Album Review

A Powerful Force of Voice: Aaron Burdett - Tinderbox

Aaron Burdett - Tinderbox

This is the sixth full length release from this North Carolina singer-songwriter, and the second that has found its way to this small desk in this lovely corner of the Southwestern desert. The preceding disc was very good, and made me want to hear more. Now, in comes this powerhouse disc which displays great growth in songwriting and delivery.  This guy seems to be the next door neighbor you would like to have -- quiet, intelligent, unassuming, and a great powerful voice singing songs you enjoy listening to. These songs speak of life unfolding and filled with meaning, and you suddenly realize you are listening to one powerful vocalist who uses the full range of his voice to channel your emotions.  He writes excellent songs that tell their tales in a clear way, he has skilled musicians behind him, and he has one hell of a powerful voice.  

This version of his band has been together for a little less than two years, and is a more powerful band than the one he had used before.  There is a very tight rhythm section of Jeff Hinkle on bass, James Kylen on percussion, and Jackson Dulaney on lap steel and electric guitar. Dulaney’s lap steel work stands out, and this group has a great feel for Burdett's music. It is also augmented on this disc by Amanda Platt (of The Honeycutters) doing backing vocals on three songs, and Tim Surrett doing the same one song.  

The songs here are strong and display a wide variety Americana music.  There is almost bluegrass, almost folk, almost Calypso, almost singer-songwriter, almost blues, and so on.  The music shows the scope of Burdett's influences in a way that becomes seamless, much like Terrance Simien who is classified as Zydeco but at times is as R&B as Sam Cooke.  Aaron Burdett is one of those artists who, if you have a chance to see him live, he is worth every penny of your admission price and your partner at the concert will be patting you on the back for your good taste. 

by bob gottlieb