Aaron Tank: Dancing With No Music

Paul Whyte

Aaron Tank is a singer/songwriter from Bemidji, Minn. and for several years he has played around the area; everywhere from the Twin Ports to up the Northshore. Just recently he played several shows around town such as at the Pizza Luce’ brunch and at the Thirsty Pagan Brewery.  
“Dancing With No Music” is Tank’s second official CD release.  It is primarily a laid back folk album that brings in personal lyrics as well as a good amount of different instruments and percussion arrangements that compliment Tank’s vocals excellent guitar work. There are plenty of unique elements that happen throughout that carry the experience of this album along the way.
The first track titled “All We Have” is a fairly minimalistic song featuring Tank finger picking the guitar and what seems to be a maraca.  The song hinges primarily on Tank’s lyrics, as does most of the rest of the album. “Is this our destiny to meet here just this once? Or can we make it last, share our circumstance, talk about the past‚Ķand things to come,” Tank sings in the opening verse.
The next track “Small But Powerful” is based on a poem by Holly Churchill. It reads:
I am small but powerful, I am powerful but graceful
I am graceful but fall, I fall but dance
I dance but sit in contemplation, I contemplate but play
I play but hurt, I hurt but sing
I sing but cry, I cry…
but there is still happiness in my heart.
The lyrics work largely around the poem, from the third person perspective, “She is small but‚Ķ” This track is has a unique pop and kind of a tango feel to it and is one of the most heavy as far as multiple instruments go on the album. The song starts out unsuspectingly with the acoustic guitar and a subtle underlying bass, then a well played drum kicks in.  Once the chorus starts, an organ accompanies the song. One cool thing about the song is that has pauses here and there and there are some nice slick drum rolls laid down by Eric Sundeen.  Towards the middle of the song there is a sax solo played by Craig Haugen who is also credited for the keys on the track. My complaint about the song is that the lyrics start to get a little redundant after awhile. After a simple guitar wah break down part towards the end of the song, the lyrics start up again and going into the 5:00 minute mark, it seems like it’s going a little too far, but then it ends.
The next song really switches it up from the previous track, “Dancing With No Music,” is just Tank finger picking the guitar and it’s so low key it’s almost a lullaby. “Love everyone when you got no reason to, dancing with no music its the toughest thing to do,” sings Tank.
Likewise, “Better Than a Kiss,” is a laid back song that brings in some hand drums and then an upright bass played with a bow comes in play by Tracy Hardy Johnson. It’s about a girl dodging a kiss, feeling that having “a good laugh” is better.
Track 5, “Letting Go,” is an instrumental slide guitar song that sounds like might be played on a resonator guitar. Tracks 8 and 11 are also solo guitar instrumental songs that bring in finger style work.
Track 9, “Got to be a Point,” is more of a country song compared to anything else on the CD. There is soft brushed drums and backing vocals from Leora Jean Smith.  With lyrics like, “sometimes I feel so wasted but there’s got to be a point to the tear drops in my eyes and the achin’ in my joints,” one knows they have a decent country song on their hands.
Track 10, continues with a folk/country/Americana tune titled “Soul Train.” It’s fairly short and sweet in it’s content and is just a little over 2:30 minutes.  
The final track I’m really not going to say much about.  I’ve met Aaron Tank and I’ll just say the lyrics start out, “I stand here naked in this place, stand here with you face to face.” Thanks for the mental image Aaron is all I have to say on this track titled “Primal Grace” other than I think the instrument being used in it is a dulcimer.  
Overall the album has good singer/songwriter material through out.  The track “Small but Powerful” stands out the most from the other songs which are mainly folk and Americana with a few slide and finger style songs thrown in there. The album was recorded in two different locations but sounds excellent and consistent overall.  If you’re ever out and about and he’s playing in the area, check him out and request “Primal Grace.”


Paul Whyte

A South Shore native and University of Wisconsin-Superior journalism graduate. Lifelong musician, and former open mic host. Passionate about the music scene and politics.

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