When a few friends offered to do a debut album with him, Nashville songwriter Aaron Raitiere simply agreed to take it on. In the four years since that first session for what would become “Single Wide Dreamer,” the auspicious project has retained its laid-back charm even as its guest list has steadily 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 a few heavy 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 enters this first 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, talking delivery, “Single Wide Dreamer” immediately conveys Raitiere’s contentment at living a low-key life. He conjures up 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 kind of life espoused in the title track, that of a “highfalutin preacher or professor of philosophy”, is found on tracks like “For the Birds”, “Can’t Rain All the Time” and “Time Will Fly”. . The former, which previously made an appearance on Miranda Lambert’s “Weight of These Wings” album, is reinvigorated here with a true Bluegrass hue and uptempo vibe. “Can’t Rain All the Time,” meanwhile, has a delightful sing-along melody and genuine “redneck-holler” resilience that’s both charming and uplifting. “Time Will Fly,” co-written with two of my favorite writers, Shane McAnally and Natalie Hemby, closes the album in a certain style as Raitiere channels a kind of Fleetwood Mac meets Simon & Garfunkel esque folk classic on positive living. and get the most out of life as the days go by. It’s a melodic delight designed for flowery hippie porches and festivals everywhere.
One of the most notable features of “Single Wide Dreamer” is Raitiere’s biting lyrics and sharp humor that it mixes with a kind of “what can you do?” ” philosophy. “At least we didn’t have kids,” perhaps my favorite song on the album, begins with the best opening line I’ve heard in ages. “I have your name tattooed on my hip, but at least we didn’t have kids,” he says, going on to explain how two 19-year-olds in Austin could end up in a lot of mess “blinded by the love and lights.’ It’s such a catchy song with real, evocative lyrics. Speaking of evocative, “Dear Darlin” and “Your Daddy Hates Me” are two grounded songs that literally shoot out of your headphones. The former, which is a juxtaposition of delightful guitar, piano, and sung vocals against some of the most vitriolic lyrics you’ll hear all year, is shocking 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 while “Your Daddy Hates Me” is a darker, brooding tale of tension between a daughter, her father and her boyfriend. “I’m not the clean-shaven type , making millions of dollars, suit and tie,” Raitiere says, what you know damn well is true! ‘…Hates Me’ is an original, unique song that builds nicely with an unsettling, jarring feel.
Elsewhere, “Everybody Else” meets all the Osborne Brothers meets Miranda with a bit of Jerry Reed for good measure. “Cold Soup” tells an intriguing story of homelessness that lives with you long after the song ends and “You’re Crazy,” co-written with the wonderful Erin Enderlin, is a true bluegrass stomper full of self-deprecating humor. . . Coo coo it chews, indeed!
Anderson East’s guiding hand in the making of “Single Wide Dreamer” should not be underestimated. Raitiere and East first met in a songwriting class at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro about 15 years ago, and East kept his promise to record it one day. When East was discovered by esteemed producer Dave Cobb at a writers night in Nashville, Raitiere was enlisted to co-write new material for East’s upcoming album. Consistently pleased with the results, Cobb then signed Raitiere, who was 30 at the time, to his first publishing deal.
The two budding musicians forged an even deeper bond in 2015 when Raitiere lost everything in a house fire. East came a few hours later with an empty trailer and salvaged what he could. Almost immediately they went 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’s stories of real life and resilience. It’s an album made for porch Sundays. It’s full of biting lyrics, pointed observations, and that kind of blue-collar resilience that keeps people going with seemingly very little benefit in life. 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 take them home for dinner and listen to the stories they tell while you quietly get drunk.
List of tracks: 1. Single dreamer 2. Everybody 3. For the birds 4. Cold soup 5. At least we didn’t have kids 6. Dear darling 7. Your daddy hates me 8. Worst I’ve ever eu 9. I can It’s raining all the time 10. Tell me something else 11. You’re crazy 12. Time will pass quickly Record company: Dinner Time Records Release date: May 6, 2022 Buy ‘Single Wide Dreamer’ now