Son Little made his return to Utah this weekend to take the stage at The State Room in Salt Lake City. In a past interview with Catalyst Magazine, the artist said “Utah might just be the most beautiful state. I offer this up willingly to people, They (the mountains) remind you what a small piece you are.” On this Saturday night in Salt Lake City, Son Little added to the state’s beauty with his special acoustic set.
Born Aaron Earl Livingston the singer-songwriter has released two solo albums under Son Little resulting in millions of streams. His music ranges from blues, gospel, and rock and roll – all performed with some smooth soul. The creative flow has brought him opportunities for collaborations with The Roots, RJD2, and Mavis Staples.
Son Little first got interested in playing music as a shy four or five-year-old at the basement piano of the church his father preached at. At the time he describes the basement piano as an excuse not to talk to anyone. I find it interesting that this escape has evolved into creating music that speaks to everyone. You will find your self dancing to Son Littles funky blue tracks, singing to his romantic R&B records, and getting lost in his poetic lyrics.
On Saturday night the Salt Lake City audience had a special showing. Seeing Son Little as a solo-acoustic act was an absolute treat. The light plucking of the guitar combined beautifully with the soft serenading vocals coming from the stage. At one point Little joked from the stage “My old manager said not to do solo shows. So clearly I had to book like forty solo dates.” The State Room crowd was glad he didn’t listen to his old manager.
Having seen Son Little in the past with a full band and this tour as a solo-acoustic act it was cool to compare and contrast. Solo gave a small intimate feel of an evening among friends. Fans were lining the stage and standing candle-lit tables on the floor, while others were comfortably seated on old church pews and stadium seats in the back.
The gathering was highlighted as fans got to hear ‘Lay Down’ live. The love ballad singing of spending time with those that matter most and freeing ourselves from distraction. There were no distractions as he softly played on stage, attention was fixed on this truly chilling set.
Perhaps the true pleasure of the night was hearing new songs from Son Littles upcoming ‘Aloha’ album to be released in January. There was an innocence and passion to the songs as they were played. Particular excitement came when the artist introduced ‘suffer’ his newest single and the first to be released from the upcoming album. I heard a girl whispering to her friend “Oh my gosh! I have been listening to this non-stop since it came out!!” while a couple on the other side of me danced together as it was played.
Aloha was written in only eight days and recorded in the famous Studio Ferber in Paris, France. Little played nearly every instrument in the recording of the album, but for the first time used an outside producer rather than being self-produced. He described the upcoming album as an exercise of releasing control and truly letting go. “Letting go can be a scary prospect,” Son Little Says “But theres beauty in it, too. Everything you leave behind opens up space for something new to your life.”
There is beauty in this upcoming project and beauty in Son Little’s music as a whole. What began as an escape from talking to people as a shy young kid, has turned into a powerful-swagger-packed expression that connects people. The intimate setting and poetic songwriting fostered a night of connection for the crowd in attendance and fans will wait anxiously for Son Little to return to the beautiful state of Utah.