Creating music isn’t a means to an end, it is an end with a meaning for Aaron Burdett. Writing and creating songs is rooted somewhere deep in his psyche; it’s something that can’t be denied and must be shared. His lyrics are soul-touching, intelligent, witty, and poetic all at once, while his music style is a seamless blend of Americana, country, blues, bluegrass, and folk-rock that cohesively creates a story.
Aaron is listed as one of the top 10 most important musicians of western North Carolina by WNC Magazine, alongside such greats as Doc Watson, Steep Canyon Rangers, and The Avett Brothers. He has also receivedcritical acclaim as a songwriter, winning Our State Magazine’s Carolina Songs competition in 2012 with “Going Home to Carolina.” Aaron’s song “Magpie” won third place bluegrass song in the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest in 2013. Over the years Aaron has been a finalist in numerous other songwriting competitions, including The Mountain Stage Songwriting Contest, The NC Songwriter’s Cooperative Songwriting Contest, and the Hank Williams Songwriting Contest.
Aaron’s writing is as prolific and genuine as the man. He grew up the oldest of three boys in the fairly isolated small town in Saluda, NC, where the Blue Ridge meets the Smoky Mountains. When Aaron was about 10 years old he was introduced to the music of Cat Stevens, the first of many musical influences that include the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Norman Blake, and David Grier.
During his teen years, Aaron found his tenor voice in a choral setting and, performed in musical theater. In 1992 he went to the prestigious Governor’s School of North Carolina for choral music. In his 20s, he played extensively in Boone, NC and owned a music store that sold instruments and offered lessons.
No stranger to hard work, Aaron’s sense of adventure took him across the country working on various types of farms and ranches. While many mainstream country singers pay lip-service to the blue-collar working world, Aaron’s songs come from his life experiences.
After seeing a lot of his friends and musical colleagues struggle to be full-time musicians, sometimes at the cost of their marriages and family lives, Aaron moved back to his hometown and decided to go another route. He started a construction business, built a home for himself and his wife, and started a family, all while continuing to write songs and playing music, recording an album every year or two. In2013, Aaron decided to pursue music full time, so fast forward to 2017, and his distinctive clear voice has carried his dream into a successful career. Aaron’s songs effortlessly transition from solo performance to full band, with equal emotional impact on audiences.
Aaron has 7 albums, Refuge (2017 on Organic Records), Tinderbox (2015 on Organic records), Fruits of My Labor (2014 on Organic Records), Breathing Underwater (2012), Stand Up Eight (2010), Resolve (2008) , and The Weight of Words (2005).
Thomas Earl has been writing and performing music for over 50 years. He started his career playing in Coffee Houses in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the late 1960s. He is proficient in both guitar and bluegrass banjo, with a focus on creative finger style techniques. He has written dozens of original songs, including original music for theater productions, and has released two CDs of original music. Reviews of his CDs include descriptions such as , “…a gifted poet that has the ability to set it all to music in a beautiful and unforgettable way … “, …a five star indulgence from start to finish.” and “Golddust Magic glitters with years of musical talent”. Thomas’ unique approach to playing and writing is based on very early influences ranging from Joni Mitchel and Mississippi John Hurt to Tom Waits and James Taylor. Thomas spent a year living in Maui while working on his most recent single releases and has just moved to Venice, Florida from the Woodstock, New York Area. Thomas will also be conducting a Master Class – “Using Open Tuning to Open up Your Songwriting Potential” for the ACMA in January.