Ace Reporter

 

A rooftop overlooking Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, and a fleabag motel on the banks of the Susquehanna River. A bus traveling through sleeping Chicago suburbs, and a book-filled bedroom. A sculpture garden in Washington, DC, and a tragicomic garden party. If the songs on Ace Reporter’s debut LP, Yearling, feel as though they wander through the dioramas of specific memories, it’s because the songs themselves constitute memories. Memories, that is, of a year — 2010 — that Ace Reporter’s Chris Snyder spent writing and recording one new song every day. The impetus for such an ambitious undertaking? “At the end of 2009, my longtime band The States broke up in a bit of an emotional plane crash, and all of a sudden I was a musician without a mission. I wanted to do something extremely solitary, almost monkish, and overnight the ‘threesixfive project’ was born.” One year and three hundred and sixty-five songs later (and much to his surprise), Snyder found himself energized. “I fully expected to be drained by the end of the project, but instead I felt more creative than ever. I wanted to make a record, and more importantly, I wanted to play shows again. It felt great.”

In 2011, Snyder did just that, releasing 4 EPs of songs culled from the project’s 365 tracks, playing a number of successful shows in New York, and recording a full-length album in a converted barn in upstate New York. That self-produced album, Yearling, features performances by drummer Aaron Steele and frequent Ace Reporter collaborator Chris Kuklis and was engineered and mixed by Nashville-based producer and engineer Chris Grainger (Wilco, Switchfoot, Sixpence None The Richer). “It felt really important to do justice to a few of the songs from that year, because I usually only got to spend two or three hours on each day’s song. It probably should have been called a ‘demo-a-day’ project,” Snyder laughs. The songs span a range of genres, from the infectious pop-rock melodies of “Untouched and Arrived” to the groove-driven keys on “Collected Works” to the beautifully lush violins of “If I See You Again.” It could all feel disjointed, but Ace Reporter’s ability to bend genres works like the turns of a kaleidescope, with Snyder’s voice and his meticulous songwriter’s craft the constant focus and the cohesive force that tie these songs together into what is unmistakably an album. Even in advance of its release (set for early 2012), Yearling has already started to garner praise, with album closer “If I See You Again” winning ASCAP’s Robert Allen Award for excellence in songwriting.

Chris Snyder is a songwriter, composer, producer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist based in Brooklyn, NY. After picking up the violin at age 4, he landed his first singing gig as the featured boy soprano on the soundtrack for The Crow, the first of many Hollywood jobs. An electric guitar, a 4-track tape recorder, and a persistent creative spark led Chris to form The States in 2002, a band he spent 7 years with before embarking on the ambitious threesixfive project in 2010. In addition to his work as a solo artist, Chris has produced original material for a number of film and theater productions, including Fourteen Flights, which enjoyed a sellout run at this year’s New York International Fringe Festival.