There’s nothing like that traditional, classic country sound – pretty tough to find these days in a landscape overflowing with ‘country-pop’.
In the midst of that, singer Sean Burns is bringing his straightforward and compelling country tunes to the City March 11th – he performs at Roosters Wood Fire & Smoke that evening.
This is just two days after the release of the stellar Music for Taverns, Bars, and Honky Tonks on March 9th. Showtime is 7 p.m. For those with a taste for the old-time charms and timeless sensibilities of classic country, this is a show not to be missed and an artist not to overlook.
For Burns, who grew up in southern Ontario, his style isn’t an effort to try to sound like anything in particular. It’s simply a reflection of who he is.
“Music for Taverns, Bars and Honky Tonks is not a purposeful attempt to sound ‘vintage’; it’s simply what I’ve always wanted to do, traditional country music,” noted Burns.
Inspired by legends such as Ray Price, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Johnny Bush, the CD was recorded at Hillside Hideout, at Alexander, MB and Tres Mariachis in Nashville.
The album was produced by Canada’s guitar wizard Grant Siemens and recorded and mixed by Scott Franchuk, Juno and Polaris Prize nominated engineer.
A passion for music was sparked early on – his dad was a musician and played with a number of bands during Burns’ growing up years.
“There was a lot of that music available in the house,” he recalled, adding that Steve Earle records of the early 80s also wielded quite the creative impact as well. “I sort of got hooked into it – and when I started high school, I really got into the more traditional country music stuff,” he said.
“Dad was also a huge guitar player, so when I started getting interested he led me to other artists and other albums as well and showed me lots of that stuff. So I was very fortunate in that regard,” he noted.
For Burns, the aforementioned super stars like Owens and Haggard were among those he looked up to the most as artists during his teens.
“As I’ve gone on, it’s been a bit more of the honky tonk stuff – early Ray Price and Johnny Bush records that I really started to get into. Today, I feel like what we have with this band is a nice mix of the Bakersfield stuff and the Ray Price stuff.
“Even if they are singing about drinking and dancing and greasy stuff, they are really nice singers and really polished bands.”
The new album dives right into those glorious, vintage-type sounds with the driving, infectious tones of Have You Seen That Train. Burns’ voice suits this genre perfectly, too – another plus to be sure. Farewell Parties showcases another side to this exemplary artist – a slowed-down, simply structured ballad.
Things pick up again with My Old Self – an absolute charmer from start to finish that again shows the versatility of Burns’ vocal style.
Don’t Let The Highway Get You Lost R2 injects a robust shot of rock into the gritty mix, while Lonesome Again hearkens back to the early days of Nashville country – a huge sonic treat with a sunny, polished sound.
It’s no wonder this project sounds so absolutely professional – it features a heavy-hitting roster of musicians with decades of success in the traditional country music industry.
For starters, multi-instrumentalist Siemens has spent the past 14 years touring and recording with Corb Lund.
Grammy-award winning Harry Stinson sang harmony vocals on the record, and also plays drums and background vocals in Marty Stuart’s band, The Fabulous Superlatives.
Chris Scruggs played console steel guitar and is the grandson of famous bluegrass banjo player Earl Scruggs and the bass guitarist in The Fabulous Superlatives.
And for one track, Sturdy Woman, Canadian Blues legend Big Dave McLean plays harmonica.
Rounding out the band are Ryan ‘Skinny’ Dyck on pedal steel, Joanna Miller on drums/vocals, Siemens on guitar and Bernie Thiessen on bass.
For Burns, 34, he had early dreams of life as a musician. But then he kind of wandered away from it.
But during high school, lots of kids were playing guitar and Burns knew he had to get into the groove again.
“The first time I did a gig without my dad I was 17-years-old,” he recalled. “So there really was no plan B.”
He certainly has no question about the path he has chosen.
“I’ve always loved the sound of country music, the feel of it, the simplicity of it and the stories, too. You can tell a pretty complex story in about three minutes.”
Meanwhile, there is also a dinner/show ticket for the performance – for more information, contact Roosters.