“You can’t play Beatles music with bullshit hair man.”
Truer words have never been said upon the stage at Rockwood Music Hall. With hair down to his shoulders covered by a faded brown fedora, Singer/songwriter/guitar slinger extraordinaire Aaron Lee Tasjan preached briefly about his early music roots as he intertwined the story into the final song of his set at Rockwood on Wednesday night. The former New Yorker was in town celebrating the release of his recent EP, Crooked River Burning, which is being released off the newly formed Rockwood music label. As always he gave a mesmerizing performance that left those lucky enough to be in attendance, in awe of one of the best young musicians in the industry today.
Aaron kicked off his hour long set with ‘Don’t You Walk Away’, ‘Everything That I Have Is Broken’, ‘My Camera’, and ‘Drugs & Junk Food’- all songs off the album. Also included in the set was a beautifully haunting performance of ‘The Streets of Galilee’, another Tasjan original. Each song blended his ability to carry a simple strum or finger picking rhythm, and like Jekyll to Hyde, turn the performance into a whirlwind of in your face distortion filled solos courtesy of a simple acoustic guitar and fuzz pedal. Anyone who’s ever said that one can’t shred and really show off your guitar skills with an acoustic clearly has never seen Aaron put on his usual clinic of acoustic mastery.
He led his three-piece band through six songs before a solo encore that included a true musical sermon mid-song as he talked about how his mom’s Beatles albums and going to see Ted Nugent turned him on to wanting to be a rock and roller. After one last epic guitar solo, the night was over. Just like that, Aaron had the entire room in the palm of his hand.
A.L.T., has some prefer to call him, is no stranger to being around great music. For a while he was a touring member of The New York Dolls and Alberta Cross, as well as working on his own local project the Madison Square Gardeners. He moved from the big apple to Nashville a little over a year ago but always seems to be embraced every time he comes back to town for a show, and rightfully so. He blows every music fan that comes out to see him out of the water with his fantastic songwriting ability and incredible guitar playing. Who knew an acoustic guitar and a fuzz pedal could bring such madness?
Article by Tom Shackleford