Aaron Lee Martin: Learned Behavior

Band: Aaron Lee Martin
Album: Learned Behavior (June 2017)
Genre: Acoustic / Folk / Indie / Singer-Songwriter
City: Wichita, Ks
Standout tracks: The Beast, Something Beautiful, Seven
Seen live: yes
Rating: 7.5/10 Pretty Good!

Similar artists: Damien Rice, Iron And Wine, Decemberists,

Aaron Lee Martin is for the most part, a solo acoustic guitarist singer-songwriter. I remember seeing him several times at Mort’s. What made it interesting was the instrumentation used. It wasn’t just acoustic guitar, but also banjo, harmonica, and mandolin.

A reoccurring theme I’ve noticed from listening to “Learned Behavior” and other previous albums is that the lyrics are always very emotional and heartfelt. It makes the songs easy to relate to when hearing someone pouring their heart out. Sometimes he compromises the rhythm of the lyrical melody a little bit. I think he puts more emphasis on the word choice. The lyrics may not fit perfectly and seem rushed or squeezed in, but such is life. In that sense, in a way, it is a bit of a ‘perfect imperfection’. The fact that it doesn’t fit perfectly, makes it feel all the more personal and raw. Unrestricted. Exposed. Honest.

This album broke my heart when I listened to it. Actually, it would be more accurate for me to say that I enjoyed this most when I was heartbroken. I’ve been listening to this album since I picked it up at his album release show. But it wasn’t until a recent death in the family that this album really opened up to me.

That sounds bad. “Hey guys, buy this album if you have a broken heart!” I don’t know another way to say it. It is truly beautiful. This album has the power to move you to tears. In order to appreciate this album to what I believe is it fullest intent, the listener should be heartbroken. There is a certain level of vulnerability required to let his music resonate. (In the same way, that level of vulnerability is necessary to perform.)


“When you are happy, you enjoy the music. When you are sad, you understand the lyrics.”


The added percussion and back-up vocals really add a lot to this album (in comparison to his older albums). Even though it is essentially 1 man, 1 instrument, the added instrumentation keeps the songs from being too repetitive and similar.

I would like to see Aaron Lee Martin play with William Bloom. Both of their music has a way of making me analyze myself and make me ask myself stuff like, “Am I living the right way?” or “Am I happy with who I am”?

Anyway, here’s some links. You know what to do!


Apple Music



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