Whether its a stubborn molecule of toxic masculinity, a frank reflection on the fragility of life, or just a brash rock ‘n’ roll stereotype, “getting soft with age” is an oft-repeated adage, especially in the world of music. In the decade-long natural maturation of tastes between one’s preteens and post-grad explorations, there can be an almost parodic adrenaline-and-amp-addicted attitude that prefers to “die young” instead of “grow up”. And while claiming a traditional genre like folk is “hard” in contrast to say…punk rock sounds a bit silly, of course it’s all in the ear of the beholder. For London-born, Washington, D.C.-raised, and Austin-based songwriter Andy Aylward? A steady progression into soft-folk-rock hasn’t curbed any of the observational petulance of his adolescent punk days nor the nihilism of his post-college psychedelic experiences. Now whisked in the relative wisdom of his thirties, Aylward does make a conscious effort to eschew overt pessimism from his originals. But as heard on Andy Aylward’s 2019 solo debut Sometimes Rain, neither interjections of hope nor gallows humor mask the beautifully bleak honesty of his folksy poetry. Riding off a historically wayward relationship with cheap wine, bygone breakups, and the cross-country moves that eventually brought Aylward to Texas, Remember Me Like Birds On The Wind doesn’t relent an inch away from Andy’s intrinsic earnestness. These eight introspective, sparse arrangements were mixed by Fruit Bats/Kevin Morby producer D. James Goodwin for a minimalist affair that features The Cairo Gang’s Emmett Kelly, Stephen “Sweet Baboo” Black, and Captain Beefheart’s J.T. Thomas. Last Friday, ahead of Remember Me‘s April 25th release date, Aylward unleashed the album’s lead single that syncs up J.T. Thomas with trumpet-for-hire Paul Brandenburg for a jaunty jangler that just doesn’t give up, “No Surrender”.