Two years, four singles, four top 20 iTunes songs, and a top songwriting award later, and the highly-anticipated debut EP from Aaron Jurd has debuted at No. 5 on iTunes.
Released on November 27, his Changed EP contains six tracks, including two as yet unreleased tracks and hit No. 5 on the iTunes Country Albums Chart.
Four tracks – Set Me On Fire, Hard To Breathe, Changed, and If You Were Mine have all been released as singles over the past two years, but Whiskey Blues is a new original and the EP also contains a piano and strings stripped-back version of Aaron's first single, Set Me On Fire.
"I knew I wanted to do an acoustic, stripped-back version of one of the songs because I love acoustic versions of songs," Aaron said.
"I love an album where there is a live or acoustic version included, so it was a goal of mine to do that with my debut release. Set Me On Fire was the one that started my career and is still one of the songs that resonates most with people.
"People come up to me at live shows and say they can relate to it, so I wanted to reflect the emotional side of the song in a stripped-back version that brings out the raw vocal."
The other unreleased original, Whiskey Blues, is a new sound for the Lake Macquarie singer-songwriter.
"I love all types of music, which is what is really reflective in Whiskey Blues," he said.
"It's got blues influence, and I wrote it with one of my friends, Adam Carlisle, who sent me a guitar riff which inspired the song.
"I'm a big whiskey fan, and I love drinking in whiskey bars with their cool atmosphere, so when I was sitting in one, I thought it would be a really cool place to do a film clip one day, and there are a lot of country songs about bars and drinking."
Although he's released four singles, all debuting in the top 20 iTunes Country Songs Chart, over the past two years and won the 2020 APRA AMCOS Tamworth Songwriters Association New Songwriter of the Year Award, Aaron's goals still remain the same.
"I want people to be able to relate to the songs on my EP," he said.
"I really wanted a collection of everything I've released and worked on and written in a CD, so I am over the moon that it's nearly released because it's been something I've been working on for so long.
"It's a great feeling now that it's finally coming to light and people are going to be able to listen to it."
Although digital music is the new norm, and this EP is available on all digital retailers, Aaron wanted to have a physical product for his audience members.
"Digital music is cool because it's so reachable, but I much prefer CDs, myself," he said.
"I still buy CDs from artists, so the fact that I'm able to have my own now, is even better.
"There have been audience members who have asked about CDs at shows, so I feel there is already an audience who are going to be able to listen to it, but hopefully there will be some new listeners from this as well."
It's been a tough year for live performance, but Aaron is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, with his gigs starting again in December and festival bookings starting to trickle in for 2021. He's also writing new material, which he will begin recording in the New Year with producer Simon Johnson, who produced the Changed EP.
"I'm aiming for another EP release by the end of the year or early the year after," he said.
Changed was produced by Simon Johnson and features musicians including the late Glen Hannah on guitars, Simon on bass, Vaughan Jones and Liam Kennedy-Clark on keys, Rod Motbey and Brett Wood on guitars, Liam Kennedy-Clark on keys, Luke Moller on strings, Steve Fearnley, Pete Drummond and Brad Bergen on drums, Michel Rose on pedal steel, and Kristy James joins Aaron on backing vocals.