(photo: Collin McClain)
Earlier this year, Jacob Aranda released his debut album Great Highway. Aranda, whom you may recognize from his guitar and pedal steel work in China and Paula Frazer and Tarnation, created a lovely album of folk songs centered around a tough period in his life. In 2015, Aranda was newly divorced, unemployed, and became homeless, sleeping on friends’ couches and in his old truck. As if that wasn’t enough, he was working on his truck when his legs were crushed in what he calls a “freak accident.”
At the time of his accident, Aranda and his band (Tarnation) had recorded a couple of songs with Kelley Stoltz in San Francisco, but the incident not only inspired him to write the title track of the album, but he also says it “room to even consider” making a full album. Five additional songs were recorded by at Elliott Smith’s old Studio, New Monkey in LA, rounding out the album.
The end result is full of beautiful, mellow country soundscapes, with Aranda consistently sounding like a guy who is, quite frankly, going through some shit. And even if he isn’t going to find pure redemption, he’s going to learn from the pain and come out a little stronger and wiser on the other end. Give it a listen below, and see Aranda at the Lost Church Friday night, or at Brick and Mortar in July.