How Can I Be Blue?, the new release by blues guitarist and vocalist Aaron Burton, is a gem. The long overdue follow up to his freshman release, Petie Wheatstraw, showcases Burton's considerable talents not only as a performer, but as a songwriter as well – all 15 of the captivating tracks are original compositions. In addition to singing and playing guitar, Aaron also plays mandolin and percussion on the disc.
A natural talent in the country blues style, his vocals and guitar playing are both relaxed and unforced – as comfortable and comforting as a handmade pair of boots. And, every bit as much a custom fit. Burton's warm, unaffected vocal delivery draws you in – and his full, rich guitar style makes you want to stay until the last note has been sounded. This alone would make for a great CD, but Aaron also invited multi-instrumentalist Christian Dozzler to work his considerable magic adding touches of piano, harmonica, organ and accordion through out the project. Everything works in perfect harmony, if you will excuse the pun, tones playing with, not against, each other. Beautifully crafted musical artistry. A joy to listen to.
The songs themselves are well written and interesting, both lyrically and musically. "Talkin' In My Sleep" is a great tale of the nonsense of dreamland. "I.R.S. Blues" expresses the thoughts of many a frustrated taxpayer dealing with an inflexible, irrational, and in many ways outdated system. And although it sounds like it could be the 1930's musically, "Y2K Blues" lyrically brings the blues into the new Millennium.
As does Aaron himself. Relatively young for the genre of blues, Burton proves you shouldn't try to be anything in particular. Just be who you are. Which he does, magnificently. So if Aaron Burton's asking himself "How Can I Be Blue?", the answer from blues lovers everywhere is "We're just thankful you are."
- Blue Lisa - Southwest Blues Magazine and KNON DJ