Americana Highways presents this premiere of Jason Tyler Burton’s album Kentuckian, due out Friday September 6th. Kentuckian was engineered by Aaron Davis and Ryan Tilby with additional engineering by Kaitlyn Raitz, Ryan Ptasnik, and Jason Tyler Burton; and mixed by Ryan Tilby at Titan Audio Lab in St. George, Utah.
The musicians on the album are: Jason Tyler Burton on vocals, guitar, mandolin, and violin, with Ryan Tilby on bass; mandolin, dobro, banjo, and lap steel; Ryan Ptasnik on drums and percussion; Terry Hill on additional bass; Kaitlyn Raitz on cello; Ben Plotnick on violin; John Houston on piano and organ; Aaron Davis on electric guitar with Michelle Humber, Samantha Rise, Rachel Baiman, Robby Hecht, and Kamry Thelin on vocals.
The instrumentation on Kentuckian is smooth, mountain country style supporting Burton’s stories of small town life. Nothing ever startles or jars. “High Road to Harlan” expresses the feeling that “the outside world don’t care.” “Date Night at the Dairy Queen” is a blunt description of the mountain small town life, with banjo and harmonica emphasis. “Easy For Me” is a trailer park love story. And the rest of the album continues in a similar style with its stories and warm tones.
This album is me wrestling with the issues faced by rural Americans, using the bluegrass state as my setting. It likely started after the Trump election, with me grappling with how and why folks, including my family, could bring themselves to vote for a person who seems to share so few of their interests and beliefs. I didn’t want to demonize them, I just didn’t quite understand. And so I wanted to write with empathy. I wanted to write with humor and grace. I wanted to write with an ear toward unity over division. Kentucky’s motto is “United we stand, divided we fall,” and I think we need a lot more of that in our country (and our country music) right now. — Jason Tyler Burton