North Carolina certainly turns out more than its fair share of talented musicians including B. J. Barham (American Aquarium), The Avett Brothers, Rhiannon Giddens and M. C. Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger), each bringing unique melds of various genres from folk to bluegrass to blues to rock. Flying a bit under the radar nationally, in comparison to those names, is Aaron Burdett. Born in the small mountain community of Saluda, NC, the singer-songwriter released his seventh album, Refuge, on May 12th via Organic Records.
The 10 track collection is an ode to, as well as an instruction manual of sorts for, everyday people who spend their lives trying to make a living and a life for themselves and their family. The stories are told with honesty, heart and a touch of humor. The production, though lovely, is appropriately sparse allowing the integrity in the writing, the moving vocal delivery, and the simple melodies to guide the listener.
Refuge opens with “Pennies On The Tracks” a folk song which tell the story of the men who did the backbreaking, dangerous work of building the early railways. “It’s A Living” brings a sing- along vibe into the mix with lyrics that most anyone can find relatable. “If I gone two weeks, they’d forget I was ever here. It’s good to have the bills paid, but it’s a precious trade, spending half my life with something I don’t like to pay for the half I do. It’s A Living.” The soulful rock edge in “Last Refuge” is perfect for conveying the necessity of having an escape from mundane, draining workdays. In this case, the escape is writing and playing music. The album closes with a gospel tinged track in “Wolves At The Door”, a beautiful reflection on the mission of coping with daily struggles in ways that will shield your family so they won’t see the “wolves at the door.”
In Refuge, Burdett has delivered a fine album that has certainly left me wanting to explore more of his music. You can do that, read about his interesting back-story, see his tour schedule, and find links to purchase the album at his website, www.aaronburdett.com.