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Finally Friday Pairs Aaron Raitiere With The Accidentals, On Purpose

Aaron Raitiere

Nothing is accidental about Finally Friday, and we always strive for a lively time, but things will be especially deliberate and especially funny during this week’s at-home edition of our weekly show. That’s because we’re featuring Michigan to Nashville power folk trio The Accidentals and the witty, literate country music of Nashville’s Aaron Raitiere.

Raitiere (pronounced Ray-t-air according to his custom koozies) is a Kentucky native but a Nashville veteran who’s made himself one of the most interesting and accomplished professional songwriters in town. Besides his cuts by Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert, Midland, Shooter Jennings and others, his co-write “I’ll Never Love Again” with Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsay and Lady Gaga won the Grammy Award for best song in a movie. That was a pretty earnest ballad, but on his debut album Single Wide Dreamer, out early this month, Aaron proves to be amazingly entertaining, sharp-tongued and funny, a true heir to Roger Miller, John Prine and Hayes Carll.

We hear the wry wordplay and character centered storytelling right away in the opening title track, with its “over qualified-er, bonafide backslider, a poet and a know-it-all,” a guy who’s revealed with every detail in every sculpted line. “Cold Soup” is a poignant moment with a homeless guy. And “At Least We Didn’t Have Any Kids” is a masterfully sardonic yet convincing take on a failed relationship. The record was produced by Raitiere’s friends Miranda Lambert and Anderson East and features a cavalcade of guests, including Bob Weir, Dave Cobb, Natalie Hemby, Ashley Monroe, Robert Randolph, Foy Vance and Waylon Payne. I haven’t heard anything this freshly witty and stone country in a long time. Raitiere joins us hot on the heels of his debut on the Grand Ole Opry.

If you’ve been reading these dispatches you know my affection for The Accidentals. Just recently I posted a great talk with Sav Buist and Katie Larson about the connection they made in their high school music classes in Traverse City, MI, the years on the road that built them a devoted fan base and their amazing 2021 album Vessel. They’ve also released two EPs in the past six months featuring their recent new adventures co-writing with heavyweights from Kim Richey to Tom Paxton. There’s a ton of new material and always boundless enthusiasm and talent from this stellar band.

As always, the music starts at noon on the air and online at WMOT.org.

Craig Havighurst is WMOT's editorial director and host of The String, a weekly interview show airing Mondays at 8 pm, repeating Sundays at 7 am. He also co-hosts The Old Fashioned on Saturdays at 9 am and Tuesdays at 8 pm. Threads and Instagram: @chavighurst. Email: craig@wmot.org