Originally hailing from East Texas, Aaron Jaxon has made Johnson City, Tennessee his home now for several years. His most recent preceding release, 2015’s EP Light on the Inside, further added to burgeoning reputation. His growing renown garnered him plum live opportunities in venues as diverse as Nashville’s Bluebird Café or a Christmas party for NATO brass in Brussels, Belgium, but he wrestled with demons behind the scenes. His growing dependence on alcohol led him to a moment of clarity when he decided to stop.
His first release since stopping, the ten song studio release Saints Communion, is the fullest expression yet of Jaxon’s considerable songwriting talents. The opening duo of “Legions” and “Fire, Space and Time” are on fire, burning with the inspiration of a man unchained, and their robust sound belies their complicated lyrical point of view. Images restlessly bubble to the surface of each song and Jaxon belts out the lines with the desperation of a street corner preacher.
He doesn’t have a five-star technically superb voice, but it is more than serviceable and, despite the aforementioned passion he brings to each track, his obvious artistry never fails. Jaxon transitions from the furious blues-fueled guitar onrush of the opening cuts into the loose confidence of “Long Before the Sun” without missing a step. The layers of guitar give the song a full, rounded feel that it shares with the band’s best tracks and it has some especially tasty flourishes included.
“Abriel” is, in my view, the album’s emotional center. The plaintive way Jaxon expresses his gratitude and affection alike is likable and never risks overwrought sentiment. He avoids the image-heavy approach of other songs quite consciously, I believe, and the result is the musical equivalent of a fresh breeze blowing across your face. The bright bounce of its Hammond organ is, perhaps, an underrated strength.
Jaxon continues exploring the softer side of his songwriting gifts with the seventh track “Engravings”. He is able to handle the much rockier tracks, but the natural home for his voice are numbers where he can play off comparable musical settings. The light timbre of his voice gives him much of his approachability, however. “Heretics” opens with vocals and acoustic guitar and, when the track begins in earnest, listeners are treated to some of the album’s finest harmonies. The unassuming rustic flow of this performance never dilutes another strong lyric.
BUY THE EP: https://www.aaronjaxonmusic.com/album/
“House of Glass” ends Saints Communion with methodical guitar riffing interspersed with bursts of organ. The vocal rates among his most committed on this release; Jaxon puts considerable oomph into his phrasing without ever sounding uncomfortable. This is more than merely a satisfying release after some time away. The Aaron Jaxon Band’s Saints Communion moves the ball downfield for this act possessed with an urgent spirit; it is a musical document from a man with a story to tell. He’s accompanied by musicians who are on the same page and benefits from production I would stack up against any major label release.
Donate to IndiePulse Music Magazine’s Academic and Music Education Scholarship Program HeartBeat4Kids
IndiePulse Music Magazine creates Scholarships to help Youth In Need of assistance to complete their educational goals and stay in school.