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May 23, 2017

On the cover of his breakthrough album Silver Tears, Aaron Lee Tasjan is a zen looking rhinestone cowboy, blazing with light in a mirror ball suit. On the stereo, his music blazes with quirky observations, lush romanticism and psychedelia. He’s one of the most fascinating country rockers in Americana music, and this hour he sits down with a Nashville DJ who knows him well.

Since moving to Music City in 2013  Aaron Lee Tasjan has grown in stature and renown in two simultaneous, mutually reinforcing ways. In traditional fashion, he’s been praised by critics and curators, landing media spots like Daytrotter sessions and NPR. And on the inside track, he’s become a beloved enabler of the EAst Nashville music renaissance, collaborating and supporting lesser-known artists and side musicians. People just really really like the guy. He’s self-effacing and mellow. So it’s almost shocking when you see him on stage, his mirrored suit sparkling, making moody, sensuous, tuneful country rock and roll.

The album’s uptown artsy qualities become a lot more comprehensible when you learn that Tasjan came to Music City after many years establishing himself in New York, where he was in several well loved bands, including - as a sideman anyway - glam punk icons the New York Dolls. And that’s all after turning down a scholarship to study jazz guitar at the Berklee College of Music. This is one multi-faceted musician.

This week, I cede the microphone to my friend and Nashville radio colleague Gina Frary Bacon for an in-depth conversation with Tasjan. She’s a DJ on independent radio station WXNA and a career TV producer who’s had plenty of experience herself with the New York music scene. 

Also, Berklee College of Music's Panos Panay on the latest in Music, Money and Metadata.