This song is about standing up to it, it’s about getting back on your feet and not letting it get to you. We all experience jealousy in one way or another throughout life and I’m sure there’s lots of people out there who can relate to the lyrics in this song,” says Lister.
‘Time’ is about life itself. “The decisions and choices that we make along the way all have an impact on where we end up. Maybe it’s something to do with getting older, but realising what matters before it’s too late gets higher on the agenda,” reveals the bluesman.
The personal themes continue in songs like ‘Kalina’, “the story of a young woman I met who held a dark secret behind her beautiful happy exterior”.
“She’d suffered with depression for a long time and took her own life shortly after we met. I was so shocked to learn how she had been at such a low, she really was the last person you would have thought to be suffering with such mental health problems. The news of her passing hit like a ton of bricks so I wrote this to share her story and build awareness for others of a very real illness that affects many around us.”
An album that certainly lives up to its title, then, ‘Eyes Wide Open’ is released on 7 October 2016.