Aaron Raitiere is a singer-songwriter from Nashville. That is certainly nothing unusual. However, the way his debut album came about is kind of unusual. A group of friends offered to make a debut album with him, and he agreed. From there, it grew into a project co-produced by Anderson East and Miranda Lambert and featuring some impressive guests, including Bob Weir and Robert Randolph.
Of the new album Single Wide Dreamer, he said, “I think the record kind of made itself. It was just a bunch of friends getting together trying to help me create something because they thought I needed a record.”
The album begins with the title track. Immediately, you can hear some similarity to Kris Kristofferson. As Ratiere picks the guitar and speaks a story about a character who “fights for guns and peace” and “pays respects to Merle.” He sings the lyrics of the chorus and the whole band joins in. As you listen, you can’t help but join him in singing, “He’s a shoulda, coulda, woulda, maybe still he oughta be a preacher or professor of highfalutin philosophy.” It’s an infectious chorus and a good reminder that the word highfalutin is grossly underused.
Sometimes you hear a song that celebrates simple things, and you can’t help but smile. “For the Birds” is one of those songs. This song is propelled by the bass line, which has something of a jug band feel to it. Over a down-home melody, he sings things like, “I’m against the thought of letting good tomatoes rot.” On the flip side, he sings, “I’m for the sun, I’m for the breeze, old dogs sleeping at your feet.” If you find yourself in a mood that’s less than spectacular, put this song on.
Another song that looks on the bright side is “Can’t Rain All the Time”. He sings about how the truck won’t start and how the worms ate the corn. But then he ties it all together with “There might be a hole in the old umbrella, but it can’t rain all the time.” This song feels like what would have happened if John Prine collaborated with a Muscle Shoals band. It is a slice of life with plenty of soul and some pedal steel in the background.
The album takes a decided turn about halfway through, and you can see it in the song titles before you even hear any of them. The second half of the album comprises songs with titles like “At Least We Didn’t Have Kids”, “Your Daddy Hates Me”, and “You’re Crazy”. “At Least We Didn’t Have Kids” is a good story song about a young relationship that didn’t last. The narrator sings about getting someone’s name tattooed on his hipbone, but then the relationship dries up and he covers up the name with a tattoo of the state of Kentucky. Even if you’ve never gotten a tattoo of someone’s name, it’s easy to relate to the regret in this charming song.
Single Wide Dreamer by Aaron Raitiere is an impressive debut album. It is also a breath of fresh air In that it celebrates the simple things, which is no small thing after two years of a global pandemic. The storytelling is great and the melodies are sure to stick with you. The album is available everywhere now. Order your copy here. https://www.aaronraitiere.com
Aaron Raitiere – vocals, background vocals, acoustic guitar
Darren Dodd – drums, percussion
Brian Allen – bass
Frank Rische – acoustic guitar, mandolin, electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, background vocals
Anderson East – electric guitar, organ, background vocals
Robert Randolph – pedal steel
Kristen Rogers – background vocals
Bob Weir – electric guitar
Ben Clark – trumpet
Jake Mitchell – 12-string guitar
Foy Vance – background vocals
Dave Cobb – 12-string acoustic guitar
Waylon Payne – background vocals
Chris Powell – drums, percussion, congas
Philip Towns – piano, Mellotron, B-3 organ
Miranda Lambert – background vocals
Scott Murray – slide guitar
Ashley Monroe – background vocals
Natalie Hemby – background vocals
Engineered by: Brandon Bell, Eric Masse, Anne Liddell
Mixed by: Eddie Spear
Mastered by: Pete Lyman at Infrasonic Mastering, assisted by Daniel Bacigalupi
Recorded at RCA Historic Studio A and The Casino in Nashville, TN