Born and raised in Austin, Texas, troubadour Aaron Einhouse has that unique ability to put stories into songs. In March 2014, he released his latest record, Blue Collar Troubadour, which was produced by Mike McClure and recorded in his Oklahoma studio. The album includes two tracks that Einhouse wrote with his friend and mentor Walt Wilkins as well as his current single "I Could Fall." An independent artist who works hard and continually hones his craft, Aaron graciously took the time to talk about his roots, story songs and more.
You have said that hearing the words of Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live Is To Fly”, and Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Getting By” at your uncle’s funeral was a defining moment in your life, that it “was the first music I had ever heard that really, truly, spoke to me,” and helped you realize your calling. How old were you at the time and what was the path you were going to take?
I was seventeen or eighteen. I started playing guitar during my senior year of high school, but didn’t really begin to write until my junior year of college and didn’t truly perform for anyone until my last year of college. I graduated from Trinity University, and worked for four years as a real estate analyst in San Antonio. During that time I would go to Cheatham Street Warehouse a lot and play. One night Kent [Finlay] told me that he thought that I had a lot of good songs and should get a band together. He believed that I could do pretty well with a career in music, and to hear him say that to me was pretty mind blowing!
How did you come to have a working relationship and friendship with Walk Wilkins?
Walt is someone for whom I have a great deal of respect. When I finally got my band together and was ready to make my first record, I had asked Kent to put in a word with Walt for me. I gave Walt a demo of my songs and he liked it. Walt was never critical of my writing, in fact he always spoke very highly of it, which is really nice! He ended up producing my first two records and we co-wrote a couple of songs together for the current record. He really helped me out a lot and has been a very big part of my life and my music.
How do you find being an independent artist in the Texas scene?
Right now I do everything myself. People start out that way because unless it’s obvious that you’re going to make it early on, you’re just not making enough money to have someone represent you. I work hard for my business, including doing the booking. It’s a pain in the ass, but I feel very fortunate that other artists and the venues have been very helpful to me, which is very kind of them.
There’s definitely a camaraderie down here; everyone is really cool. If people see that you’re not full of shit, that you take the songwriting and the music seriously, and that you are committed, people will generally be helpful. There is no room for big time egos here.
I also have a very supportive wife. I quit my job to pursue music two weeks before we got married. We decided that then because we knew that it would take a while to build a career. I am so lucky to have her because it’s a difficult road. It costs a lot of money to build a business and at the same time, you’re not making a lot of money. It was tough on the relationship in the first few years, and we’ve been through a hell of a lot, but because of that we feel like we’re made of steel.
Being that you released your third album last year, has your style and sound, which is very unique, changed from the first record to this last one?
Oh yeah, it’s changed a bunch actually. I think it’s more towards the rock side of things. I also don’t really feel as bound by the limits of what country is as I did before, which is also a function the genre. Texas music and Americana allow such a wide variety of sounds that as long as you are somewhere near rock or country, there’s a place for it. Within that wide genre there’s a lot of room for you to develop your sound.
Your songwriting is very varied from the deeper songs to those that are quite humorous, but regardless, they are all stories. Is storytelling in your music important to you?
Yeah, absolutely. I typically have a loose frame of where I want the story to go and I write around that. I read a lot and tend to think about songs as literary stories with respect to plot. That’s really my approach to songwriting. I tried to write free form songs, but realized that when I write, I tend to have a story in my head and if I go with that, it comes out easier for me.
I like writing serious songs, but I’m not a very serious person. Actually, I try not to take myself seriously at all, so I like to have a little humor in there too when its appropriate.
“I Could Fall” is your new single at Texas radio. What’s the story behind the song?
I wrote “I Could Fall” when I met my wife. It’s about when you first meet somebody and you’re in that little honeymoon phase where everything each other does is perfect. You usually come to find out that it’s all kind of bullshit, but if you get through those first few weeks, you break down those walls and get to the core of who somebody is. It’s about that early excitement of something superficial beginning to mean something deeper with more devotion and commitment.
Are there any plans for a new album?
We are probably going to do a Kickstarter and record another album later in the year. Other artists have done it successfully, but it is something completely foreign to me. I get out and play, but I don’t really have a promotional side; that whole concept is foreign to me, so doing that [a Kickstarter] will get me out of my comfort zone. It will be cool to see people respond to putting money down to help you with your art.
When you are out driving from show to show, is there one record that you are listening to a lot lately?
I tend to binge listen to people. I love Corb Lund and American Aquarium’s Burn.Flicker.Die which propelled me to Jason Isbell. I have been devouring his stuff lately.
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