Aaron Rothko – Joymaker Album



ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Aaron Rothko, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist originally from New York, talks about his move to New Orleans, his music, and introspective new album, “Joymaker.” Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podcast.

Says Aaron, “The year leading up to the realization of this album was marred by grief, isolation, and illnesses both physical and mental. And yet, it is a year I look back upon incredibly fondly. It’s a year where I found an unexpected new home, falling in love with and in New Orleans, and learned more than I had in all four years of college (granted I never did the reading). ‘Joymaker’ is my way of making sense of having these incredibly positive and negative experiences in such a small span of time. The album follows no linear timeline, nor does it split this part of my life into good and bad; rather, it views it as a whole. There are no days where I only grieve, just as there are no days where I only feel secure, happy, and at home. These feelings coexist in me, they coexist in the album, and they coexist in each song itself.

This mix of powerful emotions is what led me to the idea of the ‘Joymaker.’ Someone who, even when gone, has such a strong presence and impact on one’s life, that they still bring happiness just by thinking of them. The loss of someone important can be devastating, but one’s life is better just for knowing them, and even in grief, one can still find joy. ‘Joymaker’ aims to find the beauty in these painful and difficult moments in hopes of allowing oneself some celebration as well.”

“Joymaker” is dedicated to Aaron’s late Grandmother, who was an incredibly talented artist. She was always encouraging of his pursuit in music and proved that great art could come from anywhere. As soon as he started recording, Aaron knew he wanted to use one of her paintings as the album cover. Aaron explains, “I initially chose one of my favorite paintings of hers, a close-up of a lit match that hangs over my Grandparents’ fireplace. But I later came across the print that I ultimately chose as the cover: an image of a woman staring out the window at a pine tree. Such a simple piece, but it stuck with me. It seemed only fitting—a piece I never saw until after she died that was able to change my mind and deeply impact me. I’m still learning new things about her, and her importance and influence in my life stays constant. The design of the lettering on the cover was done by my cousin, Sean Cohen, who like our Grandmother, is also an incredibly gifted artist. We both knew that creating art and working with one another would be the best way to honor her, and he jumped on the idea without hesitation.”

Aaron Rothko played music starting from a young age and fell in love with songwriting as a teenager. Rothko began writing more seriously in his time at college, where he started to hone his songwriting skills and developed his own style and sound. Rothko’s music is best described as soothing and melancholy, with rich guitar sounds and heartfelt lyrics that utilize clever wordplay. ‘Joymaker’ is Rothko’s second full-length album, his first being ‘Man In The Tall Grass’ (2021), as well as a six song EP titled ‘Except/I Love You’ (2020). When not recording, Aaron is a music teacher, home gardener, and a proud dog dad. He studied Jazz Performance on Upright Bass at Vassar College, where he graduated in 2020.

In closing Aaron had these words to say about “Joymaker,” “This is an album mostly of introspection, and insight that I’ve found for myself might not be true for everyone. But I encourage everyone to do some self-reflection and consider the ones around you. Go to therapy. Call your mother. Donate to abortion funds and vote.”


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