Aaron Raitiere Channels Legendary Troubadours on ‘Single Wide Dreamer’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Photo credit: Alysse Gafkjen

The ghosts of everyone from Jerry Jeff Walker to John Prine can be heard throughout Aaron Raitiere’s highly enjoyable debut record Single Wide Dreamer.

Across a dozen tracks the Kentucky songwriter – already a Grammy winner for his cowrite on A Star Is Born’s “I’ll Never Love Again” – proves he is just as talented in front of the microphone. The record is brimming with whip-smart lyrics delivered in Raitiere’s laid back, unrushed style. The title track, for example, opens the record with him sing/talking about a very specific character – an overeducated slacker, living his best life while still looking for more. He wrote it while living in a trailer after his house burned down and you can’t help but think he has more than a little in common with the extremely likeable character in the tune.

“Everybody Else,” the infectious, driving singalong is an early favorite (“You can find me with everybody else/I don’t like bein’ all by myself/I won’t be lonely when I go to hell/You can find me with everybody else”). Like the aforementioned Should-Be-Saints Prine and Walker, Raitiere writes impressive witty lyrics that stick with you long after the record has stopped spinning. The same could be said about “For The Birds,” “You’re Crazy,” and honestly just about every song here. 

The album was produced by Miranda Lambert and Anderson East (he’s written songs for both, by the way) and is crammed with an impressive and impressively eclectic list of guests that span the country, rock, Americana and folk spectrum including Bob WeirDave CobbAshley Monroe, Robert Randolph, Natalie Hemby, Foy Vance and Waylon Payne. The album started taking form about four years ago, with Raitiere giving Lambert and East a slew of songs and allowing them to suggest arrangements and guests for each. “I think the record kind of made itself, and that was the vibe I was going with. It was just a bunch of friends getting together trying to help me create something, because they thought I needed a record.” 

This pretention-free, ego-less approach makes for one of the most impressive Americana debuts so far this year. 

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