Origin: Chattanooga, TN
Genres: Indie Rock, Folk Rock, Powerpop,
“Chameleana is a record of blurred edges and compounded influences, of memories doused in twilight and the slight shiver of a cool evening breeze. Pop theatrics exist comfortably alongside more subdued folk wanderings and burly rock movements. "
- Joshua Pickard, Features Editor,
Beats Per Minute
"The Fight is the latest song by Jason Lyles, who harnesses classic alt rock arrangement to craft a song that could easily garner radio play on alternative rock and college stations worldwide...The symphonic breakdown and choral vamping are the icing on this cake, or the shiner on the champ as it were."
- The Pitch Sifter by Soundcorps
"Jason's new song The Fight has a solid message that everyone needs to hear."
- Shane Murphy, Hidden Tracks
"A sweet, sweet sound that is reminiscent of all the peaceful things in life: a perfect cup of coffee, the summertime sun, maybe the cracking of a campfire. I'm describing Jason Lyles' voice...If there's a sound that represents security, it can certainly be found in his music."
- Lindsey Clute, The Pulse Magazine
"The Undersea Acoustic Spree mixes the catchy ear candy of powerpop with strong lyrical content so there's no sugary crash afterword. Full of energy and with outgoing over the edge, it's easy to see why Jason Lyles has risen to the front of the pack."
- Dave Weinthal, Enigma Magazine
“The Undersea Acoustic Spree is a burst of euphoric folk-pop, the kind of joyously ruminative Americana that feels boundless and without restraint. ...Lyles strikes the perfect balance between reverence and experimentation."
- The Southern Sounding
"Jason Lyles has provided listeners with an unapologetically joyful sound on The Undersea Acoustic Spree. Lyles is a percussive guitarist, attacking the instrument to discover melody. This is pure Americana folk pop the way it should be. And the songs sound even better live."
- Sean Phipps, NOOGAtoday
"Jason plays an infectious brand of music that can't be boxed into one genre."
- Michael Guerdon, Virgola
"Jason Lyles has a sound that shakes the ground."
- Clifford Brooks, The Southern Collective Experience
"The Chameleana track Twenty-three is an anthem of pure cathartic nostalgia. The songwriting is delivered with hopefulness and energy. It's like Grateful Dead and Green Day made a song together. This is distinct American rock."
- William Bowers, Producer, Breaker 17 Studio
What do you get with Jason's music? Unflinching, unapologetic positivity. Not to mention a good time.
Jason Lyles has always been interested in what lies between genres – in that gray area where sounds tangle together and kick free of any sense of restriction or confinement. Whether it’s the sharp twang of an acoustic guitar blended with the emphatic thrust of some euphoric power-pop echo, or the tumbling movements of mid-90’s alternative rock spliced with 80’s jangle-pop, he has a unique ability to graft musical histories together in a way that doesn’t feel forced or disconnected. And he brought this gift to various bands in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee, developing a preternatural knack for how to operate within the band format while also working on material which grew from his own experiences and struggles.
Rather than allowing his musical roots to become inextricably intertwined in the geography of his personal history, Jason Lyles grants his creativities a welcome freedom to roam and explore the fringe of some well-worn genres, discovering new ways to impart humor and ache through song. His words – created through the lens of specific moments in time – convey universal sentiment without wallowing in overt sentimentality. Resting comfortably somewhere between the wiry pop classicism of The Cars and the twangy rock thump of Jason Isbell, the music of Jason Lyles rambles around its influences, creating a luminous bridge between the tumbling aesthetics of pop, folk, and rock.
Lyles' debut Shades of Grey found him straddling the line between loosely woven roots rock and alternative rock arrangements with an uncommon ease. His follow up EP, Ethereal, was a further blending and blurring of borders and sounds. Subsequently joining together with bassist Jeff Caldwell and drummer Jeff Bridges, they released Jason Lyles and the Sonic Avatars, bringing a more muscular rock sound to his work – recalling the emphatic and inescapably memorable roar of bands like Cheap Trick and Badfinger. After its release, Lyles settled back into an acoustic atmosphere, sharing The Undersea Acoustic Spree in early 2019 and bringing its collection of guitar, cello, and mandolin to venues across the Southeast.
It wasn’t long after The Undersea Acoustic Spree release that Lyles began to look at ways of digging deeper into the hazy landscapes of his past work and creating something still based in those experiences but free of any redundant methods. His pop, rock, and folk instincts saw an opportunity to redefine themselves, developing a catchy thump and twang on which to hang his wistful lamentations on love, joy, and our desperate search for both. The resulting batch of songs came to be called Chameleana, a title indicative of the songs’ ability to traverse genres and adapt themselves to any given situation.
The brief opening “Intro” acts, unsurprisingly, as our introduction to this new world that Lyles has created. We’re quickly thrust into “The Fight”, a song that’s equal parts Better Than Ezra and Matthew Sweet – which is to say, a perfect pop-rock confection that you’ll be humming for days. “Twenty-Three” harkens back to early cow-punk pioneers like True Believers and The Beat Farmers, while the orchestral flourishes of alt-country rambler “Good Year” brings to mind the more euphoric rurality of The Bottle Rockets. Lyles is not unacquainted with these sounds, but he provides them remarkable license to bloom and expand, making them feel wonderfully unique and undiscovered.
Chameleana is a record of blurred edges and compounded influences, of memories doused in twilight and the slight shiver of a cool evening breeze. Pop theatrics exist comfortably alongside more subdued folk wanderings and burly rock movements. Lyles isn’t afraid to get personal and offer something that’s going to take some time to comprehend – the lyrics are in service to a great emotional canvas supported by the music’s effortless gestures. His aim isn’t to provide answers to everything, but to simply provoke our own desire to understand. And through his work on Chameleana, Lyles has provided a way, if only for a few minutes at a time, for us to approach these deeper truths which always seem to lay just outside of our reach.
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"By far one of the more talented people we've had in the studio in quite a while."
- Randy Smith, Rock 105
“Chattanooga TN's Jason Lyles is more of a rocker than a power popper per se, but there are more than enough hooks and melodies to make Ethereal an enjoyable listen.”