Aaron

These Are My Favorite Songs

I made you a playlist of my favorite songs.

I hate to even call them songs. They’re more like friends who’ve helped me at different times in life. They’re also just good company if you’re alone, or throwing a dinner party, painting, driving, whatevering.

I hope you enjoy.

Love,
Aaron


My Favorite Songs
Listen now on

  1. New American Language – Dan Bern
  2. Nashville – David Mead
  3. Glory Bound – Martin Sexton
  4. Guiding Light – Foy Vance
  5. The Valley – Ethan Gruska
  6. You’re the Storm – The Cardigans
  7. All Mixed Up – Red House Painters
  8. Know How – Kings of Convenience
  9. The Luxury of Knowing – Lori McKenna (not available on Apple Music/iTunes)
  10. Gotta Have You – The Weepies

Why I Used the F-Word in a Song

Below is an email thread between me and a fan who was upset after hearing the f-word in my song “Hello, Lou”off the album Passages. He graciously said I could post our email exchange as I thought it might be helpful for others who had the same concerns.

 

On Sep 10, 2017, at 10:30 AM, C______wrote:

Hi Aaron, as someone who first met you years ago in D _____, have all your albums, and seriously considered flying you back up here to play at our wedding, I need to let you know how disappointed I was to hear profanity in this album. Can’t listen to you with my kids anymore.

C______

On Sep 11, 2017, at 1:53 PM, Aaron Espe:

Hi C_____,

Thanks for your honest reply. I realized in putting “Hello, Lou” on the album there would be risk of a response like yours. As a parent of three, I appreciate and respect your decision not to listen with your kids (or even listen to me anymore out of principle, if that’s what you meant).

But since you’ve been a supporter of mine for so long, I feel the need to explain a little. Using profanity wasn’t premeditated. It came out while I was singing the demo and got emotional. In the studio I tried to do a clean version, but I couldn’t replicate the same authenticity — not because I wasn’t swearing; just because a song like “Hello, Lou” is really difficult to sing more than once. (Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever perform it again.) The version you heard is the first version, the demo, in which I unfortunately dropped an uneditable f-bomb.

The question became whether or not to include the song on the album. Even though I knew it would disappoint some people, the decision was easy for me. “Hello, Lou” is personally one of the most important songs I’ve written. It’s a tribute to a childhood friend who died before the internet era, and the song’s very essence is about it being published to help his memory live on.

Also, I know “Lou” wouldn’t mind, as he occasionally used the word himself.

Love,
     Aaron

I Hate to Namedrop, but Taylor Swift…

…said she loves my music, so how do you expect me to keep that to myself?

Because seriously, talk about a strange day.

I wake up, check a few emails and one is from the head of my label, forwarding me this playlist Taylor Swift put together on Spotify called “Songs Taylor Loves.”

I don’t really understand. But then I keep scrolling and there I am “Aaron Espe – Making All Things New.”

At first I think, no this can’t be right. But then I think, well who knows? At the very least I will tweet her a thank-you.

A little while later all of her fans start posting and liking and retweeting my thank-you tweet.

Wow, I should tweet about Taylor Swift more often, that’s the trick to tweeting. I’ve cracked the code!

I didn’t crack the code. The trick I found out was that Taylor Swift had “liked” my tweet which meant that the tweet became viral because that’s how much power Tay’ (if I can be so bold now) exudes in one tap.

 

Now, I bet you’re wondering how my life has changed since that day, aren’t you?

You probably think I’m currently lying sideways on a velvet covered pillow made of European goose down, typing with one hand and sipping a cocktail in the other while people stand outside in a line waiting for my autograph.

Perhaps you think I’ve now won the attention of every music executive in Nashville and they’ve made multiple competing offers on the worst song I’ve ever written (about a dog running over my shoulder and my refrigerator—I was 6, ok?).

I bet you maybe even think that my kids don’t cry or whine any more and they brush my teeth and tuck me into bed.

Well, no.

What is true is that I impressed a few people for a few days. Even got a couple “OMG!!s” from people I haven’t heard from in years.

And honestly, as a creative person, that stuff feels so good. Taylor Swift putting me on her playlist really means a lot and I truly am thankful. I feel like I’ve been validated by one of the most successful people in my field.

But do you want to know what’s interesting to me about this whole thing?

It wasn’t enough.

The feeling went away.

And I was reminded that the only thing that doesn’t go away is the work.

I don’t know what I’d do if that wasn’t my favorite part about music. Writing, creating, collaborating, figuring out how to get something so abstract that pulls on your heart onto a piece of paper, four chords and melody.

And I’m making a sort of pact right now…

…if I ever don’t love the work anymore, that’s when I’m done. That’s when I fill out a Home Depot application.

The day it isn’t about a song anymore will be a sad day for me, but I take comfort knowing almost absolutely that day will never come.

So God bless you, Taylor Swift, but it’s time for me to get back to work.

I Grew Up Without a TV, So One Year My Dad Rented One So We Could Watch the Olympics

We got it from Frank’s TV and Repair. It looked like the kind science teachers would wheel into classrooms on days when they showed videos about corral reefs.

I don’t really remember watching the Olympics so much as I remember having a TV. Because honestly, it was kind of unbelievable. We were a family known for not having a TV. In a small town, that kind of thing is attached to your identity. Kids would make fun or ask questions like, Have you ever seen a movie?

Looking back, I wonder what sort of sales gymnastics my dad had to perform in order to persuade my mom to let a TV in the house. I’m pretty sure she was anti-TV because she was anti-worldly influence. With the Olympics, she let every country right into her own living room.

Actually, technically speaking, the TV was in the dining room, propped up on a wooden chair facing the living room. My guess is that my mom didn’t want to rearrange the furniture. Didn’t want to let that TV get too comfy. Didn’t want us thinking there was a chance we’d transition from a TV-renting family to a TV-owning one.

My sisters, the Molines, and me watching TV.

All this reminds me that the Olympics isn’t just about athletes achieving seemingly impossible feats. To me it’s also about regular folks like my dad doing some pretty impressive stunts themselves. I mean, the odds were pretty much zero that the 1980 US ice hockey team would beat the Soviet Union.

But they did.

And to get a TV past my mom and into her own living room (slash dining room), the odds for my dad were pretty much the same.

But he did.

Love,
Aaron

If I’m the Sun and You’re the Moon


INTRO: C – F – G (X2)


VERSE 1:
    C       F      G          C
If I’m the sun then you’re the moon
C       F     G
What am I to do
   C         F      G       Am
I wait till dusk, I wake at dawn
C      F     G        C
But I always miss you


TURNAROUND: C – F – G (X2)


VERSE 2:
    C         F            G     C
If you’re the shore, then I’m a fish
     C     F        G
And oh how can that be
   C           F     G       Am
I jump in the air to catch a glimpse
C       F      G     C
But you do not see me


TURNAROUND: C – F – G


CHORUS:
   Am            C
As I recall I’ve tried it all
   F                  F
If I was made, I was made to fall
    Am                C
But till the end I’ll always try
   F                Em         G — 
To fix our fates to one day collide


VERSE 3:
    C         F            G     C
But you are water in my hands
     C     F        G
I grasp and I pull you in
   C         F      G       Am
But you slip away before I can
C       F      G         C
Tell you what I’m feeling


TURNAROUND: C – F – G


CHORUS:
   Am            C
As I recall I’ve tried it all
   F                  F
If I was made, I was made to fall
    Am                C
But till the end I’ll always try
   F                Em         G —
To fix our fates to one day collide


LAST VERSE:
    C       F      G          C
But I’m the sun and you’re the moon
C       F     G
What am I to do
   C         F      G       Am
I wait till dusk, I wake at dawn
C      F     G    C
But I always miss you

C – F – G

C      F     G    C
I will always miss you


Written by Aaron Espe (ASCAP) © (A Dog Ran Over My Shoulder administered by Words & Music)