Aaron Burdett - The Mountains You Carry [Single]
  • The Mountains You Carry
  • The Mountains You Carry
    Genre: Bluegrass
    MP3 (03:00) [12.01 MB]
Why You Should Care: Aaron Burdett is an acclaimed Americana/folk singer-songwriter and performer from Western North Carolina, and is listed as one of the most important western NC musicians by WNC Magazine. He's won top awards in multiple songwriting competitions hosted by the likes of Merlefest, The USA Songwriting Competition, Mountain Stage, the NC Songwriter’s Co-op, and Our State Magazine. His last four albums have been voted top 20 Albums of the Year by WNCW radio listeners. This new single follows his 2021 album Dream Rich, Dirt Poor, his first album in four years, with three Number 1s on Bluegrass Today’s Grassicana chart and the popular radio single, “Rockefeller.”


Following the release of last summer’s Dream Rich, Dirt Poor — his first album in four years, containing three Number 1s on Bluegrass Today’s Grassicana chart and popular radio single, “Rockefeller” — western North Carolina singer/songwriter Aaron Burdett returned to the studio with producer Jon Weisberger and his touring band to record a set of tracks that includes his new Organic Records single, “The Mountains You Carry.”

New mandolinist Zeb Gambrill strikes the first notes of the new track, laying out its essential melodic shape before Burdett works his way into the song’s clear-eyed yet affirmative opening verses, eventually giving way to an anthemic chorus that offers ringing harmonies from banjo player Laura Ray and long-time bassist Kim France. Weighing in at a tightly-constructed three minutes, with Burdett’s gritty vocal intertwined with deft banjo and mandolin picking, “The Mountains You Carry” is emblematic of his winning combination of a powerfully distinctive voice, down-home bluegrass flavors and thoughtful, sophisticated songwriting.

“‘The Mountains You Carry’ grew out of a Najwa Zebian quote I stumbled across a couple of years back that I wrote down and kept thinking about,” Burdett recalls. “I believe the original version I read was ‘These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.’”

“I think that often our greatest personal assets can also be our greatest liabilities when played out to extremes. And I think as adults we're often really only children grown larger and we have many of the same feelings and emotions that we did when we were children. I've noticed that when I'm angry or agitated it's almost never the actual thing in front of me today, it's me reacting to the thing as I would have as a little kid, and bringing my own 40 years of baggage to the situation.

“Those old feelings get dredged up and set in front of me, like lessons I need to re-learn again and again. These are the ‘mountains’ I carry with me and likely always will. Do I choose to learn from them when they pop up? Not always. But sometimes I can remember that while I'm still the same person, I'm not quite the same kid I was back then. I can do better than I could then. I can take a painful lesson from the past and make my day better today when I'm reminded of it, reminded of the difference between then and now. I can be kind to myself and let it go and move forward without letting that old baggage weigh me down quite as much.

“And I see this in others too, I'm not only speaking about myself. I think we all do this to one degree or another, as 'grown-up kids'. Maybe this song will remind someone to lighten up and give themselves some grace when they listen to it. Like it says in the first verse: ‘You're too hard on yourself, you can let it roll by!’”

About Aaron Burdett
Aaron Burdett’s lyrics are soul-touching, intelligent, witty, and poetic all at once, while his music style is a seamless blend of Americana, country, blues, bluegrass, and folk.
Aaron is listed as one of the Top 10 most important musicians of western North Carolina by WNC Magazine, alongside such greats as Doc Watson, Steep Canyon Rangers, and The Avett Brothers. He has also received critical acclaim as a songwriter, most recently winning the Chris Austin Songwriting contest at MerleFest for the bluegrass category for his song Rockefeller. His latest album “Dream Rich, Dirt Poor” (2021) debuted at #8 on the Billboard bluegrass charts and has had 4 top 10 radio songs to date.

Burdett took home the grand prize in the folk category of the USA Songwriting Contest with “A Couple Broken Windows” in 2018 and was also the winner of Our State Magazine’s Carolina Songs Competition in 2012 with “Going Home to Carolina.” Aaron’s song “Magpie” won third place bluegrass song in Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest in 2013. Over the years Aaron has been a finalist in numerous other songwriting competitions, including The Mountain Stage Songwriting Contest, The NC Songwriter’s Cooperative Songwriting Contest, and the Hank Williams Songwriting Contest.

As a child, Aaron discovered John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, The Beatles, The Band, and Rickie Lee Jones on vinyl records in his parents' living room in the mountains of North Carolina. As a budding guitarist and songwriter, he was drawn to powerful communicators of the time like David Wilcox and Tracy Chapman and John Gorka. In his late teens, he discovered John Prine on a cassette tape dug out of a workshop drawer filled with rusty sixteen penny nails on a Wyoming ranch. He re-discovered the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on that same trip in a second-hand store in Riverton, Wyoming.

In his 20s he was introduced to Doc Watson when he heard him play in the living room of an old farmhouse near Boone, North Carolina. That experience led him to Norman Blake, Tony Rice, David Grier, Tim O'Brien, Darrell Scott, and Gillian Welch.

Mix all those influences up, add time and pressure, seven full-album releases, thousands of live performances, and you get Aaron Burdett, the songwriter and artist you hear today.
Drawing heavily on both the traditions of Appalachian folk music as well as nationally known songwriters, Aaron’s music gives voice to the small rural areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains while also speaking to the working men and women throughout the country.
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  • Profile Last Updated:
    08/15/23 07:30:36

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