CD Review: Aaron Burdett – Dream Rich, Dirt Poor

Dream Rich, Dirt Poor is Aaron’s 8th album. Which begs the question of why I haven’t heard of this great talent before?

Aaron is an award winning singer-songwriter from western North Carolina, with influences ranging from Bob Dylan to the Grateful Dead, John Prine to Doc Watson, and John Hiatt to The Band; and across genres ranging from folk and bluegrass to rock and roll and newgrass.

Is this a bluegrass album? Yes. And new-grass, country, folk, a bit of pop influence… that fits quite comfortably into the genre-bending genre of Americana. Take country music, take the twang out of the vocals and put it back into the instruments (where it belongs!), and you have a good idea of the sound 🙂

The musicianship on this album is superb, you won’t find any flashy solos or fireworks, what you will find is every note is perfectly placed and the instruments are there to support each other, and most importantly the song. I wish I could give the band members their due credit, but this is one of those cases where I just can’t find any information.

Dream Rich, Dirt Poor is certainly the thread that ties this album together. With different treatment lyrics to this music could be blues or country, but they call bluegrass “the happiest sad music in the world”, and by that definition you could surely call this bluegrass. The songs, even the ballads, all seem to carry that bluegrass “lilt”, and you’ll unconsciously find your toes tapping.

The album opens with “Dirt Poor,” all about starting out life with nothing and needing even less. Going down the playlist you’ll come to “Working Class,” It stands with “Dirt Poor” and the theme of the album in that it doesn’t bemoan being working class, it celebrates it in all the best meanings of the term. “No Stoplight Town” and “Hard Hand” delves a bit deeper into the hard times side of living in the working class, while “I Won The Fight” digs into the sometimes painful side of relationships. The album closes with “Too Far From Home”, an upbeat reminder that, despite the old adage, you can go home again.

If you can imagine distilling your oldest and wisest friend’s wisdom and experiences into bluegrass music, I’m pretty sure this album is what you would end up with. Give it a listen and decide for yourself!

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