By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
When Heartwood Center manager and Mattox Farm Productions founder Robb Talbott told the Reader that he would be striving to bring variety to the newly revamped venue after taking over operations in 2022, it would appear he wasn’t kidding.
Talbott has hit the ground running and won’t be slowing down this weekend as Mattox Farm brings back-to-back concerts to the Heartwood — the second of which features Pacific Northwest artist Aaron Crawford, who is defying musical stereotypes by blending country and grunge rock influences.
Crawford will play the Heartwood Center on Saturday, Oct. 15. Doors open at 7 p.m. and music kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Coeur d’Alene-based singer-songwriter Jackson Roltgen will open the show.
Raised on church music and perpetually part of one band project or another, Crawford came into country music after college when he became one half of a touring duo.
“Country music was something that I’d listen to on and off,” he told the Reader. “My grandpa listened to it. I listened to more grunge stuff — heavier stuff.”
When the country duo had to split, he launched into a solo career — going about a decade strong — that leaned more into his grunge roots.
“At first, with the duo record, I was along for the ride,” he said, “but with my solo records, it became more and more my influences blended with what I’d been doing on the road.”
As Crawford grew as a solo artist, it seemed country was the right fit.
“Country music is something you can mature into,” he said, “because country is all about the lyrics — the story.”
The resulting sound brings to mind a blue-collar, rockabilly music fan in a dive bar wearing boots and a Nirvana T-shirt. Flip through this hypothetical music fan’s burned CDs and you’ll see George Strait next to Pearl Jam. This kind of music isn’t about image — it’s about real, lived experiences.
“One way people have described my music lately — and it’s something that makes me happy and that I continue to strive for — is ‘genuine,’”Crawford said. “You’re going to get what you’re getting with me.”
Crawford will be performing at the Heartwood Center with his full band, which takes pride in putting on a memorable show.
“I really want you to be like, ‘Man, I had a crappy week, but I got to come and sing my lungs out to this dude, and this song actually really resonated with me, and then he talked to me at the merch table afterward and I can’t wait to hang out with him again the next time he comes through,’” he said.
Aaron Crawford live at the Heartwood Center • Saturday, Oct. 15; 7:30 p.m., doors open 30 minutes before the show; $15 advance tickets, $20 at the door, $10 for youth. Heartwood Center, 615 Oak St., 208-263-8699, mattoxfarm.com. Listen at crawfordaaronmusic.com.
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