Brian Burns - Biography
Brian Burns has, for many years, been regarded as one of Texas’ top performing songwriters, his work having been covered by a number of legendary artists. But
in recent years Brian has emerged as one of his state's most powerful and engaging performers. His songs explore both the poignant and the humorous sides of humanity, drawing out the things we’ve all felt and wish we could have said. The warmth, wit, and eclecticism of his performances captivate audiences night after night.
Brian grew up in Central Texas listening to the western ballads of Marty Robbins and the progressive country music of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Early on, he developed an appreciation for musical depth, along with a knack for the story. As his passion for music grew, he began to explore a variety of styles ranging from pop to reggae. At age 16, Brian hit the road on a musical journey that would eventually find him sharing stages with some of America’s top performers.
Brian’s Texas roots remained an integral force in his life and work. After his first million-or-so miles of rough road and half-a-lifetime of impressive musical accomplishments - yet not much to show for it, Brian planted those roots firmly back in Lone Star soil. “Music’s not a choice I made, I believe the choice made me,” declared Brian in the title cut of his debut solo album,
Highways, Heartaches, and Honky-Tonks, a 1997 work which summarized his musical mission up to that point. His second album, 1999’s
Angels & Outlaws, produced the venomous, yet humorous Texan anthem,
Welcome To Texas (Now Don’t Forget To Go Back Home) which dominated FM heavy rotation lists in the nation’s largest country music markets for many months. But
Angels & Outlaws also met critical acclaim and enlightened a discriminating listening audience to a more intellectual and introspective side of Brian Burns.
Brian's 2001 release, The Eagle & The Snake: Songs Of The Texians, presented an epic collection of classic, contemporary, and original ballads based on the history, folklore, and culture of Texas.
The Eagle & The Snake was heralded by reviewers as a masterpiece shortly after its release,
then went on to become an established Texas classic. The album’s first single,
I’ve Been Everywhere (In Texas) became one of the only singles in
the history of recorded music that was produced in an artist's home
project studio, yet went on to chart nationally on the Radio &
Records country chart. The Eagle & The Snake
would also lead Brian's development of Once Upon A Time In Texas,
the state's premier educational presentation for K-12 Social Studies curriculum enhancement.
Once Upon A Time has taken Brian's musical and storytelling talents into
thousands of elementary and intermediate schools and remains Texas' #1
school assembly program to date.
In 2004 Brian released Heavy Weather, continuing
to mine a rich balladeering vein with songs like Indianola,
The Train Wreck At Kiowa Creek, and his remake of Gordon Lightfoot's
Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, which stayed on the top of the XM
Satellite Radio playlists for several years. Heavy Weather
also produced the "sleeper" hit Thunderstorms & Tyler Roses,
which remains a popular play in radio markets nationwide. Brian's
2006 release, Border Radio, introduced a collection of poetic
romps through west Texas and Mexico - although the recording was done in a stationary
setting, virtually all of the songwriting and production decisions were made where Brian
listens to music the most – out on the highway. Border Radio
won XM Satellite Radio's "Best In Texas" award in 2006.
In 2009 Brian released
his sixth, and perhaps strongest, studio work to date: American
Junkyard. This collection of songs looks at our nation
through the eyes of an aging patriot who sees us at our best and our
worst all at once. Noted Texas music critic Dave Pilot writes: "With American Junkyard, Burns tells the story of us. Perhaps more importantly, the story of
what we’ve lost. In that way, he’s taken his place as one of those rare
generational singers or songwriters with the ability to transform and
inspire. Croce, Lightfoot, Clark. Hank, Waylon, Lefty. Dylan and The
Boss. All different and unique, but all with the ability to strike at
the very core of each of us." Brian's current work-in-progress is The Ghosts of The Baker Hotel, due for release in late 2012.
Brian is a stellar
singer/songwriter and guitarist, yet a decidedly down-to-earth
performer. Remaining friendly and accessible to supporters, fans,
and radio, he performs an average of 300 shows a year including solo performances and songwriter shows with some of the
nation's top artists. In an industry that has always
followed formulas, business models, and demographics, Brian Burns has
created his own music industry, on his own terms, based upon honesty and
steadfast commitment to his work and the people who enjoy it. Just
one man and his guitar - drawing clarity out of the white noise of
modern Texan and American culture, then turning it into a good time to
be had by all - ages 9 to 90.