Beginning with his debut album, On the Hallelujah Side, Aaron Ross displayed a facility for Americana-based musical forms and rambling lyrics that tended toward double-entendre and allegory. The apocalyptic wit of Bob Dylan and biblical gravity of William Faulkner are equally valid lyrical touchstones. When he sings the song “Jack Kerouac” from the 2006 album Beginner’s Blood, it’s easy to see how the writer’s concept of “free prose” influenced Ross’ freewheeling lyrics.
While his early work was inspired by dark, redemptive tales like the film There Will Be Blood, his 2008 album Shapeshifter revealed a lighter side of his personality.
Entering his late 20s and discovering the peace of raising a family, Ross felt the drive to project more positive imagery. “Once you reach 25 and you’re still alive, you’re not as angst-ridden,” he says of the time. This new-found levity gave him the leeway to experiment with different lyrical and musical forms.
While much of Ross’ music focuses on the mythical America, with it’s broken dreams, bucolic family moments, and unprecedented military power-there is a sly thread of humor running through his work that’s often underestimated. Song titles like “The Beast Of Both Worlds,” “Enemy Of The State Of Mind” and “In Through The Out Of Order Door” hint at a playfulness that’s often lacking among modern songwriters.
With a poet’s penchant for wordplay and a wide-eyed attitude toward music production, Aaron Ross has earned his place as one of Nevada County’s most gifted musicians and songwriters.