Texas singer-songwriter Zach Aaron shares a raw and wry “love story” from his third LP, Fill Dirt Wanted.
Zach Aaron’s résumé is long and varied, but there's a common thread of honest, straightforward, blue-collar work that strings the various jobs together: construction, a stint in the Air Force, fence building, oil-field roughnecking, custom leatherworking.
You could say the same about the list of influences that seem to inform his songwriting. There are plenty of precursors you can pick out, and more than a few of them come from the grand tradition of storytelling Lone Star troubadours. A turn of phrase might remind you of Ray Wylie Hubbard, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, or Steve Earle. His vocal delivery might variously bring to mind Billy Joe Shaver, Hayes Carll, or James McMurtry.
All that is not to say the antecedents that inform his music are all from Texas, of course. Woody Guthrie, for one, comes from the faraway lands of Oklahoma — which happens to be where his third LP, Fill Dirt Wanted — set for a May 15 release — was recorded.
You can hear all those influences and more in the great talking-blues tale Aaron shares with C&I today, “Southeast Texas Trinity River Bottom Blues.” It’s a highlight from the album, recorded at Breathing Rhythm Studios in Norman, Oklahoma, with producer Giovanni Carnuccio III. The album was recorded live, straight to tape, and it gives the songs a vivid rowdiness and intimacy.
“I had only been to Norman, Oklahoma, one time before recording began,” Aaron says. “I didn’t know about Breathing Rhythm Studio, and I had never met Steve [Boaz] beforehand, but I trusted Nooch [Giovanni Carnuccio III], so that’s where we went. It was the perfect studio for this album, and Steve is an incredible engineer despite his Mountain Dew addiction. The sounds that they were able to capture in that room through the various mics were perfectly imperfect and gave these songs the platform they needed.”
Aaron has this to say about the song he shares today:
“I wrote this song with two good friends, Josh Delafuente and Nigel Carey (who has since passed away from cancer and is the subject of another track on the album, ‘Shelter of the Storm’). Nigel used to own a gas station in Cleveland, Texas, so he had a bunch of stories about some ‘interesting’ people. This song is basically an amalgamation of all of our river bottom stories mashed into one.”
Photography: Kayla Raborn