Who is this guy?
(Photo by Patti Foerster)
His name’s Aaron Lee Tasjan, and until three days ago, I’d never heard of him. If you live in New York City and pay attention to roots music there, though, you probably have. Over the past couple days, I’ve seen enough of the guy, and heard enough about him from trustworthy fellow travelers, to suggest he’s perhaps something akin to a young Kenny Vaughan.
You may recall Vaughan becoming a ubiquitous presence on the Nashville scene in the ’90s, playing with various pop and roots bands and eventually with Lucinda Williams and other artists of similar stature. Mostly he’s settled in the last few years as Marty Stuart’s lead guitarist with the Fabulous Superlatives.
Tasjan seems to me to be made of similar stuff — a natural player with seemingly limitless talent but, most importantly, good taste and a good ear. Over the course of a couple shows in which I saw him performing with the esteemed Kevn Kinney, he shone brightly on both electric and 12-string acoustic, consistently enlivening Kinney’s songs without overtaking them.
He’s also a fine singer, capable of contributing spot-on harmony vocals as well as taking the occasional lead turn (which Kinney gave him the opportunity to do on a handful of occasions both Tuesday night, at City Winery opening for Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, and Wednesday night headlining at the Living Room.) He has his own band as well, the Madison Square Gardeners (you mean it took this long for someone to nab THAT name?), whose debut disc Don’t Name The Pig came out earlier this year.
Since moving to New York three years ago from his native Ohio, Tasjan has fairly quickly become a sought-out player with a busy schedule, collaborating with the likes of Kinney, Anton Fier, Tim Easton, Jesse Malin, Keith Christopher, and even the New York Dolls.
Oh, and he’s just 23 years old.
Keep an eye out for this one.