The past few years it’s been hard to find country songs which put real life situations that aren’t about bikinis, bonfires or bench seats. While the tides have slowly been changing, it hasn’t necessarily gone so fast enough but in the interim, you can still find good country songs about more real life topics and situations than the those “slide on over here” songs. Aaron Burdett is one such artist and thankfully his new ten track album Refuge is the kind of record I’ve been looking for.
Like Mac McAnally, Burdett sometimes has a finger picking style to his guitar playing (he’s as good a guitarist as he is a singer) and nowhere is this more evident than the fiddle-laced opener “Pennies On The Tracks,” a story song about the men who built America into the powerful country it is. It’s vivid, it’s poignant and a perfect opener to get this record going. Another blue collar song is next with the stellar “It’s A Living.” Honest in approach, the lyric deals with a man who hates working for the man but realizes that he gets to live a life he likes, especially the leisure parts, because he makes that living in that office. It’s a song that is right in line with anything Zac Brown has ever written and in a just world, it would be a hit for Aaron Burdett. “Rock And Roll” fits within these two songs and there’s a Springsteen-ish vibe to the storytelling here, as if its a lost song from Nebraska.
“Thieves And Charlatans” finds a groovy electric guitar leading the melody as Aaron sings about the kinds of mistakes and lies that make up human nature, even if we have an honesty to what we are doing. The slight rasp behind Aaron Burdett’s vocal is showcased here as he sings about being a man who will put aside those parts of human nature to stand next to the love of his life. “Last Refuge” is the song which gives the Refuge album it’s title and like the previously mentioned song, this one is about the love of his life and everything she does for him and, again, Burdett delivers a fantastic vocal full of passion and grit.
Aaron Burdett is an artist that deserves a higher profile. His music is the kind of music that cuts through the clutter and right into your soul with passionate storytelling and song craft and musicianship. Refuge is clearly one of 2017’s best records and joins Tinderbox and Fruits of my Labor in my collection and hopefully they’ll land in your collection too.