Nashville musician Aaron Lee Tasjan identifies as a guitarist despite currently making a living as a singer-songwriter. Tasjan spent some time playing guitar in the Southern-rock band Drivin’ N Cryin’ as well as legendary New York punk group New York Dolls.
“I was always interested in songs,” Tasjan tells EW, “and writing songs. So I still think of myself as a guitar player in a lot of ways.” He adds, “though I’m more of a traveling songwriter guy.”
Since beginning to write and sing his own material, Tasjan has learned to explore his varied musical background from folk to country and rock ‘n’ roll.
“It’s one-part storytelling folk-singer, one-part J. Mascis and one-part me, being a total music fan,” Tasjan says, laughing. He continues, “someone wrote about one of my shows at SXSW and they called it ‘hobo-core.’”
“Not Punk,” a track from Tasjan’s 2015 EP Telling Stories to the Wall, is a spoken-word tribute to New York’s early punk scene, and the underrated ’60s garage bands that innovated the sound.
Tasjan says he frequently integrates spoken-word elements in his live show, whether spontaneous or rehearsed. “I love spoken-word stuff,” Tasjan states. “My favorite poets are Allen Ginsberg; I love that Beat poet kind of thing, and [comedian] Mitch Hedberg.” Tasjan says of Hedberg, “aside from being a funny guy, I really do think he was a poet.”
Aaron Lee Tasjan plays 10 pm Friday, July 17, in the Hi-Fi Music Hall’s Encore Lounge; FREE. 21-plus.