Ahead of its ninth iteration, Savannah Stopover Music Festival is hosting a special kick-off show.
The annual indie music festival, set for March 7-9 next year, will host folk-rock troubadour Aaron Lee Tasjan on Nov. 10 at El-Rocko Lounge. Nashville’s The Minks will open.
Stopover will have a number of surprises in store for attendees, including a chance to win two three-day passes to the next festival. Last week, Stopover announced legendary Atlanta band Deerhunter will headline the 2019 festival.
Tasjan is touring on his third solo LP, “Karma for Cheap,” and second on New West Records, which was released earlier this year. Stopover has hosted a number of New West artists over the years, and last year had a special showcase of the label, and its imprint Normaltown Records, to celebrate New West’s 20th anniversary.
Blending a variety of styles from the rock ’n’ roll canon, Tasjan is an ardent student of music from all corners. His career has spanned a variety of projects, including a short stint with a later incarnation of The New York Dolls.
The Ohio native was winning guitar competitions at 16, and recorded album as soon as he left high school. He toured with Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ after founding and then leaving Semi Precious Weapons. His solo work has garnered attention from all the important people: Rolling Stone, NPR, The New York Times.
On his latest album, Tasjan shifts up a gear from the chiller, country/folk vibe of 2016’s “Silver Tears,” his first album on New West. “Karma for Cheap,” as explained by Tasjan, was a rock ’n’ roll response to the madness of our society in the last two years.
Mixing some tongue-in-cheek moments in “The Truth is So Hard to Believe” with more poignant moments of sincerity, like the Tom Petty homage “Heart Slows Down,” the album jingles with an early rock vibe shaped by lyrics culled from a modern world.
“To me, this record is built more on sincerity than anything,” Tasjan said. “Not to say that there aren't those more lighthearted moments of tongue-in-cheek lyrical content, but overall, it's an honest and straightforward record. I'm not really a glass is half empty or half full kind of guy, but I like to find ways to remind myself of the light in dark times.
“A lot of the time on this record, I'm singing to myself,” Tasjan continued. “I think that like a lot of people these days, I just want to feel like everything is going to be OK and that's not always easy. These songs are my mantras for today and I'm glad I have those messages to comfort me when I sing them at the shows.”
Each of Tasjan’s works have emerged from different places in the rock ’n' roll universe, but filtered through his own unique, introspective and personal cadence. Tasjan doesn’t consciously draw from certain eras, but rather looks for the right fit musically for his creative output at the time.
“I really don't consider any eras or genres when making my records,” Tasjan said. “I just knew I wanted to find ways to present the songs that sounded like they would stick around for a while. These days, I hear very little music that falls in between retro and modern. Chuck Prophet does it well to my ears.
"I think the best music does land somewhere in between. Elliott Smith and Richard Swift were masters of that. If I have any records I listen to for inspiration on production ideas or artistic ambition, I often turn to something in their respective catalogues. They never made the same record twice and I have no interest in that myself. I think that by continuing to search for new sounds and ideas in my music, I keep myself away from the dangerous and oftentimes stale place an artist can get to where they think they have things ‘figured out.’”
Tasjan will have his full band in tow for this show, the same band that played on the new album. They’ll be pulling mostly from the new album for this set. Tasjan adds that he has passed through Savannah a number of times.
“It's a beautiful town,” Tasjan said. “Lovely people. I played there before with James McMurtry and Drivin’ N’ Cryin’. John Moreland and I played a show there together most recently. I can't wait to be back in town!”