Lyle Brewer’s new solo guitar album “Juno” is the result of two things: the snowstorms that consumed Boston in the early months of 2015 and the sobriety that saved his life. “Juno” was released on the one-year anniversary of Brewer’s decision to get sober, and its stripped-down, acoustic instrumental songs reveal a newfound sense of clarity and renewal. “Juno,” whichmade the Boston Globe’s list of Best Local Albums of 2015, “showcases the cool sophistication of his guitar playing, not to mention his evolution as a songwriter” (Boston Globe). The first blizzard of the season hit Boston on January 27, 2015 andshut down the city for three days. That blizzard, “Juno,” lent its name to the title track. Every storm that winter, Brewer wrote a song. He wrote more over the summer, even as he was finishing up work on his self-titled record (released June 4, 2015).Without hangovers, he wrote in the morning, and without late nights at the bar, he wrote at night. He wrote a piece inspired by Bach, and another inspired by Brazilian composer Luiz Bonfa. “The only reason I was able to do this is because I got sober,” he says. “Period. Sobriety saved my ass big time. I am extremely proud of this album. I am extremely lucky to have supportive people in my life. I am grateful to be alive, to be sober, to be able to make music for a living."
Brewer’s self-titled album, his fourth, was released in the same year. It is a full-length album of original material that weaveseffortlessly throughout a variety of musical styles. The songs “are not about flashy technique or mind-numbing solos. They’re thoughtful, artfully composed instrumentals,” says the Boston Globe. Vintage Guitar Magazine writes, “There’s not a bad cut here, including several short interludes that are guitar heaven. Brewer’s streak of winners continues.”
Brewer has been a staple of the Boston music scene for the last ten years. Ask any musician who has worked with him and they will laud his mastery of almost any style of music, with a maturity that belies his age. “Brewer’s dexterity is often jaw-dropping. Not every guitarist can swerve from the swampy stomp of “Green Onions” into the moonglow of “Mr. Sandman” …always with the same sophistication and feeling” (Boston Globe).
Originally from Andover, Massachusetts, Brewer picked up the guitar at the age of 12. He was a guest on Prairie Home Companion when he was 21, and attended the New England Conservatory of Music for 3 ½ years before dropping out to play a gig that conflicted with a “Career Skills” class. He’s had a stutter all his life, which may be related to his fluid expressiveness on the guitar, the instrument that allows him to speak. Brewer also teaches guitar at the Berklee College of Music, and is currently learning Bach’s Lute Suites by ear.
“I tend to think that the first people who attempted to record music must have felt themselves to be archivists in some way -- chroniclers of a new paradigm. I can only guess at the looks on the faces of those engineering pioneers and the subjects whom they recorded when they first listened back to the sounds which, moments before, had been drifting through the air from a voice or a violin -- sounds which, unil that point in time, would have disappeared the moment they left the source, save for the impressions they left on the listener. It's something that's all too easy to take for granted these days -- our ability to capture not just the sound, but the historical significance of person, time, and place. When I hear Lyle play, I'm reminded of just how grateful I am that this exists. The traditions be embodies, the care and skill he puts into each song, and the innovations he brings to the guitar are at first listen simply genius. But when I think more on this recording, I feel relieved to have such a great custodian of this modern history in our midst. With each phrase, he identifies and embellishes upon the paths and harmonies which have been influencing us for over a century. In the years to come, when future listeners are trying to piece together the evolution of the electirc guitar and its great masters, they can listen to Lyle's records and glean an understanding of this evolution. And, such is my case, be inspired to always go deeper. Thank you Lyle.”