Espanola Explores the Perfect Solitude "Outside Saskatoon" (premiere)

Photo courtesy of Auteur Research

With Espanola, the renowned pedal steel player Aaron Goldstein is writing and producing road-worn Americana of his own.

You may not recognize Aaron Goldstein by name, but there's a good chance you've heard of the folks he's played with. From City and Colour to Elliott Brood, Donovan Woods, and Cowboy Junkies, the Canadian songwriter and producer has offered his wicked pedal steel to a number of noteworthy names. Cutting his teeth out on the circuit with such a blend of acts has certainly done Goldstein well, though the flip-side of being such an in-demand session musician has been that it's been a bit since he's put out his own material.

This is changing with Goldstein's newest project, Espanola. Pronounced like the name of the town atop Highway 6, Espanola's earthen sound feels indicative of the roads that Goldstein has traveled for years now. His new song, "Outside Saskatoon", is exemplary of this, featuring Goldstein's gritty vocals laid bare across a relentlessly forward-moving, pedal steel-centric Americana arrangement.

Goldstein tells PopMatters, "Back in 2013, I spent two weeks writing at the Dunk in Prince Edward Island. The following year, I recorded some of those songs way out on the plain in Saskatchewan, on a grid road near the town of Delisle. I loved everything about Sinewave Studios – from Chad Mason who ran the place, to the tape machine he was using, to the sheer isolation."

"You'd walk out the front door and there really wasn't much to see 360° around except for snowy prairies, some wooden fence, and the odd silo. Perfect solitude. To be honest with you, today's release was supposed to be two jams from this album I mention, that I've been working on for nearly five years. But then I got to thinking about that trip to Saskatchewan, Hal Mills out in PEI, the people I spent time with in both of those provinces, and this new song, 'Outside Saskatoon', just sorta wrote itself."

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