Thursday, November 12, 2015

J Burn - Burnt Blue (2015)

For those of you who miss The Grateful Dead, Pure Prairie League and Sweetheart of the Rodeo era Byrds there is San Franciscan J. Burn who, I'm sure not coincidentally, recorded his new EP at Bob Weir's TRI Studios in San Rafael, CA.

Burnt Blue, a brief four song set, is Burn's second effort. His first was a full-fledged fourteen track album, Major Melodies Backward Beginnings, in 2014.

Burn should be taken seriously. You can tell by the company he keeps in the studio. In addition to working at TRI he is supported by multi-instrumentalist Jason Crosby (vocal, piano, violin) who has played with The Allman Brothers Band, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Pete Seeger, Blind Boys of Alabama, Dave Mathews, Robert Randolph and Susan Tedeschi. Also assisting on these sessions was Robin Sylvester on bass and slide guitar. He too has played with a host of famous rockers including Weir's group, Ratdog.

Burn is a good composer and he sings like Jerry Garcia (especially on "Our Shared Song"), which could be why Weir is attracted to his work, but even if there had never been such a thing as The Grateful Dead he is good enough to survive on his own in a genre that is now, unfortunately, very overlooked. Because Burn's music is not in vogue these days he'll probably never earn anything more than a nice cult following but he deserves any attention he receives.

Burn describes himself as a musician, activist, gardener and photographer and, if he is half as good at the rest of these things as he is at music, he just may be a modern day Renaissance man.

You can stream the entire EP below. Pay special attention to "Memory Lane" a perfect recollection of the singer's later coming-of-age years and "Old Time Heroes" on which Burn again longs for his past. Crosby's gin joint, country piano playing on this track is a nice touch.

Learn more at Burn's website.

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