Aaron Lee Tasjan has put an album together of 12 songs, Silver Tears. It was one of NPR’s first listens, and has reached some acclaim since the release of it back on October 28th via New West Records. He also gained some acclaim with a Rolling Stone review per their Country Fall Preview.
Aaron has been described in all sorts of ways. He calls Nashville home and his brand of country blends a few styles, however he considers himself more rock and roll with just a country influence. Aaron and I had a conversation in regard to him coming to play The Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky. He was as honest as his songwriting. There is no disconnecting from what he does as a musician and who he is as a person. It’s just honest, and for “country” that’s most important.
Silver Tears is a record that weaves in and out of country and rock and roll. Aaron with his falsetto has found a combination that works through this blending of styles. I wouldn’t want to label this at all, as this is quite simply Aaron Lee Tasjan music. He moves in and out of the labels, and the songwriting is a testament to that. “Ready to Die” is a song that drives through minor chords while he screams, “I’m ready to die.” Then the introspective, “Out of My Mind” followed by the Todd Snider-Ray Wylie Hubbard-esque song called, “12 Bar Blues.” Where it is not so much about the blues, rather, a talking blues song about a night out on the town and what that can all entail.
The record encapsulates where he has come from and where he is going. And, through his earliest memory for him musically listening to Phantom of the Opera on his Fischer Price tape recorder, to then becoming friends with songwriters Kevin Kinney and Ray Wylie Hubbard I found this to be true. As he put it to me in our conversation, “Once I found music I stopped doing almost everything else… my school work, making friends, any social activities really were all second to writing songs and recording them.” I think this sentiment rings true through the songs he has put together on Silver Tears. Through a song like “Success” another sentiment comes to mind which when I asked Aaron what would his advice be to an up and coming songwriter or band he said, “My advice is don’t think about the money. Don’t be afraid to throw away socks. The coolest thing you could ever be is you.” His song “Success” is also his answer to the question. In that, it speaks about the idea of success and how it is not necessarily defined by the things you own, it is about who you are.
Aaron Lee Tasjan has put together twelve songs on Silver Tears that meld genre’s and speak of life. He told me that him and bandmate Brian Wright, “…have played a lot of duo shows this year, and those are fun, but our band will f*** with you.” I think that about sums up even the way I feel about it, because I have listened to Silver Tears and it was not what I expected, and to that I tip my hat off to him. As I always do I asked him why music, of all things to do why this? And he couldn’t have been more honest, “I play music because if I die now, my Mom and Dad wouldn’t get much.”
Aaron Lee Tasjan will be at The Southgate House Revival on Sunday November, 20th with Brian Wright.