Aaron Burton – The Return of Peetie Whitestraw
CD: 14 songs; 46:13 Minutes
Styles: Traditional Acoustic Blues, Country Blues
Peetie Whitestraw, not to be confused with 1930s bluesman Peetie Wheatstraw, is actually a fantastic acoustic DFW Texas bluesman named Aaron Burton. He’s returned for his fifth musical foray – hence this new album’s title. It’s a follow-up to his 2005 debut release, “AKA Peetie Whitestraw,” and fans of traditional country blues will welcome his return. This is due to his acoustic and Dobro guitar mastery and gritty vocals, which definitely sound African-American although he’s Caucasian. As stated in an interview with Michalis Limnios for Blues @ Greece (http://blues.gr/profiles/blogs/an-interview-with-texan-aaron-burton-the-musical-heritage-of), “Like many of the great country blues men and women before him, Aaron is completely self-taught on his instruments which leads to a unique and interesting approach.” This is best proven on these three tracks (out of fourteen total originals):
Track 03: “Lafayette” – Songs about traveling, people and places have been a timeless staple of the blues. Featuring “Stompin” Bill Johnston on harmonica, it’s a jaunty, joyful ode to this Louisiana city. “Winter’s over; no more sleet and snow. Springtime is coming, and I’ve got to go – down to Lafayette, baby. Gonna get there just as fast as I can, get some red beans and rice….” This spicy treat of a track will have one playing both air guitar and air harp!
Track 09: “Leave My Girl Alone” – Another blues trope is a song about drinking. Here, our narrator takes umbrage when a bar patron bothers his fiancée: “Leave my girl alone. Did you hear what I just said? ‘Cause the last one to harass her got some lumps upon his head. Now, there’s a drunk girl at the end of the bar. Go bother her instead! You’d better leave my girl alone.”
Track 13: “If That’s Religion” – Religious faith, or lack thereof, completes Whitestraw’s trifecta of classic blues themes. “The world was created in only seven days? Mary was a virgin, and Jesus rose from the grave? Abraham’s willing to sacrifice his son? Now, if that’s religion, I swear I don’t want none.” He scoffs at 9/11/01 as a supposed sign of the end times, and ends with this scathing sentence: “Down a dangerous path from reality we run. If that’s religion, I swear I don’t want none.” Bold words from a Bible Belt native.
It’s hard for this reviewer to fathom why more people haven’t heard of Aaron Burton. The local scene may be to blame: “It’s hard to make a living playing blues around here. I here [sic] from the older guys that it used to be better,” he tells Mr. Limnios. Hopefully that will change in the near future, because “The Return of Peetie Whitestraw” is most welcome!