Aaron Lee Tasjan's genre-jumping set is a winner at NON-COMM - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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2024.05.07 - Andrew Lee Tasjan - NonComm 24

Aaron Lee Tasjan’s 2024 NON-COMM brought a slew of retro sounds and a wide variety of emotions to the Lounge stage at World Cafe Live. The artist has had a long, storied career, preceded by an upbringing that stretched from Delaware to California and Ohio. Even at a young age, Tasjan was a musical virtuoso; he won an award for his virtuosic guitar-playing from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Competition. The singer-songwriter floated around New York playing in a variety of bands (including The Madison Square Gardeners and Semi Precious Weapons) before settling in Nashville.

Tasjan’s eclectic upbringing has led to his varied sound, readily apparent on his latest album: this year’s Stellar Evolution (a very fitting title). The record fuses the folksy-twang of his past work with more electronic textures. On the World Cafe Live stage, Tasjan brought a truly distinct vibe that jumped between genres yet centered on an effortlessly cool 70’s-style rock. His lyrics cover some frank, serious themes, mined from personal experience: love and heartbreak, coming of age as a queer man, addiction and its effects.

The latter is tackled on “The Drugs Did Me,” brought to life by Tasjan and his bandmates with a great, groovin’ feel completely distinct from the more intimate, electronic album version. Tasjan’s skill as a singer-songwriter able to craft personal portraits of difficult, honest experiences was certainly audible at NON-COMM but his powers as a casually charismatic frontman and expert guitarist were just as clear. The songs incorporated looping drum rhythms that brought to mind the 80s, with shaggy harmonies straight out of the 60’s. Tasjan’s epic albeit all too brief moments of guitar soloing (particularly on “The Drugs Did Me”) were some of the set’s undeniable highlights.

Tasjan is currently on his 2024 Stellar Evolution tour, which included a Johnny Brenda’s performance in April and has dates plotted through June and beyond. Stay tuned to WXPN for more updates about the Nashville singer-songwriter and check out a gallery of photos of photos from the show below.

Setlist
May
07
Aaron Lee Tasjan
NON-COMM 2024
  • Nightmare
  • Dylan Shades
  • Ocean Drive
  • The Drugs Did Me
  • Horror Of It All
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