Not too long ago, Aaron Lee Tasjan and a buddy of his were asked to play “dudes who looked like they were from the ’70s” in a music video, a request they were happy to oblige.
“But it made us think,” says Tasjan, his heavy-lidded eyes fixating on the coffeeshop tabletop from behind horn-rimmed glasses, “because at some point in the last few years, it seems like a lot of people have gravitated towards this kinda like Heartworn Highwaysaesthetic of the music they’re gonna make and the kinda look they’re gonna have. We were like, ‘We’re just dudes from the Midwest that grew up listening to Bob Seger-type music, and we just always thought this stuff looked cool. … Well, where does this leave us now? Have we become the thing that we were trying to originally rebel against by wearing this stuff?’
“We wrestled with that for a while,” he continues, “but eventually we just gave up and went to the bar or something.”
Like a lot of 20-something artists, Tasjan is pretty much constantly pricked by self-awareness, and more than once he’s spun those uneasy thoughts into a song. The Jayhawks-ish twang-rocker “E.N.S.A.A.T.” (“East Nashville Song About a Train”) that appears on his new album In the Blazes is an eye roll at the notion of musical posturing, be it the contemporary country, punk or Americana variety. The latter is Tasjan’s niche. He implicitly links himself to a boho identity that borrows from blue-collar sensibilities and is firmly rooted in the East Side, where he lives. READ MORE…