Aaron Lee Tasjan w/ Rorey Caroll (Landing Pad Stage)
Advance General Admission - $15 (plus fees)
Most people know Aaron Lee Tasjan as one of the wittiest, most offbeat, brilliant, weed-smokin’ & LSD microdosin’ Americana troubadours writing and singing songs today. And the New York Times, NPR and Rolling Stone will all gladly corroborate. But steel yourselves, folk fans, because he’s about to follow his restless muse straight out from under the weight of everyone’s expectations into the kind of glammy, jingle-jangle power-pop- and- psych-tinged sounds he hasn’t dabbled in since his younger days playing lead guitar for a late-period incarnation of The New York Dolls.
Day Of Show General Admission - $18 (plus fees)
Karma For Cheap
Really, the roots of Tasjan’s new record, Karma for Cheap, stretch even deeper, drinking up the sounds of a Southern California childhood spent listening to The Beatles while riding around with his mom at the wheel of their navy blue Volvo station wagon—back to the very first pre-teen year he picked up a six-string and started figuring out all the pretty little chords in those Lennon-McCartney tunes. Back to the pure, blissful unfiltered innocence of falling in love with music for the first time. But more on that later. First, let’s ponder the brutish realities of the American Swamp.
Aaron Lee Tasjan says he aims to use his music for good, but he’s no protest singer. And Karma for Cheap isn’t some heavy-handed, didactic political record cramming a set of talking points down anyone’s throat. It’s a finely tuned rock & roll seismograph measuring the dark and uncertain vibrations of the time in which it was created. A cracked mirror reflecting back the American zeitgeist in this foul year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Eighteen.
“When you’re a songwriter,” Tasjan says, you’re dealing in truths and untruths—that’s part of your commerce as a citizen of the world. And anything coming along that’s threatening to blur that line is a threat to your livelihood as a working American.”
Take it from Tasjan and Karma for Cheap, being a songwriter in the post-truth world of Trump’s America ain’t easy. Tasjan valiantly wrestles with this new normal in songs like “Set You Free” (“it’s a smokescreen scene and nobody knows what’s real”—fake news!) and “The Truth Is So Hard to Believe.” What will we do when we can no longer map the line between fact and fiction? When we exist in a world where the truth is unknowable and we’re at the mercy of liars and charlatans? “Hearts in chains and hands are off the wheel,” Tasjan sings in hypnotic staccato, tapping the collective cultural anxiety of all the rattled millions drifting off each night to a new American dream, one in which we’re all in a big red, white and blue camaro fishtailing down some winding tree-lined road in the bible-black dark, white-knuckle-clutching the oh-shit bar, accelerator glued to the floor and not a soul in the driver’s seat.
“The sound of this new record is a little more rough and ready, more raw than anything I’ve done before,” Tasjan says. “Seems like a good time for it. We’re living in a pretty raw feed right now, and a lot of these new songs reflect that. They deal with with being stuck in the deluge of horseshit every day. On social media, you see people suckered into getting all irate over some post that, in the end, turns out to be completely fake. We have to be aware of these mindsets, these traps and emotional pitfalls that send us spinning. Music for me is a comfort thing. And I’m trying to sing about all this to remind myself not to get caught up in the game. There are a lot of people out there carrying the burden of this weird, twisted world we’re living in at the moment on their shoulders. So I tried to write a record that offers some comfort, encouragement and hope to those people, as much as it’s possible to be hopeful right now.”
Karma for Cheap is Tasjan’s third LP and second for his label New West Records, based in his current hometown of Nashville. The record was co-produced by ALT and his friends Jeff Trott (Stevie Nicks, Liz Phair, Meiko, Joshua Radin) and Gregory Lattimer (Albert Hammond Jr.) and features Aaron Lee’s road band—guitarist Brian Wright, bassist Tommy Scifres and drummer Seth Earnest—with whom he’s been touring heavily for the last two years.
While the stylistic shift from Tasjan’s palpably stoned ‘70s-country-channeling 2015 debut, In the Blazes, to his more sophisticated, introspective and lushly produced 2016 follow-up, Silver Tears, was relatively incremental, Karma’s rocked-up Brit-pop-influenced Beatles-Bowie-Badfinger vibes underscore a significant departure. The album boldly reminagines these vintage sounds, pushing the boundary of what can be considered Americana. With Karma, Tasjan establishes himself as an artist who not only evolves over time, but isn’t afraid to risk reinventing himself completely from one record to the next.
Musicians often concoct necessary tales to capture the attention of the public. Rorey Carroll doesn’t need that - she’s lived it, and carries the story of her life in every line she writes.
Carroll was born in Chicago to a rather normal American family brought up as a typical, middle class kid. This upbringing along with the fascination of alternative culture led her towards the great American love affair, the counterbalance to the American Dream. At a very young age, she lived in her car in cities all around the county, hopped freight trains, she even hiked the entire Appalachian Trail at age 20. She made money playing music to anyone who would listen, from the subways of New York City to the streets of Ohio. She became a living paradox, somewhere between running from the law and running from the normality of a Midwestern suburban lifestyle. The streets broke her down while another world picked her up. Bluegrass, acoustic music, anti-folk, campfires in the heart of the humboldt trim scene, in and out of trouble with the law - she inhaled the great spirit of rock and roll.
Self taught in theory, but in reality the curiosity of characters and songs on the road steered Rorey’s musicianship. She learned how to play from everyone she met. A great many random musicians across the country taught her guitar and helped her find her story. When she moved to East Nashville she met folk legend Todd Snider who took her under his wing and helped her get on stages across the country. He signed her to his label, LoHi Records and put out her record in August.
Her album “Love is an outlaw” is a concept of her experience.
“Love is as aimless as a renegade, breaks every rule you have.“
bio written by Ben Fields
“There is no filter on experience, so why should there be in songwriting. People listen to music because it makes them feel something, a writer’s goal is to relate their experiences with the audience.”—Rorey
“Roadside Lullabies”, her first album, was recorded with Eric Willson and was released at the end of September, 2010. The album was dedicated to her brother, Michael Carroll.