When Aaron Lee Tasjan describes his latest album, Karma for Cheap, as “aggressive,” it’s a relative term. While the Nashville singer-songwriter’s third solo full-length is marked by distorted guitars and heavy drums seldom heard on his previous releases, its atmosphere is distinctly inviting.
Following stints with New York rock groups Semi Precious Weapons and the Madison Square Gardeners, as well as guitar duties with Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ and the New York Dolls, Tasjan relocated to Nashville and began to release solo material. His debut, In the Blazes, tends toward outlaw country and raucous bar rock; Silver Tears, its follow-up, showcases a widening sonic palate, as much Laurel Canyon as it is Tennessee. But when the time came to record Karma, Tasjan tells us, the context for his music had changed.
“The Karma for Cheap record was so much about trying to find inner peace in a turbulent time,” says Tasjan, “and I think because of all the noise and the static that you have to cut through, I think I felt like I needed that record to be really aggressive. Which is kind of a contradictory thing to do if you’re trying to sing about peace and love… but I think I felt like I needed to be kind of a fighter.”
For all that, both Karma‘s songs and its production have a familiar, reassuring quality that seem to reflect Tasjan’s ethos. “For me, kinda my main goal as a musician is to be… a place of refuge for people sometimes,”he says, adding, “I would (like) to be someone who, whoever my fans are, they know there’s a wellspring of positivity and joy and laughing and crying and human emotion.” As sonically confrontational as it can be at times, the record is full of hummable melodies, as well as references and images that act as signposts that welcome the listener into its world. On the Pettyesque standout “Heart Slows Down,” it’s a friend comforting you that “everything sad is a little bit funny.”
Already well at work on new music, Tasjan says we can expect to hear some of what he’s been up to since Karma at Sing Out Loud. He’ll be at the Backyard at the Amp Sunday, September 15th with St. Paul & the Broken Bones and Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
When & Where
- From: Sep 15, 2019 05:30 PM
- To: Sep 15, 2019 06:30 PM
The St. Augustine Amphitheatre
1340C A1A South
St. Augustine, Florida, 32080