Supporting the always excellent Mary Gauthier, East Nashville native Aaron Lee Tasjan promoted his excellent ‘Silver Tears‘ album with a troubadour’s turn here. Just him and his guitar….and what a revelation. ‘Silver Tears‘ is a great album and it is beautifully produced couching some great songs with some strong instrumentation and harmonies but here, stripped back, they sound wonderful, unadorned and spontaneous. This is enabled in no short measure by a fabulous set of pipes which Tasjan uses to full effect. Holding notes and bending melodies in a style not unlike Arlo Guthrie or on occasion John Sebastian of whom there is a hint in the sartorial style of embroidered waistcoat, jeans and some killer boots!
He opened with a jaunty walk along rag ‘The Best Is Yet to Come‘ followed quickly by a retune, a joke about how damp England is and then the track ‘Dime‘. Both allow Tasjan to take in the highly supportive and respectful room as he loosens up and really starts to enjoy himself. At the songs finish he launches into another anecdote whilst retuning his guitar once again and it is apparent that this is his modus operandi. Each song requires a slick but complex retuning. Two new songs now ‘ If Not Now, When? ‘ and ‘The Truth is so Hard to Believe‘ appear to be a major step up in his song writing quality particularly the latter with its fabulous vocal and dark minor chord tuning, just lovely. There are more than a few hints of Neil Young or that man Sebastian here. Then followed the standout song from ‘Silver Tears,’ ‘Memphis Rain,‘ just a great song while the walking blues of ‘12 Bar Blues‘ was witty and winsome. There was a final song about Los Angeles , the title of which got lost as this reviewer stopped writing and just listened.
This guy is a real talent. Not just as a performer but as a proper songwriter, more folk troubadour than country but with a real dash of charisma that could see him go far!