Aaron Einhouse is releasing a new album titled It Ain't Pretty, and it's a powerful song cycle about the ups and downs in relationships and life.

The Austin-based musician is a veteran of other releases, but he's taken a step in a more serious direction for It Ain't Pretty. The album's theme coalesced around the title song.

"It ended up being more sad songs, and more difficult truths," Einhouse tells Taste of Country. "'It Ain't Pretty' is a real good example of that. It's really a marriage song, talking about two people who've been together for a while, and how love can be a good, wonderful thing, and it can be a terrible thing at times. The record is kind of talking about things that are difficult, and not necessarily the sunny side of life."

That theme derived from a dark period after Einhouse and his wife lost a baby to miscarriage. "I think we were probably going through a difficult period of time, and I had that title, and that kind of central idea," Einhouse says. But he was struggling with the subject matter until he got together with Hal Ketchum.

It ended up being more sad songs, and more difficult truths.

"I had that title and the raw expression of it, but I couldn't put it into context in a song, and then I got together with him, and he came up with some really cool stuff to put in there that really brought it to life," he recalls. "I don't know if I was too deep within it or what."

That set the tone for much of the album, but Einhouse wasn't deliberately writing to a theme.

"It kinda came together by itself. That wasn't something I chose beforehand," he says. "I kinda looked at it and said, 'This is what I've got, and this is how these songs are.' Maybe it was just more of the mood that I was in when I was writing all the songs. There's several different themes. I wouldn't say I wrote from a theme or concentrated on a theme. The songs came together and they are what they are, and the story's not really upbeat. That's what's also cool about them. When I perform them, that's what I concentrate on, is conveying that emotion. Stuff I've done before didn't really have that quite as much."

Erik Herbst produced the album, and his job was to try to capture as much of the live sound of Einhouse and his band as he could.

"He did such a great job of figuring out, listening to the live shows and really trying to make it sound like us," Einhouse says. "Our live show is really pretty lively; we have a really fun performance, and that's one thing we wanted to do, is catch us as a band. I recorded the album with all my band, and I think he really did a good job of catching that."

Einhouse names "My Susannah" and  "On and On" as some of his personal favorites from the album, as well as "The Richest Man," which he cut on his very first album and re-cut in a new arrangement for It Ain't Pretty.

The record is kind of talking about things that are difficult, and not necessarily the sunny side of life.

"It was one of the first or second songs that I wrote, and everybody that I played it for just really loved it, and I felt like for some reason [the original recording] was just so sterile and lifeless," he shares. "It's a song that means so much to me, so went back in and kinda re-worked it a little, but kept all of the meat and the story and the real emotional parts. It's probably one of the songs that I've written that I'm most proud of."

He's releasing the album through a partnership with Thirty Tigers.

"I had done my last record with them, and they've done so many cool things with Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell and, they've got such a cool group of artists. I'm just thankful they let me in," he says with a laugh.

The result is an album that moves the bar artistically for Einhouse,  who says he's "just really proud of all the songs, and I think that's the whole thing: it ain't pretty, but it's real, and that's what it's about."

It Ain't Pretty is available on May 13 via iTunes. For more information on Aaron Einhouse, visit his official website, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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