Music News & Reviews

Aaron Lee Tasjan and Dylan LeBlanc make The Burl twice as appealing

Aaron Lee Tasjan headlines at The Burl March 9 with Dylan LeBlanc.
Aaron Lee Tasjan headlines at The Burl March 9 with Dylan LeBlanc.

Aaron Lee Tasjan and Dylan LeBlanc

Opening: Bryan Minks. 8 p.m. March 9 at The Burl, 375 Thompson Road. $15, $20.

A quiet country confidence sits at the center of “Memphis Rain,” one of the many sterling tunes on Aaron Lee Tasjan’s 2016 album “Silver Tears.” That doesn’t mean you’ll hear it saddled between the hourly parade of Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan hits on country radio, but the song’s artistic virtues are all out in the open — a relaxed and telling vocal stance, a melodic stride cool and complete enough to sound like it was cut in 1970 and a narrative that finds a patch of common ground between melancholy and romantic unrest.

Of course, this is just one side of Tasjan’s considerable musical profile. Other “Silver Tears” tunes possess a deeper, darker pop cast, like “Little Movies” while a starker, folk-fortified swagger with a ready-to-erupt, rockish intensity fuels “Ready to Die.”

Such a cross section of roots and Americana preferences are the product of a prolific performance dossier that includes tenures with such diverse acts as Drivin’ N’ Cryin’s Kevn Kenney, a 2009 lineup of the New York Dolls, and his own New York band cleverly titled the Madison Square Gardeners.

Dylan LeBlanc
Dylan LeBlanc shares a bill with Aaron Lee Tasjan March 9 at The Burl. Abraham Rowe

Tasjan has been a frequent flyer in and around Kentucky, too, from semi-regular club shows to festival dates last year at the Moonshiners Ball and Forecastle. Tonight, he is on his own at The Burl — sort of. Tasjan will be playing an unaccompanied set as part of a bill with Dylan LeBlanc.

A Louisiana native, LeBlanc is regularly connected in reviews with Muscle Shoals ancestry. That can be a misleading reference, though, as you soak in his songs, especially the plaintive gems on his 2016 album “Cautionary Tale.” Here, LeBlanc favors a sound that is deceptively easygoing.

“Look How Far We’ve Come,” for instance, shuffles along with despondent strings, summoning an alt-country cast both regal and uneasy. The mood lightens during “Man Like Me,” but is then offset by an intriguing lyrical restlessness. The resulting music bears favorable comparisons to some of Ryan Adams’ quieter works with a hint of My Morning Jacket’s more atmospherics music. There are also traces of Neil Young (from his “After the Gold Rush” days) within LeBlanc’s “Easy Way Out.”

Need more incentive to check out this immensely appealing Burl bill? Then toss in an opening set by Lexington’s own Bryan Minks. Doors open tonight at 7.

Retracing Adkins

Country star Trace Adkins is back in the region this weekend. With two decades of country hits to his credit — including the charttopping singles “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing” and “You’re Gonna Miss This” — that showcase a distinctive Louisiana-bred baritone, Adkins is touring behind his 2017 album “Something’s Going On.”

Trace Adkins
Trace Adkins comes to the Norton Center for the Arts in Danville, March 11. Charles Sykes Invision/AP

His Sunday performance at the Norton Center for the Arts’ Newlin Hall, 600 W. Walnut in Danville (7 p.m., $59-$99) is part of a tour that will keep the singer on the road through July.

Adkins has remained quite visible offstage through the years as well, whether it was through his 2007 book “A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck,” his semi-finalist finish in the 2013 season of “Celebrity Apprentice” with our now-current president at the helm and an ongoing film career.

Adkins’ newest entry in the latter hits theatres next weekend. He will appear in “I Can Only Imagine,” a movie based on the double platinum selling contemporary Christian song of the same name by MercyMe. Adkins plays Scott Brickell, MercyMe’s manager. The film opens March 16.

For tickets to Sunday’s concert, go to or call 859-236-4692.

High scoring Harrison

Anyone remember the V-Roys? They were the Knoxville-based power-pop quartet and one-time Steve Earle protégé act that was a performance regular at the long defunct Lynagh’s Music Club during the late 1990s. The group disbanded in 2000, two years before the club closed, but its frontmen carried on — singer Scott Miller and guitarist Mic Harrison.

The latter has made it through Lexington a few times through the years (most recently at the Green Lantern in 2014) with an astutely rocking troupe called the High Score. With a fine 2017 album called “Vanishing South” to their credit, Harrison and company head to Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Rd. in Louisville tonight (March 9) with the co-billed Dave Ernst and the Early Favorites and Louisville-by way of-Pikeville songsmith John Clay along as an opening act (8 p.m., $10). Consider this the road trip pick of the weekend.

For tickets, call 502-584-8088 or go to