With blues and country music in his bones, Arkansas native A.J. Gaither has become the heart and soul of the Kansas City roots scene. A writer of no-nonsense songs that cut to the core of the pain that comes with a broken heart and a crappy job, if his words don’t make you believe him, the fire and gravel in his voice sure will. Not only can he write and sing the blues, but he sure can play them, too; A.J. is a true multi-instrumentalist. If it has even one string, A.J. can play it, and if it doesn’t have a string, he’ll figure out how to put one on. A.J. makes almost all his instruments, and he regularly builds cigar box guitars to sell to other aspiring one-man-bands.
A.J. established his following with Kansas City hillbilly road warriors The Fall Down Drunks. These roots scene regulars played in honky tonks, biker bars, and country fests across the Midwest. Always a self-reliant musician, A.J. put a hole in the washtub (well, technically it’s a five-gallon differential oil drum) to make the homemade one-string bass that served as his predominant instrument. He also played banjo, some of his own stringed creations, and the occasional harmonica, and was lead vocalist. After a few years, A.J. took to playing shows as a one-man band, showing off his multi-instrumentalism, ambidexterity, and handiwork.
As much as his music, A.J.’s fans love his seemingly endless supply of go-get-em – easily one of the hardest-working musicians in the Midwest, A.J. can be found playing a show just about every night of the week. But no matter how long he spends on the road, A.J. always finds his way back to his good ol’ Kansas City home, taking stages all over town including The Westport Saloon.