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Art & Life with Jory Avner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jory Avner.

Jory, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Well, I guess it started with Dark Side of the Moon, back when cassettes were still a pretty common thing. I was really little, and I didn’t really understand what I was listening to but I knew I wanted to do whatever that was. My folks got me a guitar and from there I just never really put it down. I was always trying to write my own music, even when I first picked up the instrument, but I only really started taking it very seriously in my late teens. For a few years I was busking around the northwest and then when I was about 19 or 20 I moved to Chicago to study music. I didn’t last very long in a college setting.

I worked a bunch of weird or nothing jobs for a few years, but while I was working at a Tile store I got into a pretty bad accident. I couldn’t really work there anymore, so during that recovery period I just made a commitment to myself that it was either music, or nothing at all. Three Albums later, here we are.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Well, I’m obsessed with song lyrics. By far the words are what I focus on the most when it comes to writing or listening to a song. One of my favorite sort of sensations is when you’re listening to a song and a certain line just kind clicks with you, and you walk away still thinking about it. And then later when you come back and you have the click moment all over again, but now you’ve found an even deeper meaning to the line that maybe didn’t reveal itself entirely at first. I love that. Leonard Cohen is really kind of the master of that particular trick, and I think as a songwriter I’ve probably “studied” or thought about his song mechanics the most.

I personally try to focus on writing stories, though. I feel like a narrative is a really great vehicle for delivering ideas, or expressing whatever you’re trying to get across in a song for a whole host of reasons. Partly though, because when your song has a sort of through-line mechanic in it you can really play with the framing of events, like recontextualizing a refrain or something.

I’m not really sure if there’s a particular message I want to give people, though. I try not to cast things as right and/or wrong, or binary. More so, things are either desirable, or not, or maybe both at the same time depending on their context. I guess I hope people walk away from my songs with their mind sort of activated, and in the best case scenario maybe feel a little moved. I always love when songs do that for me.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
I mean, yeah, it can be really lonely. That tends to be a recurring theme for a lot of people in the arts. Really, I guess, just stick with it. Play out anywhere you can, as often as you can. Going to shows helps, too. There’s tons of great bands in the city and local music is literally everywhere all of the time. Investing in other people’s music/work is a pretty solid way to make friends/connections. I think so, anyway.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can find and support my work on my website, or on Bandcamp at, or YouTube, or really any of the streaming services. I guess the best way to support me, or really any musician, is buying an album and then passing it along to a friend to listen to.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Charles Pearson Photography
Ashley Downing Photography

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