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HomeEF CountryAaron Raitiere - 'Single Wide Dreamer' Review

Aaron Raitiere – ‘Single Wide Dreamer’ Review

When a few friends offered to make a debut record with him, Nashville songwriter Aaron Raitiere simply agreed to go along with it. In the four years since that first session for what would become ‘Single Wide Dreamer’ the auspicious project has retained its casual charm even as its guest list gradually expanded. Anderson East and Miranda Lambert, who co-produced the album, now appear alongside Nashville musicians like Dave Cobb, Natalie Hemby, Ashley Monroe, and Waylon Payne, as well as Robert Randolph, Foy Vance, and Bob Weir.

Raitiere is a songwriter with some heavyweight cuts under his belt. Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde and Midland have all recorded tracks written by him and he shared a 2019 Grammy for co-writing “I’ll Never Love Again” with Lady Gaga, Hillary Lindsay, and Natalie Hemby for ‘A Star Is Born’ so he comes into this debut solo project with a healthy and ever expanding reputation and that confidence is reflected in the easy yet sharp, vulnerable yet biting nature of the songs.

With a laid-back, speak-singing delivery, “Single Wide Dreamer’ immediately conveys Raitiere’s contentment in living a low-key life. It invokes the image of Johnny Cash and the retro Outlaw cowboys of the past on a song about a man at odds with the modern world but seemingly at peace with himself. The type of life espoused in the title track, that of a ‘preacher or professor of highfalutin philosophy,’ is echoed on tracks like ‘For the Birds’, ‘Can’t Rain All the Time’ and ‘Time Will Fly.’ The former, which has already made an appearance on Miranda Lambert’s ‘Weight of These Wings’ album, is re-energised here with a real Bluegrass tinge and an uptempo vibe. ‘Can’t Rain All the Time’, meanwhile, has a delightful, singalong melody and a real ‘redneck-holler’ resilience that is both charming and uplifting in equal measure. ‘Time Will Fly’, co-written with two of my favourite writers, Shane McAnally and Natalie Hemby, closes down the album in some style as Raitiere channels a sort of Fleetwood Mac meets Simon & Garfunkel esque folk classic about living positively and getting the most out of life as the days count down. It’s a melodic delight designed for front porches and flower wearing hippy festivals everywhere.

One of the stand out features of ‘Single Wide Dreamer’ is Raitiere’s biting lyrics and sharp humour that he mixes with a sort of ‘what can you do?’ philosophy. ‘At Least We Didn’t Have Any Kids’, possibly my favourite song on the album, begins with the best opening line I’ve heard in ages. ‘Got your name tattooed on my hipbone but at least we didn’t have any kids,’ he says, going on to explain how two 19 year olds in Austin could get themselves into a whole lot of mess ‘blinded by the love and the lights.’ It’s such a catchy song with real, evocative lyrics. Speaking of evocative, ‘Dear Darlin’ and ‘Your Daddy Hates Me’ are both songs grounded in reality that literally leap out of your headphones. The former, which is a juxtaposition of delightful picked guitar, piano and sing-speak lyrics set against some of the most vitriolic lyrics you’ll hear all year, is jarring at first but multiple listens really bring Raitiere’s anger and angst to life in a way that will put a wry smile on your face whilst ‘Your Daddy Hates Me’ is a darker, more brooding tale of tension between a girl, her father and her boyfriend. ‘I ain’t the clean shaven, million dollars making, suit and tie kind,’ Raitiere says, which you know damn well is true! ‘…Hates me’ is an original, unique song that builds nicely with an unsettling, discordant feel.

Aaron Raitiere Single Wide Dreamer
Credit: Warner Chappell / Low Country Sound

Elsewhere, ‘Everybody Else’ comes across all Brothers Osborne meets Miranda with a bit of Jerry Reed thrown in for good measure. ‘Cold Soup’ tells an intriguing tale of homelessness that lives with you long after the song has finished and ‘You’re Crazy’, co-written with the wonderful Erin Enderlin, is a real Bluegrass foot-stomper full of self-deprecating humour. Coo coo ca chew, indeed!

Anderson East’s guiding hand in the making of ‘Single Wide Dreamer’ should not be underplayed. Raitiere and East first met in a songwriting class at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro about 15 years ago, and East held firm to his promise to record him someday. When East was discovered by esteemed producer Dave Cobb at a writer’s night in Nashville, Raitiere was enlisted to co-write some new material for East’s next album. Consistently satisfied with the results, Cobb then signed Raitiere, who was 30 at the time, to his first publishing deal.

The two fledgling musicians forged an even deeper bond in 2015 when Raitiere lost everything in a house fire. East came over a few hours later with an empty tour trailer and saved what they could. Almost immediately they headed out on tour with Sturgill Simpson – with East opening the show and Raitiere selling T-shirts in the lobby. Here we are a few years later with an album that could well be the poster child for modern, authentic, working class Country music.

‘Single Wide Dreamer’ is an album rooted in Kentucky holler stories of real life and resilience. This is an album made for front porch Sundays. It’s full of biting lyrics, sharp observations and that kind of blue-collar resilience that keeps people with seemingly very little going for them in life moving forward. It has melody in spades and one of the biggest hearts I’ve heard in a while. It’ s charming, it’s vulnerable and it’s funny. If it was a person you’d want to bring it home for dinner and just listen to the stories it tells whilst the pair of you get quietly drunk.

Track list: 1. Single Wide Dreamer 2. Everybody Else 3. For the Birds 4. Cold Soup 5. At Least We Didn’t Have Any Kids 6. Dear Darlin’ 7. Your Daddy Hates Me 8. Worst I Ever Had 9. Can’t Rain All the Time 10. Tell Me Something Else 11. You’re Crazy 12. Time Will Fly Record label: Dinner Time Records Release date: May 6th 2022 Buy ‘Single Wide Dreamer’ now

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