the Ahia
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the Ahia

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Make Way for the New Folk"

There was Leadbelly. There was Guthrie. There was Dylan. Turn the page, Justin Payne is the next chapter in American folk music. He pays homage to his forebears and defiantly walks away in his own direction, dragging the still-reawakening folk scene over his shoulder. He writes as a man with something to prove, without showing much concern for the perception of his peers. In his songs, Payne does not weave an ornate, meticulous tapestry, but rather stitches an uneven, oblong patch quilt of sounds, styles, themes, and personalities. He plays with the precision and timing of Robert Johnson, yet with the melancholy and brewing rage of Leadbelly. He writes with the eloquence and patient wisdom of Bob Dylan, but simultaneously with the irreverence and impulsive spontaneity of Jeff Mangum. To hear Justin Payne for the first time is to lose ones self in a confused symphony of beauty and discord so disorienting that it can only be the product of a mind consumed by either pure madness or shear genius. The answer is still uncertain, but what is certain is that Justin Payne is proving himself to be among the most promising American folk musicians since Beck released One Foot In The Grave. Don't believe the hype. Believe Casey, Phil, Tony and Justin. Come to a show. Or better yet, don't come, and just stay home and pretend that the world isn't moving on without you...
- Heath Dyson, Man Battles Dork Records, January 2006


Our initial acoustic EP, the Church, receives regular airplay on 88.1 WBGU Fm. Our full length long player, Everything Comes to an End, is currently resting in the doldrums of post-production, and driving Justin back to drinking...


Feeling a bit camera shy


Born out of the creative mind of Ohio singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Justin Payne, the Ahia bears a coat of many colors. Initially envisioned as an acoustic folk project drawing on the American folk tradition, the accumulation of more and more varyingly different songs and styles to his repertoire forced Payne to take matters in an unexpected, yet utterly novel direction. With the addition of a full band of three equally established and gifted individuals, the Ahia became like the Hydra of ancient Greek mythology; with each head bearing its own outlook, its own story, its own personality. The Ahia conjure multi-faceted, angular intensity in one breath, while leveling the playing field with a pulsing rubato of soulful, heart-breaking honesty in the next. They go from throbbing bass and shaking asses in every direction, to a room full of glassy, vacant eyes, to affirmations of Midwestern ramshackle glory and solitary faith in one’s own strength and clarity, all in the span of one 45 minute set. If there is one quality this band exudes above all others, it’s unpredictability. In direct opposition to their contemporaries, the Ahia shun formula in favor of chaotic grooves and careening, violent revolution inspired melodies. The lyrics to every Ahia song are an ever-changing pattern of syntax, tact, field holler, and call to arms; aligning with each other, sometimes within the context of one song, much like drops of rain on the windowpane causing untold and uncontrolled artistic expression. All of this lyricism is dynamically whispered, rasped, or crooned from Payne's extraordinarily full bodied and healthy baritone.

Blending the socio-political identity/consciousness of bands like the Clash and the Fall with the mercurial lyrical expression of Bob Dylan and Jeff Magnum, and topping it all with the song-craft and musical immediacy of the best work by Arthur Lee’s Love, early 70’s Byrds, and the Kinks, the four members of the Ahia all march headlong into shunned regions of artistic expression left largely unexplored by their fellow contemporaries in the mass confusion of the Midwestern synth/dance craze.

Wholly misunderstood pariahs, outcasts, and aliens among their own community, the Ahia evoke a new face for themselves with nearly every new world they create, leaving the bottom line as they feel it should forever be. Good songs will always be good songs, regardless of how they are dressed, the Ahia pursue such concise expression with their hearts full of passion for every waking moment and eyes that see for miles and miles...