Zach Aaron’s Fill Dirt Wanted

By Brian Rock

Texas troubadour Zach Aaron digs up some authentic Country Blues on his third release, Fill Dirt Wanted. With a voice as raw and real as a fresh bar fight scar, Aaron combines the best features of Corb Lund, James McMurtry and Townes Van Zandt to paint sepia-toned images of truth and tragedy.

The title song is a stark confession of a man running from himself. As he’s “running out of reasons, running just because, running from the memory of a man I once was,” he’s seeking fill dirt to cover the hole in his heart and soul. With a world-weary, whiskey-worn voice and a single acoustic guitar, Aaron lists the things he’s running from, but never quite admits why. After the chorus, an upright piano adds a few “Momma, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” chords which hint at his desire to return to more innocent times. But in the end, “You can take the Appalachian Mountains, turn them into sand,” but it still wouldn’t be enough to fill the hole inside the man.

Singing the working man’s Blues in “Animal Of Burden,” Aaron adds banjo and a pounding, industrial drum beat to ironically and despairingly declare, “I’m an animal of burden, I know my place. Fueling all the fires in a rich man’s race. Breaking my back with a smile on my face, I’m an animal of burden and I know my place.” “CCC” searches for the silver lining of working for three squares a day at the Civilian Conservation Corp during the Depression. And “Dying Hobo Blues” is exactly as cheery and uplifting as the title sounds.

However, Zach Aaron also manages to see the humor in life’s struggles. He uses rollicking Bluegrass rhythms to so sing a mocking ode to the perpetually mismanaged, “Dayton Train.” On “Southeast Texas Trinity River Bottom Blues,” he sings the praises of “gear jammers, Marshall Tucker lovers, probation evaders, roustabouters, carnival ride operators, and your run of the mill sons of bitches.” Even in death, Aaron manages to find humor. Contemplating his own demise in, “Potato Salad,” he sings, “I wonder if anybody will remember my name. If they don’t, my momma’s potato salad will be to blame. I can see them now just gathered round like a bunch of stoned squirrels with their tongues hanging out saying, ‘Oh my God Diane, what is in this?’”

But Aaron is at his best when he sings about affairs of the heart. On “Hold The Line,” he sings of the simple joy of a couple fighting together to stem life’s troubling tides. “Aztec Café,” tells the story of a poor vaquero willing to sacrifice everything for his beloved Maria. “Saratoga Light,” shows the power of love to endure even beyond the grave. In each of these songs, you don’t so much hear the music as you feel it. A stunning combination of power and pathos. Nowhere is that effect more profound than in the heartbreakingly, haunting, “Shelter Of The Storm.” Using subdued percussion effects to simulate distant rolling thunder, Aaron gives a touching metaphor for braving life’s storms. Singing, “Ain’t no use in trying to hide from the lightning. Let it tear through these walls, leave nothing but the stone. I’ll still dance with you darling in the shelter of the storm;” Aaron points out that love helps us survive life’s trials even as life’s trials strengthen our love.

With poignant and powerful lyrics, and beautifully restrained arrangements; it might be hard to get your fill of Fill Dirt Wanted.  |  buy  |  amazon   |  fb

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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