Aaron Burdett's music tells stories about life as reflected in the mind and felt in the soul of a southern Appalachian. Stories that are authentic, intense, wise - and occasionally, at least a bit humorous.
The Western North Carolina-based native's new single, "Rockefeller," is mountain music that speaks to the modern age. It's part satire, part comedy, peppered with a dash of protest. Above all, it's a vivid look at the working class mindset of a character staring out at a world they feel both alienated from and at peace with.
In a new step for the singer-songwriter, the music here is bluegrass in form, with a banjo-driven energy that perfectly underpins Burdett's urgent, muscular vocal. The result is lighthearted and entertaining, yet unmistakably perceptive.
As Burdett notes, "'Rockefeller' is, on the surface, just a fun song about wishing for more than you have and being envious of others. I like to write from the vantage point of someone here in our region say, in the 1930's or 1940's. Dig a little deeper though, and the song brings in hints of the income and economic inequality that's such a big part of our mountain history, both 100 years ago and now. But then the chorus is all about making do and being content with what you do have. So it's a song with a few layers to jump back and forth between."
The lyrics also hint that the song's hero is a trickster having a laugh at the world that allows for such a wide income disparity. "Might not be good enough to fool the Lord but it'll be good enough to fool you for sure. I've been getting by with what is mine."
With a fiery bluegrass sound that features stinging harmonies from regular bassist Kim France, "Rockefeller" ultimately comes across as a new version of an old kind of ballad - one that comments perfectly on a current cultural reality.
Listen to "Rockefeller" HERE.
Aaron's writing is as prolific and genuine as the man. He grew up the oldest of three boys in the fairly isolated small town in Saluda, NC, where the Blue Ridge meets the Smoky Mountains. When Aaron was about 10 years old he was introduced to the music of Cat Stevens, the first of many musical influences that include the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Norman Blake, and David Grier.
During his teen years, Aaron found his tenor voice in a choral setting and, performed in musical theater. In 1992 he went to the renowned Governor's School of North Carolina for choral music. In his 20s, he played extensively in Boone, NC and owned a music store that sold instruments and offered lessons.
After seeing a lot of his friends and musical colleagues struggle to be full-time musicians, sometimes at the cost of their marriages and family lives, Aaron moved back to his hometown and decided to go another route. He started a construction business, built a home for himself and his wife, and started a family, all while continuing to write songs and playing music, recording an album every year or two. In 2013, Aaron decided to pursue music in earnest, so fast forward to 2019, and his distinctive clear voice has carried his dream into a successful career. Aaron's songs effortlessly transition from solo performance to full band, with equal emotional impact on audiences.
Aaron has 7 albums, Refuge (2017 on Organic Records), Tinderbox (2015 on Organic records), Fruits of My Labor (2014 on Organic Records), Breathing Underwater (2012), Stand Up Eight (2010), Resolve (2008) , and The Weight of Words (2005).