Aaron Lee Tasjan
Shares video for “Memphis Rain”
– an ode to a dream about the late great Jay Reatard
New album Silver Tears due out on New West on 6 January
“He’s a sharp-tongued songwriter, R-rated storyteller, major shredder and unapologetic stoner, rolling his influences into a 12-song tracklist that recalls everything from the wry folk of fellow East Nashville misfit Todd Snider to the baked-to-bejeezus pop opuses of Brian Wilson.” Rolling Stone Country
Aaron Lee Tasjan is set to release his new album Silver Tears on 6 January via New West Records. Like a modern day Cosmic Cowboy, Tasjan creates a heady blend of country-flecked rock-n-roll, veering from acoustic blues to garage-pop psych to smooth Nashville sounds to lush Laurel Canyon fare… filled with Tasjan’s remarkable story-telling, imbued with wry wit, a sharp tongue and a lot of heart – bringing to mind the showmanship and humour of Josh Tillman (Father John Misty – whose bassist Eli Thomson produced Silver Tears), as well as Harry Nilsson and Tom Petty. While calling East Nashville home, Tasjan recorded the entirety of Silver Tears in Southern California at Elliott Smith’s former studio New Monkey as well as Sonikwire Studios in Irvine, and Club Casino in Huntington Beach. “Romantically, I had the idea of Tom Petty in the studio, jamming, trying to capture different feels and see where the day was,” Tasjan reveals. “I wanted it to be live, to have that intensity that draws people in.”
The gently romantic Roy Orbison-esque country tune “Memphis Rain”, whose video was premiered via Rolling Stone, is half dream, half reality. “I had a dream that late, great Memphis musician, Jay Reatard was singing ‘In the Memphis rain’ on this motorcycle that was on fire. A few days later I played a show at Lafayette’s in Memphis and right before the gig, this lady at the bar was really tearing into me, said she was a jujitsu instructor, could sleep with her eyes open and a descendant of her family was pictured on the Indian head nickel, just really wild stuff. There was a big window looking out onto the street from the bar and during my whole set I watched her standing out in the pouring rain arguing with her boyfriend who kept his motorcycle running the entire time I played. It was a really beautiful and strange moment so I wrote it into the song.”
NPR Music previously premiered the video for first single “Little Movies” which can also be seen Here, stating; “Tajsan taps into the dreaminess of post-Sgt. Pepper pop psychedelia for ‘Little Movies,’ contemplating the way each of us creates personal myths. The sound resounds with reverb, its low end recalling Brian Wilson’s symphonic experiments with the studio band The Wrecking Crew.”
Tasjan was awarded a scholarship to the esteemed Berklee College of Music but fled to Brooklyn to set out on what quickly became a wild path. Whether playing guitar in the late incarnation of glam-rock innovators the New York Dolls, the gender-bending, envelope-pushing Semi Precious Weapons, the Neil Young-signed Everest, British roots rock band Alberta Cross, Southern rock stalwarts Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ or even as frontman of the Heartbreakers-meets-Replacements rockers Madison Square Gardeners, bubbling under the surface was a songwriter using each experience as a stepping stone to inform his own unique songwriting. Silver Tears careens from pot paeans to brooding, cinematic observations to laid back ‘70s country-rock and introspective folk. Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman’s playfulness, Elliott Smith’s melodicism, John Prine’s masterful way with words and nods to Tom Petty can be found.
Silver Tears was produced by Eli Thomson (Father John Misty’s band) and features a band comprised of Thomson, David Vandervelde, Frank Lenz (Starflyer 59, Richard Swift), Dan Bailey (First Aid Kit), Max Hart (Guster) and Charlie Peterson.