East Nashville, TN 2014-”Don’t walk away, I’m talking to you,” sings Aaron Lee Tasjan in the first chorus of the first song off of his new EP, Crooked River Burning. The song is aptly titled Don’t Walk Away and covers a lot of ground in four minutes and twenty-one seconds. It is, in it’s own way, much like the artist himself: filled with insight and brutal honesty, humorous and sincere in a fashion which is truly unique to the man delivering the song. These songs have been heard all across the USA this past year; in just about every bar, parking lot, van and music club that is still open and still puts on live music. As you listen to the songs on this EP, you begin to understand that while Tasjan seemingly works endlessly to bring his music to whomever will listen out on the road, he is also singing these songs because he has to. There is pain within the reedy Midwestern drawl of his voice but also the ability to laugh at life’s misfortunes and ultimately transcend them by putting into words and music all of his thoughts and experiences along the way.
Produced by Anton Fier (Bob Mould, Golden Palominos), the EP also features Fier on drums and Chris Morrissey (Taurus, Andrew Bird) on bass and upright bass. Recorded live with ALT, Fier and Morrissey all tracking at the same time, there is a feeling of immediacy and human interaction happening in these cuts that is greatly benefited by Tasjan’s laid back approach to technical prowess and highly effective regard for feel. The performances are spirited and the songs are of such quality that Tasjan was even recently honored by ASCAP at The Kennedy Center as one of America’s great songwriters of the next generation.
Now living in Nashville, TN, his list of accomplishments and accolades continues to grow, but one only need listen to the songs on this EP to realize that Tasjan can accomplish what few can musically, he can write songs that make you laugh and cry at once all while revealing himself to you in a manner such that you feel connected to something healing and powerful.