It's true that "singer-songwriter/ funky rootsy folk rock" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue (or physically fit into the genre column on iTunes, for that matter), but it seems to be the best way to describe the music of Concord, Mass based Sawyer Lawson. Centered on acoustic guitar and vocals, most of Sawyer's songs certainly have a folk side to them. But from that starting point, says Sawyer, "my songs have a tendency to travel wherever they wish to go, and I have no intention of getting in their way." He finds ample room for creative exploration in the blending of musical styles, and that variety of styles makes for exciting live performances that hold the audience's attention through the last chord. As a solo performer, Lawson adds further interest to his shows by tastefully incorporating a loop pedal, and picking up his electric violin or mandolin to play a solo here and there.
Born into a gigging family band, he started performing at the age of 6. The family business was the nationally acclaimed Blue Jay Recording Studio, where Sawyer got to learn the ropes of the recording process, and make many of his own recordings. Growing up, he explored anything from classical to classic rock, to Celtic, blues, funk, bluegrass, jazz, and folk. He went for any instrument he could get his hands on. First it was drums and violin, and later he picked up guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and discovered he could sing. As he got older, Lawson began to focus primarily on guitar and vocals, and this, he says, is really what opened up the world of songwriting to him.
He soon realized that songwriting was the way he could put all his musical interests and skills together, drawing a little from here, a little from there, and crafting it into a polished creation. His music is eclectic, but there still seems to be something that holds it together. Says Lawson, "I like to think that the common thread is that all the music is an expression of the same person's experience- my own. I strive to write genuine songs, and I want people to know that there's a real person behind them."
He recorded his first solo album, 'If We All,' in 2010, on which he played almost all the instruments, including guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bass, drums and harmonica. With a predominantly acoustic folk rock sound, the album has a relaxed and thoughtful tone. Since then, he's written more than an album's worth of new material, some of which he had the chance to perform with Jonathan Edwards' rhythm section for a packed room in Maine. Lawson's focus right now is on performing solo. "The connection between performer and audience," he says, "is what fuels me. Seeing someone crack a smile as a song begins, or close their eyes while listening to an acoustic tune, is what it's all about."