Madison, Wisconsin singer-songwriter Aaron Scholz cut his first album Perfect Child (1999) on an 8 track cassette player in a friend’s basement, playing all the instruments himself and landing a four star review on allmusic. His second album Come Back Down (2001) brought further critical acclaim and earned him opening slots for Richard Buckner, Jay Bennett, Evan Dando and Allison Moorer.
Songs written for a third album were demoed between 2005-2008 but remained unknown outside of occasional solo performances. Meanwhile Scholz hosted and performed at a popular weekly open mic as well as playing in various bands around Madison. In the summer of 2020 with the pandemic having shut down most other musical ventures, Scholz revisited his demos and decided to finish his lost album. Now titled Third PlaceScholz again recorded as a one man band, keeping the arrangements as sparse as his demos and utilizing his expanded musical abilities to bring fresh perspective to these songs.
While the themes of Third Place appear to reflect the isolation of the pandemic, Scholz notes that “most of these songs were all written over a decade ago, but gain new relevance given our current state of the world” The opening track “What Would It Take” sets the tone of the album, urging the listener to step outside of their comfort zone and see the other side of life. “Dorothy Door” explores the isolation of the suburbs while “St Paul” tells the tragedy of an unemployed rail worker who has been discarded by society. “The Place” wraps the album up by asking if we really know how we connect with those we care about.