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Master of Balance: Aaron Markland juggles firefighting job, touring

Aaron Markland’s music is representative of his upbringing in San Diego.

And on his sophomore album, “Tide Break,” the Albuquerque resident put together a collection of melodic songs influenced by Sublime, Slightly Stoopid and Ben Harper.

“The album was a long time in the works,” he says in a recent phone interview from San Diego. “It was about two years in the making. The entire idea started with my producer, John Wall. He helped me develop the concept.”

Markland has lived for 13 years in Albuquerque, where he works as a firefighter.

Over the years, he’s become a master at balancing his schedule. He works for 48 hours and then travels San Diego, where his wife lives, to spend a few days. In between, he performs.

“We’re on a staycation/honeymoon,” he says from San Diego. “We recently got married, and we had time to spend together before we get back to work.”

Markland’s touring schedule also has to be lined up according to his work schedule.

He performed four nights in San Diego to celebrate the album release. He will perform at Marble Brewery, 9904 Montgomery NE, on Aug. 11 to celebrate the album in Albuquerque.

Markland says his wife is a major inspiration for his songs.

During the album process, he was writing in a journal about what he was going through.

“When the process started, I had been divorced a couple years before that,” he says. “All of the love songs on the album are inspired by my (new) wife.”

Markland’s writing typically starts with him and a guitar.

“I strum along and feel an emotion,” he says. “Then I usually start humming behind the strum. It’s like a chorus hook, and something catchy comes from that. Some songs take me 15 minutes; others take me years to complete. I can never tell what it’s going to be.”

On “Tide Break,” Markland also has some songs that are introspective.

He says “The Lion and the Lamb” is personal to him.

“I was wrestling with my faith, and I was pretty depressed,” he says. “I struggled with suicidal thoughts. Writing was a way for me to deal with my feelings.”