American Dreamer
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American Dreamer

Austin, TX | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Austin, TX | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Folk Alternative




"Listen to American Dreamer's new EP Exclusively on MySpace!"

Gorgeous strings and wistful vocals define Signal Sessions, American Dreamer’s new EP (out February 10).

"This is our first recording with bass player Dana Wygmans, and we chose songs that showcased her beautiful voice," says bandleader Sasha Klare-Ayvazian to Myspace.

"Unlike our 2016 LP Restless Nights (where we tracked everything individually), in this session we sought out to capture the spirit of the day by tracking live. We wanted a recording that really showcased our live sound, which is really the essence of the band."

The EP's three songs capture the group's breadth: from the layered, harmony-rich "Reach For The Sun" and the upbeat, orchestral rocker "Summer Jam" to "Cue 6," a waltz adapted from a film scored by Klare-Ayvazian.

"I've done a lot of live recording in my classical background, and nothing in my memory compares to the thrill of our Signal Sessions experience," says violinist Audrey Lee.

"I love the honesty of a live performance, and I love the sensation that the mics and cameras around us push us to be our very best. I live for the intensity of focus and connection we experience during each take, and the attention to detail that makes our music and expression what it is." -

"CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Satellite Gods, American Dreamer & Mike Llerena"

From Texas comes the full-length debut album titled "Restless Nights" from the orchestral folk group American Dreamer. Their new 11-song release begins with the wonderfully lush orchestration of "Open Your Eyes" as the music will warm your soul. The timeless appeal of "When You're Away" and the up-tempo country/folk rocker "Start-Stopping" showcases the range of genres that American Dreamer can cover with their instruments. They pour their emotions into their music as heard in the instrumental "Lullaby" and capture the simple fun of "All The Time" with it's playful, shuffle rhythm. American Dreamer finish up their new release with the up-tempo, pop/rock of "Howl" and the gentle acoustics of "Apollo." To find out more about American Dreamer and their latest release "Restless Nights," please visit - JP's Music Blog

"American Dreamer's Restless Nights"

If one of your new year’s resolutions is to open up your ears for new music, I suggest American Dreamer for your list. The Texas-based quintet just released their first LP, Restless Nights, following their previous EP in 2015, Winding Up A Dream, that took them performing across Central Texas and even managed to grab a Global Music Award along the way.

Sasha, Audrey, Courtney, Dana and Rick offers you a well-crafted album of chamber music, a rich textured and layered harmony. The, both, folk and classical influences doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re one and not the other. In fact, they are striving to create a sound that isn’t either with the hopes of exploring what’s in between.

Sasha Kalre-Ayvazian is responsible for the existence of this politically driven band. It all started with his roommate, who began playing cello along with his songs during his freshman year in Cleveland, Ohio. He then tried to capture the sound through multi-tracking American Dreamers’ 2014 EP. This carried on until he returned to school to get his master’s degree and found new friends who shares the same love for the music. The fact that they were also classically trained string players kind of helped. A lot.

Briefly explaining about their album, Sasha said, “Calling the record Restless Nights is a reference to our band name. The American Dream doesn’t seem to be doing so well at this time, so we wanted to offer a form of respite and spent a lot of time exploring the space we wanted to create.” If you enjoy the sounds of Sufjan Stevens and Yo-Yo Ma, it’s worth giving this band a listen. - Outlet Magazine

"Exclusive Music Video Premiere "All the Time""

The name “American Dreamer” feels redundant, in a way; from birth, so many Americans are instilled with the values of liberty and justice for all, taught that our country was built upon the dreams of the few who inspired the many. We learn the power of dreams through exemplars like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose “I Have a Dream” speech is as relevant today as it was fifty-three years ago.

Of course, the American Dream is not perfect; our streets are not paved with gold. Success does not come without dedication, hard work, and (perhaps) a bit of luck. Moreover, America’s so-called “freedoms” do not extend to all levels of society: Women, people of color, the LGBT+ community, those of certain religions, and other sectors of society do not enjoy the ability to freely express themselves; they are still fighting for their freedoms.

The notion of chasing the “American Dream” has many a folly, but to be an American Dreamer is to recognize the imperfections in our world – from inequality to exploitation, and beyond – and to work towards their end by whatever means necessary. Austin orchestral folk ensemble American Dreamer might not (or might!) have given such an extensive level of consideration into their band name, but they nevertheless stand by its values, promoting notions of unconditional love and individual freedom on their latest music video “All the Time.”

Listen: “All the Time” – American Dreamer

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “All the Time,” from American Dreamer’s independently-released 2016 debut album Restless Nights. Led by Oberlin-trained Sasha Klare-Ayvazian, the Texas-based quintet cultivates a sense of warmth and wonder with their incredible blend of folk, orchestral, and popular stylings. While their chamber music takes from influences well past their bicentennial, American Dreamer’s lyrical content is topical and timely, politically driven and socially conscious.

I don’t want to break your heart
I just want to make you blush
I’ve been seeing you around
I’m talking ’bout all the time

If you don’t love him, say no
We could take this town by storm
We could just live for today
I’m talking ’bout all the time

American Dreamer © 2017
American Dreamer © 2017

“All the Time” is much more than the innocent love song it pretends to be on the surface, and we learn that best through experiencing its rich, heartwarming music video. Directed by Nina Alexander, Dillon Lundeen Goldschlag, and Colin Healey, “All the Time” revolves around the experiences of what this writer can only describe as a humanoid Snuffleupagus – a living being that seems and acts human, but instead of skin, eyes, nose, etc, is made up of string or yarn.

Our protagonist is personification at its finest: We see this fictional being as a representation of ourselves, but it is removed enough such that we do not impose our usual unconscious biases and prejudices that come with a human actor – i.e., we see neither color nor gender. We just see a person – a lonely person, at that.

As lush strings fill the sonic space and Klare-Ayvazian’s humble voice radiates, our main character – let’s name it Fluffy, shall we? – is alone in a room, finding ways to have fun and occupy time. We see some toying around with a puppet mask, and goofing off in a pile of bouncy balls.

"All the Time" - American Dreamer still

"All the Time" - American Dreamer still

Once Fluffy gets ahold of a giant Number 2 pencil, the loneliness of that life becomes abundantly clear. At first, Fluffy draws a self-portrait, only to furiously erase the image. The solo picture is replaced by a series of duets; Fluffy draws a friend! Together they go to the moon, enjoy an air-balloon ride, visit a farm, go boxing, perform magic tricks, battle a dragon, take a gondola ride, escape from danger, fall in love, and have a little squiggly-lined baby. Fluffy’s dreams are easily relatable; who doesn’t want a partner with whom to explore the world and enjoy all that life has to offer?

"All the Time" - American Dreamer still

"All the Time" - American Dreamer still

"All the Time" - American Dreamer still

““All the Time” is a song of hope and possibility,” describes Sasha Klare-Ayvazian. “So often the challenges of daily life force us to function under self imposed pretenses, just to make it through the day. “All the Time” asks the question, what if we allowed ourselves to live as the people we’ve always wanted to be, all–the–time?”

Fluffy gives us a moment of solemn reflection: We see someone who is unable to live their life the way they want to. Sadness turns to despair as Fluffy realizes that dreams are only dreams, and though you can hang a piece of art on the wall, that doesn’t make it come to life!

… Until it does.

"All the Time" - American Dreamer still

"All the Time" - American Dreamer still

"All the Time" - American Dreamer still

"All the Time" - American Dreamer still

In through the door walks Fluffy’s imagined partner, another mop-top character of slightly darker, but no less scraggly presentation. Rejoice fills the room as our protagonist realizes what is happening, and hand in hand they walk out of that entrapment and into the world beyond!

Here, we see a world where the individual is allowed to express oneself the way one pleases. Fluffy does more than find a friend; Fluffy is allowed to live the life Fluffy wants to live. Imagine if everyone were allowed that privilege: To exist how they wanted to exist, to love who they wanted to love. To many, that world is still a dream.

Hopefully, it’s an American dream. “Calling the record Restless Nights is a reference to our band name,” reflects Klare-Ayvazian. “The American Dream doesn’t seem to be doing so well at this time, so we wanted to offer a form of respite and spent a lot of time exploring the space we wanted to create.” American Dreamer are fully aware of the implications and expectations their name projects, and they deliver toward those ends with magnificent grace.

"All the Time" - American Dreamer still
“All the Time” – American Dreamer still

One can watch American Dreamer’s “All the Time” video and see it for little more than adorable puppetry, but there is great depth within this visionary portrayal of the individual. Propelled by American Dreamer’s music, directors Nina Alexander, Dillon Lundeen Goldschlag, and Colin Healey touch upon core tenets of our society that are not being upheld to the best of our ability. Consider the song’s final, hopeful verse:

I don’t want to mess around
I just want to tie this down
We could just drive all night
I’m talking ’bout all the time

Why shouldn’t everyone be allowed to live with such unrestrained love – such endless wonder, excitement and passion?

Do not dismiss the disenfranchisement of others simply because you do not share their loss; when one piece of your country suffers, the entire nation suffers. The entire world suffers. American Dreamer know this fact all too well; this writer knows this fact all too well. Take a page out of American Dreamer’s book, which is a page out of MLK and Abraham Lincoln’s book, and look at your fellow humans with unbiased eyes. See them for what they are – for they are much more real than Fluffy, and unlike Fluffy, their drawings will not magically put an end to the challenges they face.

In one magical video, American Dreamer captured the American Dream. - Atwood Magazine

"Elegant Folk from American Dreamer"

It’s been cloudy and dreary in Austin for the past week or so, but rumor has it that the clouds are going to break and we’re going to get back to Texas Fall/Winter–that is to say sunny and 70. I don’t know about you, but I like to match my listening choices with the weather, and this new track from American Dreamer is the perfect accompaniment to the sun coming out. “Open Your Eyes” is an orchestral folk gem that begs you to do just that; the song starts slow and washes you over with waves of strings and acoustic guitar that are will make you swoon. The vocals are breathy and delicate as the instrumentation, soft and welcoming as the track starts to warm up. All in all, it’s a gorgeous number and I’m going to be getting lost in it for the rest of the day at the very least. Take a listen. - Austin Town Hall

"Austin, TX's Very Own: American Dreamer"

American Dreamer’s Sasha Klare-Ayvazian first became aware of folk and classical music when he heard his roommate play along to the cello to a few of his songs during his freshman year at Oberlin College in Cleveland, Ohio. Sasha attempted to create this sound in American Dreamer’s self-titled EP released in 2014. He continued to keep this sound until he went back to school to get his master’s degree where he made new friends that happened to be classically trained string players.

Now that the band was fully formed, they came together to create their live EP entitled “Winding Up A Dream,” that was released in 2015. They began performing across Central Texas and getting themselves a Global Music Award.

With the four of them and they fretless instruments, they realized the challenges of their sound, with nothing but writing for a full year, the band finally became aware of the sound that Sasha was envisioning for years come to life.

Earlier in 2016, the band entered Austin Signal Studios and with the help of Andrew Oedel, engineer, and producer, they recorded their first LP entitled “Restless Nights.” Titled in reference to the band name as with restless nights, you come closer to seeking the American dream. - Under the Press Publishing

"Week in Pop"

Featured off the new album Restless Nights, let the organic luster of American Dreamer’s “Open Your Eyes” do just that with its assemblage of strings & earnest & earth vibrations that sails upon forecasts that just maybe things will get a little bit better in our collective worlds. - Impose Magazine

"American Dreamer Craft Orchestral Magic with 'Go Where You Go' (album premiere)"

Austin's American Dreamer are not your typical folk collective. With emotive storytelling, vocal harmonies, and roots-centric instrumental performance at their center, the quartet uses the staples of the genre. However, the way they approach it comes from an orchestral plane, ushering in ebullient processions of vibrant, melodious sound that sets their compositions apart from the crowd. On Go Where You Go, tonal shifts between gaiety, eloquence, languor, and fervor occur throughout the ebb and flow, existing as naturally through its variety of stylistic influences as the woods represented on the LP's cover art.

The rich warmth with which American Dreamer ensnares its listeners with is the brainchild of Sasha Klare-Ayvazian, who moved to Austin following a college stint. On forming the band, Ayvazian says, "I found myself befriending string players. My fiancée is our cellist. I just kept meeting string players. At a certain point, it was kinda a lightbulb moment. I have a background in composition, so arranging parts came naturally."

Although the development process of their newest album was a harrowing process, to say the least, American Dreamer found a savior in Ghost Hit Recording's Andrew Oedel. Oedel salvaged previously unsatisfactory mixes, piecing them together to complete the puzzle that is the band's lively and amiable new full-length. Although its production may not have been the most simplistic of processes, the payoff has been a grandiose new effort from the quartet.

Klare-Ayvazian continues, "I tried to fill this record with hope, joy, beauty, and solace. I hope people listen driving in their car on a Sunday afternoon and smile and sing-a-long. I hope they ignore the lyrics, close their eyes, and get lost in the strings. And I hope people listen to every word and follow the stories in the songs." - PopMatters


Go Where You Go - 2018 LP

Signal Sessions - 2017 live EP

Restless Nights - 2016 LP

Winding Up A Dream - 2015 EP



Comprised of two former rockers (guitar and drums) and three classical musicians (violin, cello, bass), Austin orchestral folk ensemble American Dreamer has over 30 years of collective music school experience. Members can be found performing in the Austin Symphony Orchestra, directing school orchestras, leading studios, and teaching at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Not surprisingly, the band’s sound mirrors the generosity apropos of educators. In performance, they selflessly let one another share the spotlight as much as they commingle in it, obviously in appreciation for what they do as individuals and as a group. From the rocker “Start-Stopping” to the more introspective “Apollo,” American Dreamer’s song flow easily with intricate, lush harmonies and expressive instrumentation reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens. With one foot in classical music and the other comfortably in folk, the common thread that runs through every song, and each member of the group, is the natural urge to share sounds, emotions, and stories through music. 

American Dreamer is represented by Another Victory Publishing (Chicago), Americana Live (San Antonio) and is a 2018-2020 Texas Touring Roster artist. 

American Dreamer has performed at prominent festivals and events including the Old Settler's Music Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, 2018 SERFA Official Showcase Selection, 2017 SWRFA Official Showcase Selection, PGA National Convention, Central Ohio Folk Festival, Fischer Fest, Chef Fest, Fort Worth's Mayfest, Earth Day Austin, Deep Ellum Arts Festival, Violet Crown Festival, and the Austin Statesman Cap10K.

American Dreamer has performed with the Punch Brothers, Sarah Jarosz, Elephant Revival, Mandolin Orange, Session Americana, Shinyribs, Guy Forsyth, and Ray Prim. 

American Dreamer:

Sasha Klare-Ayvazian: vocals, guitar/banjo

Dana Wymans: vocals, bass

Camille Schiess: vocals, violin

Courtney Castaneda: cello

Rick Palese: drums

Band Members