12 Bar Blues

Album: Silver Tears (2016)
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Songfacts®:

  • Aaron Lee Tasjan's "12 Bar Blues" has nothing to do with the musical form: it's about the dozen different bars (as in taverns) where he has some kind of connection. There's only one he goes to to get drunk, but there are others where he's played music, and another where he dated a waitress - can't go back there.

    "It definitely fell into the category of 'write what you know,'" he said on the Songfacts Podcast. "That was just my experience. When I lived in New York I was a barfly, basically. I would go to 11th Street Bar, which I mention in that song, just about every day of the week and oftentimes I would get there when it opened at noon or something like that. I'd sit there until my friend Clay, who worked over at the Varvatos store on Bowery, he'd get off of work and then he'd come over and we'd sit there. Then at the end of the night, everyone would leave and Kenny would lock the door and put on Tom Petty's Greatest Hits, and we would all sit there and smoke cigarettes and talk about Tom and how much we loved Tom. That was my life for a long time."
  • The bar Tasjan serenades in this song is one of those New York City neighborhood bars without any signage - it's just known as 11th St. Bar. He gravitated to it after moving to New York City, which he came to from California. Tasjan later moved on to Nashville.
  • This is one of the tracks from Tasjan's second album, Silver Tears. His first album, released a year earlier, includes the song "The Trouble With Drinkin'" - you can see a theme developing.

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