Matt Simons (CD Release), Chris Ayer

Matt Simons (CD Release)

Chris Ayer

John Schmitt, Morgan Holland

Tue, July 17, 2012

8:00 pm


Off Sale

This event is 21 and over

Matt Simons (CD Release)
Matt Simons (CD Release)
Inspired by a vast variety of artists, from Brian Wilson to Stevie Wonder, singer/songwriter/pianist Matt Simons pushes himself to grow beyond those influences to find his own voice and create his own sound. Often compared to Jamie Cullum, John Mayer and Adam Levine, Simons also infuses his piano based pop-rock with hints of jazz and R&B.

Much of 2011 was spent on tour. In addition to visiting most of the US, he ventured to the UK, Netherlands and Germany in support of his 2010 release, the EP Living Proof. 2012 sees the release of his follow up album, Pieces, dropping 6/19.

Pieces is a collection of melancholic yet uplifting songs mixed with the modern, yet timeless production of Nashville engineer/producer Stephen Gause. From the first chord struck on the keys of opener “Emotionally Involved,” the listeners are drawn into Simons' world, led by his melodic turns and the driving intensity of the drums. Next, the lead single “Gone” lets his soulful side shine as Simons paints a picture of a man in a failing relationship, struggling to hold on as he’s realizing he needs to let go. “I’m so tired of being wrong, I’m gone.” The net is abuzz with praise for the song, which was released on March 20th and is currently streaming on

The album continues to demonstrate Simons’ abilities as a musician and a writer as he seamlessly shifts gears between songs. With the sweet “Miss You More,” his vocals soar into a lighter, higher range reminiscent of a ballad by artists such as Ben Folds or The Beatles. The one non-original on the album is a cover and re-working of Death Cab For Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into The Dark.” Simons’ piano replaces the original’s acoustic guitar, as various mellotron parts creep in to flesh out the sound, resulting in a hauntingly beautiful interpretation.

With its catchy melodies and relatable themes, Pieces maintains an inventive sound while appealing to a wide range of audiences. It's sure to become one of summer’s hottest releases.
Chris Ayer
Chris Ayer
When asked about his latest album, Don't Go Back To Sleep, Ayer sees it first as a call to action for
himself. "This group of songs has really become a collective note-to-self on how I want to live. They were
all born out of moments where I was going along in my day-to-day life, and something shook me out of the
autopilot rhythm, and reminded me that I better open up and dig in right this second." After a listen, this creative
desire is abundantly evident throughout Ayer's sophomore release. He admits they are heavy themes, even for a
singer/songwriter. And yet Ayer is able to pull off that timeless trick of great songwriting, where weighty topics
take on a light touch, so that they draw you in and uplift.
This magnetic quality has served him well as he has toured the country and steadily built his grassroots audience
over the past 4 years. His DIY practices were given a hefty shot of adrenaline in 2007 when the John Lennon
Songwriting Competition awarded him the 2006 Lennon Award in Folk for his song "Evaporate." With the
award came increased visibility, opportunities to tour the UK, and many new faces in the audience at shows.
But for Ayer there was an even more valuable outcome. "It was a real lesson for me. "Evaporate" was the song
I wrote most immediately for myself on the first album. That's how they all should be, but you start thinking
about the band arrangement and musical influences, and how it's going to sound live. Those things creep
in. ‘Evaporate' didn't have that at all. And I finally had total confidence that just taking creative instincts and
running with them is always the best call." The song was on Ayer's first full-length, self-released album, This
is the Place, recorded in Nashville and produced by Jason Gantt (The Chieftains, Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill).
Of that album, Performing Songwriter Magazine said, "This is the Place has it all: tight arrangements, excellent
musicality, and imaginative lyrics. If you're looking for great music, this is the place indeed."
John Schmitt
John Schmitt
Called "one of New York City's best young storytellers," John Schmitt was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, and his songs are a direct reflection of his experiences growing up there. His simple, honest approach tells stories that hit at the heart of American life. Blending a folk-meets-soul style, Paul Simon-meets-Motown, to go along with thoughtful lyrics and images, John sings about his life in real terms. His new album “Ophelia” is his loftiest work to date. We see on “Ophelia” just how life in the city has affected Schmitt, now a resident of Brooklyn, as he takes us along for many stories of life, love, loss, and coffee consumption.
Morgan Holland
Morgan Holland
Morgan started singing as a way to overcome her own shyness. The 23 –year-old grew up singing in choirs, and writing songs to herself until she was finally encouraged to share at a Gunn High School open mic night. After that experience, she never stopped. Influenced by artists like Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Tracy Chapman and Norah Jones, songwriting has remained an outlet for her own creativity and development. Always connecting with others through music, she found community and support with her singing throughout college and beyond. After graduating from Tufts University, she took a position as tour manager on a national music tour with artist Chris Ayer. Morgan had the opportunity to sing with Ayer all over the country and experience what being a professional musician was like. A fast friendship and a mutual musical admiration lead Ayer to encourage and support Morgan to make a record of her original songs. With the help of some of New York City’s most talented musicians (including Matt Simons) and Ayer as producer, she released her first EP, Old New in November 2010. Upon release, Old New was lucky enough to have some time on the singer-songwriter charts on iTunes from word of mouth praise. She has been performing on the East and West coasts, while residing in Los Angeles, CA
Venue Information:
Hotel Utah
500 4th Street
San Francisco, CA, 94107