Lahire is the musical project of singer/songwriter/guitarist Johnston Ayala. Lahire combines masterful, narrative storytelling reminiscent of traditional folk and country with the powerful impact of rock and electric blues to create a unique brand of high voltage, mystical roots rock.
On Faded West, Lahire’s first studio album set to release on October 13, 2017, the ride is a rollicking, dystopian journey through a reimagined America. Faded West, was recorded, mixed and mastered at East Nashville analog studio The Bomb Shelter and co-produced by Billy Bennett and Jon Estes. Bennett and Estes recruited some of Nasvhille’s most talented musicians including guitarists Jay Rutherford (Los Colognes) and Jeremy Fetzer (Steelism) with Julian Dorio (The Whigs, Eagles of Death Metal, Band of Skulls ) on drums. Multi-instrumentalist Estes played bass and a host of other instruments to round out the powerful, atmospheric sound of the album.
Ayala’s gothic fiction-laden lyrics lead the listener on a journey in every song with vintage vibe and fresh energy that conjours adventure and freedom. The inspiration for the concept and sound of Faded West was inspired from songs like Neil Young’s “Powderfinger”, Bob Dylan’s “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)” and Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska.
Western folklore and mythology are woven throughout the album, like the tracks “Black Mare” and Heavy Rain”. Songs like “Firestorm”, and “Breakneck Headway” are road trip-ready, just waiting for a dashboard drummer, a long stretch of highway, and a warm breeze to blow through rolled-down windows. The mystical journey continues with fierce hard rocking “Seek Your Fortune” and “Blood Moon Country”, winding through the dystopian western landscapes of “Foreign Fighter” and “Blue Horizon” culminating in back home to the east of “Mississippi Delta Overdrive” and “Twilight Sun”.
"I was always a voracious reader,” Ayala says. "I started writing poetry pretty early on and was really into narrative poetry. I starting reading a lot of fiction in high school and college and was particularly influenced by magical realist writers like Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa as well as gothic American writers like Flannery O’Connor, Sam Shepard and Cormac McCarthy. I think a lot of that influence comes out in my music."
As an adult, Lahire's creativity and musical journey was stifled by acts of self deception- frustrating job searches, a failed magazine, and various attempts to define himself. “I lied to myself for many years about who I was and what I should be doing with my life,” Ayala says. “I battled vast periods of loneliness and disconnectedness. So, even though I have been playing music for a while, I was always reticent and in denial trying to be something I wasn’t. I decided I was tired of doing that.”
When Ayala reached the lowest point in his life, he returned to songwriting. “The only thing I had was music and in that place, that darkness, I began to write these songs that would ultimately make up the album," he says. "It’s as if everything else had been whittled away and music was all that was left and my true self was revealed.”