Track Premiere: Loser’s Bracket from Aaron Burdett

Organic Records has a new single tomorrow for Aaron Burdett, Loser’s Bracket, which we are delighted to premiere here a day early for our readers.

Burdett has been known as a singer/songwriter for quite some time, but gained the attention of the bluegrass world when his song Rockefeller was named as a finalist in the 2020 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest, postponed now until this year.

He grew up on a steady diet of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, and James Taylor until he discovered Doc Watson in his 20s, leading to a journey of discovery into the world of bluegrass guitar. His recent output has switched between acoustic and electric, but this new track for Organic is right in that contemporary groove where bluegrass and grassicana meet.

The term Loser’s Bracket is one that will be familiar to anyone who follows competitive sports, identifying the side of a tournament where a team that has lost a game finds itself, playing against elimination should they lose another. Aaron uses it as a metaphor for the life of a real down-and-outer, who narrates the song.

Burdett says that it came easily to him, which was out of character for his songwriting style.

Loser’s Bracket is an unusual song for me, in that it came together without any trouble or extended effort. Songs usually take me a long time to reason out and consider and edit and re-edit. I think I heard someone use the title phrase; I wrote it down and the tune more or less wrote itself. I gleaned the chorus from somewhere out in the real world and shook it a few times and the verses fell right out—no extras, just the right amount, from wherever it is that songs are born.

This song might be a product of the same 1930s or 1940s character who inhabits the Rockefeller song, I’m not sure. Every song is different, and the most unique characteristic of this song is how it showed right up at my door and invited itself in.”

It’s a very catchy tune with highly relatable lyrics which should find a home for some time on bluegrass radio.

Aaron, who plays guitar and sings lead, is supported by Daniel Ullom on mandolin, Derek Vaden on banjo, and Kim France on bass and harmony vocal. Vaden, one of the real bright lights in contemporary banjo, shines particularly on this track with his use of the Scruggs tuners to close out his solo.

Loser’s Bracket will be available on Friday (January 22) wherever you stream or download music online, Radio programmers can get it via AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.