Blues Blast

Aaron Burton – Southern Swagger 

Self-release 10 songs – 40 minutes

Texan singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Aaron Burton’s seventh album, Southern Swagger, continues in the same impressive vein as his most recent release, All Night Long (favorably reviewed in the 09 April 2015 issue of Blues Blast Magazine). The new album contains 10 self-written songs, with Burton on vocals, guitar and banjo, William “Stompin’ Bill” Johnson on harp, Dirk Cordes on drums and Joe Degelia on steel guitar. Sonnie Collie also adds bass to one track and guitar to another.

The musicians have played together for years and their ability and willingness to focus on the song has resulted in a highly enjoyable album of roots-influenced acoustic country blues. Cordes in particular sets up a series of irresistible rhythms while never over-playing or over-shadowing the song and the space that is left paradoxically creates a bigger sound. But there is also a palpable joy apparent throughout the album, as if the musicians had a total blast while recording it.

Opening with the gloriously-titled “My Name Is Aaron Burton” Burton explains the origins of his old pseudonym, Peetie Whitestraw, over an upbeat country folk blues groove. There is a sly wit to Burton’s songs, which he sings in a lazy but engaging drawl, but there is no lack of emotional depth in his voice – the haunting “Heroine And Cocaine” has echoes of the desperation and desolation of the great Skip James.

Lyrically, he covers traditional blues themes such as death (as in the ominous one-chord boogie of “Murder”) or basic carnal desires (in the rollicking “Real Good Booty” or the country blues of “Copulate”, in which he winningly admits “I want to copulate, copulate with you. I can’t concentrate, it’s all I wanna do. Look here mama, I’m telling you straight, all I want to do is copulate. I want to copulate with you”). He is also adept at finding what humour can be eked out from a desperate situation, as with his promises to his baby in “Jewelry Store”.

The rockabilly-country of “City Of Hate” reveals a complex relationship between the song’s protagonist and the city he calls home as Burton sings “Dallas, Texas is the place I long to be. I’m going back home. Pretty mama coming home with me….. I’m going down to Dallas, way down in that Lone Star State. I’m going back home, back to the City of Hate. I’m going back home, yeah, ‘cos I love the City of Hate.”

Burton adds bouncing banjo to “Caddo Line” but primarily lays down rhythm guitar on his acoustic. Burton, Johnston and Degelia all take solos at various times, but the primary focus of the album is on the songs with the lead instruments weaving in and out of the vocal melodies. One of the highlights of the album however is the closing instrumental, the album’s title track: wonderfully dreamy (but uncredited)- (correction; Fred Harvey)- sax playing and articulate finger-picking over the top of another top notch Cordes groove.

Southern Swagger is yet another top class slice of acoustic country blues from Aaron Burton. There is an enticing timelessness to his music. Highly recommended.

Elmore Magazine

Aaron Burton is yet another of those Texan pickers who seems to creep in under the radar, lodging himself in the mind and memory. With around half a dozen albums already to his credit, with Southern Swaggerhe brings more than a touch of Down South, low-down and dirty acoustic blues to the mix. All ten tracks are self-written and feature his laid-back, sensitive acoustic picking with its shades of past-masters and rolling rhythmic licks.

Obviously touched by Texan influences, including Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins, Burton nevertheless manages to slip sideways into the slipstream and stamp his own character on the material and the fine fretwork with evident ease. His droll, drawling vocal delivery matches his picking style perfectly, and he always squeezes some unexpected humor into the lyrical mix. Burton is one of those guys who is clearly comfortable with the music, and has an excellent grasp of the essentials of good ole’ traditional, southern blues. Southern Swagger is one to savor.

-Iain Patience

Blues Blast

Aaron Burton – All Night Long

Self Release

www.aaronburton.net

14 tracks / 51:48

As blues has evolved over time it has strayed pretty far from its original formula, but country and folk blues usually stays pretty true to the original sources of the genre. Aaron Burton’s self-released sixth album, Up All Night, falls into this latter category, and delivers a solid collection of roots and blues music with a Lone Star influence.

Aaron Burton hails from the Dallas / Fort Worth area, and he has shared his pleasant drawl and fine stringed-instrument prowess around the United States and all the way to the United Kingdom, where he is gaining a respectable collection of new fans. On Up All Night he takes care of the vocals, guitar, mandolin and dulcimer, and he his joined by “Stompin” Bill Johnston on the harp and Dick Cordes behind the drum kit. There are fourteen self-penned tracks on this release, with a couple of neat covers worked into the set.

The title track is up first, and it is readily apparent that Burton has put together a power country blues trio with a big sound. “All Night Long” starts with a dulcimer ostinato and quickly adds slide guitar and mandolin. Johnston’s harmonica takes an active role, filling in the parts that would normally be covered by a second guitar or keyboard. When you add Cordes’ hard-hitting drums into the mix, the effect is quite huge.

Burton’s guitar work is very good, but he does not show off as he plays only the notes and chords that are really necessary. This makes the CD more accessible to a larger audience and provides a more laid-back vibe. His vocals are rich and appropriately growly at times – perfect for the style of blues he is selling.

Aaron is a good storyteller and a capable songwriter as shown by “The Day Big Tex Caught Fire,” a tune that uses the classic blues lyrical style and his electric guitar to recount the loss of the famed Texas State Fair icon back in 2012. He also does a stunning job of capturing the listener’s attention and emotion with “Hard Luck Child,” a more modern blues tune that tells the sorry tale of innocent folks who never had a shot at happiness in their lives.

Despite the heaviness of this last tune, Burton maintains an upbeat mood for much of the album, with light-hearted songs about things that most folks can relate to. And those things are the highs and lows of relationships with the opposite sex. A great example of this is the good sense of humor he maintains as he tries to cut a deal with his ex in “Don’t Talk Bad About Me” (and I sure won’t talk bad about you).

There covers on Up All Night are pretty cool, and they include Charlie Patton‘s “Pony Blues” and Blind Willie McTell’s 1928 standard, “Statesboro Blues.” They both end up being a lot closer to the originals than the countless other versions out there, so if you really love the Canned Heat or Allman Brothers takes on these, you might be a bit let down. But, as they are, they are refreshingly different than what we have come to expect and they fit much better into the overall theme of this release.

The set closes out with a bonus track, “I’m Your Santa Claus,” which might be a fun inclusion for your next holiday party, and it is one last chance to hear some awesome harp work from Stompin’ Bill. Well, it should probably be an adult party, as there are plenty of double entendres that are set to the tune of John Brim’s “Ice Cream Man” (famously covered on Van Halen’s debut album).

Aaron Burton is a fine musician and a mature songwriter, and Up All Night is his best work since he first entered the studio ten years ago. If you are a fan of roots music or country blues, this CD will be just what you are looking for. Also, if you are near Dallas anytime soon, be sure to check out his website as he has a heavy gigging schedule in the DFW metro area, including a regular Tuesday night Delta Blues Jam at The Goat in East Dallas.

Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at rexbass.blogspot.com.

Wasser-Prawda

Montag, 19 Januar 2015

Aaron Burton - All Night Long

Autor Iain Patience, Kategorie English | Reviews

 

All Night Long is Texan Burton‘s sixth release to date and features his usual mix of drawling southern vocals with some fine understated guitar fretwork. Here he is joined by two musical buddies, ‚Stomping‘ Bill Johnston on Harp and Dirk Cordes on Skins.

 

Mostly self-written, material also includes Charlie Patton‘s ‚Pony Blues‘ together with a Willie McTell cover of ‚Statesboro Blues‘. The 14 tracks that make up the album are delivered with Burton‘s trademark laid-back style and sensitivity. Always soulful, the tempo is varied giving the whole a satisfying overall feel and vibe.

Having played a few gigs in Europe (France) last year in 2014, Burton is now targeting his launches at a UK and Europe-wide audience with considerable success; this album has already featured widely on UK blues radio playlists in recent months, gaining a well-deserved growing fanbase and interest for the guy and his music. Burton is clearly hungry, hoping for success and record sales in the European blues arena.

With this latest release he might just have produced the goods to carry him onto a wider world stage.
 

Blues Underground Network

Aaron Burton's newest release, "The Return Of Peetie Whitestraw" is by far, the best Acoustic Blues release I have had the pleasure of listening to, so far, for 2014 and although it is still early in the year, I am almost positive that is will remain one of the best such releases, come year end. John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network) 5*****

Blues Blast

Aaron Burton – The Return Of Peetie Whitestraw | Album Review

Aaron Burton - The Return of Peetie Whitestraw
Self-Produced
http://www.aaronburton.net   
CD: 14 songs; 46:13 Minutes
Styles: Traditional Acoustic Blues, Country Blues

 Peetie Whitestraw, not to be confused with 1930s bluesman Peetie Wheatstraw, is actually a fantastic acoustic DFW Texas bluesman named Aaron Burton. He’s returned for his fifth musical foray – hence this new album’s title. It’s a follow-up to his 2005 debut release, “AKA Peetie Whitestraw,” and fans of traditional country blues will welcome his return. This is due to his acoustic and Dobro guitar mastery and gritty vocals, which definitely sound African-American although he’s Caucasian. As stated in an interview with Michalis Limnios for Blues @ Greece (http://blues.gr/profiles/blogs/an-interview-with-texan-aaron-burton-the-musical-heritage-of), “Like many of the great country blues men and women before him, Aaron is completely self-taught on his instruments which leads to a unique and interesting approach.” This is best proven on these three tracks (out of fourteen total originals):

Track 03: “Lafayette” – Songs about traveling, people and places have been a timeless staple of the blues. Featuring “Stompin” Bill Johnston on harmonica, it’s a jaunty, joyful ode to this Louisiana city. “Winter’s over; no more sleet and snow. Springtime is coming, and I’ve got to go – down to Lafayette, baby. Gonna get there just as fast as I can, get some red beans and rice….” This spicy treat of a track will have one playing both air guitar and air harp! 

Track 09: “Leave My Girl Alone” – Another blues trope is a song about drinking. Here, our narrator takes umbrage when a bar patron bothers his fiancée: “Leave my girl alone. Did you hear what I just said? ‘Cause the last one to harass her got some lumps upon his head. Now, there’s a drunk girl at the end of the bar. Go bother her instead! You’d better leave my girl alone.” 

Track 13: “If That’s Religion” – Religious faith, or lack thereof, completes Whitestraw’s trifecta of classic blues themes. “The world was created in only seven days? Mary was a virgin, and Jesus rose from the grave? Abraham’s willing to sacrifice his son? Now, if that’s religion, I swear I don’t want none.” He scoffs at 9/11/01 as a supposed sign of the end times, and ends with this scathing sentence: “Down a dangerous path from reality we run. If that’s religion, I swear I don’t want none.” Bold words from a Bible Belt native.

It’s hard for this reviewer to fathom why more people haven’t heard of Aaron Burton. The local scene may be to blame: “It’s hard to make a living playing blues around here. I here [sic] from the older guys that it used to be better,” he tells Mr. Limnios. Hopefully that will change in the near future, because “The Return of Peetie Whitestraw” is most welcome!

Wasser-Prawda

AARON BURTON

The Return Of Peetie Whitestraw

Aaron Burton hails from Texas, a State with a long history of blues music mastery - Lightnin' Hopkins was certainly no slouch, after all.

This is Burton's fifth album to date, self-produced and promoted, it features fourteen self-penned tracks. Strong on southern drawl and laid-back acoustic guitar picking, this album is indeed so laid back that the guitar work at times comes close to being overlooked - a mistake, because the picking, though understated,  is singularly soulful, sound and skillful, contributing effortlessly to a very finely honed sound that belies its own underlying complexity.

Burton is a guy who is self-taught, an autodidact with a background playing the bars and clubs of the Lone Star State and producing interesting material that touches all of the usual areas from love and heartache to death and misery. In other words a typical blues gamut of thought and emotion, underpinned by great guitar-work and  a fine rambling, rumbling, drawling  voice.

With fourteen tracks to choose from here, it's impossible not find something that should satisfy a blues lover's taste. This is a guy and a CD that is real surprise and a true discovery - an artist and material of genuine quality, well worth seeking out. Burton is due to record his next album over the next few months and I, for one, look forward to hearing his next offering.

 

 

Blues.Gr

An Interview with Texan Aaron Burton: The musical heritage of Texas through the prism of the folk blues

"Life - I believe everyone has experiences that could be put to music."

Aaron Burton: Old recipe of blues

Aaron Burton is a young Texan guitarist, mandolinist, and vocalist who plays country traditional blues with a distinctly Texan spin having the talent. Aaron channels the rich and diverse musical heritage of Texas music through the prism of the country blues. Like many of the great country blues men and women before him, Aaron is completely self taught on his instruments which leads to a unique and interesting approach.

 

His fifty plus original compositions are drawn from various life experiences and are delivered with warm, soulful, and unforced vocals. His travels have taken him from Memphis to Maine but he has truly honed his skills playing for his daily bread in the clubs, bars, restaurants, house parties and streets of his native DFW, Texas.

Debut album was "aka Peetie Whitestraw" (2005), low-fi classic blues from Texas. All original Texas country blues and roots music “How Can I Be Blue?” (2008) album featuring Christian Dozzler on piano, harp, accordion and organ. In 2010 "Recession Blues" with original country blues gems featuring Christian Dozzler, Hash Brown, Stompin' Bill Johnston, Kevin Shermerhorn and Drew Alain. "Rising Sun" (2011) combines Aaron's authentic country blues/roots style with producer Pat Boyack's well established blues rock/soul sensibilities.

 

Interview by Michael Limnios

 

What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?

That I'm stubborn and independent and will keep doing what I'm doing regardless. For me, the blues is therapy and expression.

 

What experiences in your life make you a GOOD BLUESMAN and SONGWRITER?

Life - I believe everyone has experiences that could be put to music. To me, the iconic bluesman embodies the American ideal of rugged individualism.

 

How do you describe Aaron’s sound and lyrics and what characterize your music philosophy? 

It's like cooking; you take the recipes that have been handed to you mix 'em up, add your own touch, and create something new.

 

What's been their experience from “studies” on the road with the blues?

My studies have been living life and emulating musicians that I admire. 

 

 

 

From whom have you have learned the most secrets about the blues music?

Mostly from various artists through their recordings. Alan Lomax's The Land Where the Blue Began is probably the best book I've read about blues.

 

Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?

It's all been pretty positive.  I mean any day I get paid to play music is a good day.

 

What is the “feeling” you miss most nowadays from the “OLD DAYS OF BLUES”?

What's cool about the pre-war guys is that they were largely self-taught and so their guitar approaches are highly original.

 

Which is the most interesting period in your life and why?

Every period of my life has been interesting…at least to me.

 

Are there any memories from Honeyboy Edwards, which you’d like to share with us?

Haha - yeah…he tried to take a girlfriend of mine (Blue Lisa of KNON) back to his hotel room - at 90 something years old! That gives me hope for the future.

 

 

 

I saw a photo with Robert Lockwood Jr. tell me a few things about your meet with him?

I was busking at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena Ark.  Jeff Dyson, who had hired me to open for Honeyboy, brought Lockwood by to hear me, knowing I covered a few of his songs. I played five or six of Lockwood's songs for him and he seemed pleased. He had some kind words for me and even put a tip in my case - a very nice man.  Lockwood is one of my all-time favorites.

 

What is the best advice a bluesman ever gave you?

Sam Myers used to call showoff types "glory seekers".  I understood that to mean that in seeking to gain fame and respect they weren't being real…and usually playing way to many notes.

 

What the difference and similarity between the ACOUSTIC and ELECTRIC BLUES feeling? 

What I like about country blues is that you don't have to conform to and rely on a band.

 

Why did you think that Country Folk Blues continues to generate such a devoted following?

It's good stuff! I think a lot of folks like that it utilizes the full range of the guitar. Also, in an age of big, loud bands, various sound technologies, and over-production, it's nice to see a person engage the listeners directly, without fluff.

 

What’s the best jam you ever played in? What are some of the most memorable gigs you've had?

 

I've had some really cool jams at my Tuesday night Delta Blues Jam at The Goat in East Dallas. I have a different guest weekly and there are plenty of great players to choose from in the D.F.W. area;  Ray Reed, Hash Brown, Texas Slim, Pat Boyack, Cheryl Arena, "Stompin'" Bill Johnston, Joel Foy, Holland K. Smith, K.M. Williams, James Hinkle, Andrea Dawson, Christian Dozzler and many others have been guests…and you never know who will drop in.

 

Some music styles can be fads but the blues is always with us. Why do think that is? Give one wish for the BLUES

It's simplicity has allowed it to be a foundation or part of other styles. I hope it can provide as much comfort for others as it has for me.

 

How do you describe your contact to people when you are on stage?

Depends on the crowd; if it's a listening/watching crowd I might close my eyes and get lost in the music, if it's a dancing/drinking crowd we interact more, and if it's neither I approach at it as a rehearsal.

 

Make an account for current realities of the case of the blues in Texas. Which is the most interesting period in local scene?

It's hard to make a living playing blues around here. I here from the older guys that it used to be better.

 

Do you know why the sound of slide guitar is connected to the blues and what is the secret for a good fingerpickin and slide player?

As I understand it, early blues players picked it up from recordings of Hawaiian music, and often used knives and other improvised slides.

Secret ... just practice.

 

Is it easier to write and play the blues as you get older? 

Writing has never been that difficult for me partly because I don't take it too seriously. What I mean is, I don't set out to write something profound. I just want to continue to build on the success I've had and make a good living.

 

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