We last got our hands on the work of Junior Burke earlier this month, with the release of his single Any Eyes But Mine, a track we found to be full of “nuanced but uncomplicated melodies and brilliant lyricism.” Burke is now back with a full-length release – his first on Bongo Boy Records – with an album titled Nothin’ But. This project just serves to amplify everything there is to like about Burke’s most recent single – these are heartfelt songs with real, human stories, told by beautifully simplistic music.
The album opens with Vandalia, an uptempo Americana number with a soft but driving rhythm. We’re treated to a somber story of an incarcerated man longing to get away – but it’s told with such a bright melody and gentle intonation that you might not even catch the heaviness at first. The guitar solo ending is a particularly nice touch, a soft fade into nothingness without resolution serves as a great storytelling element.
The title track Nothin’ But leans a touch in the soft rock direction, with a punchy bassline and perfectly blended harmonies in the chorus, but the later inclusion of the harmonica keeps us cemented in the country/folk genre. This radiant love song paints a perfect picture of the early infatuation stages of love – “There’s nothin’ but you, you’re all that I see, too good to be true, everything it’s supposed to be.”
Guess I’m Naive picks up the pace a little bit, with a dynamic arrangement of guitars over a full drum kit. This track is full of optimism and is reflected in its infectious melodic energy. The lyrics in this one are fun and memorable, comparing the cinematic task of “winning over the girl” to great historic feats like discovering the earth is round or flying the first airplane.
One of the standouts on the album is Coming Home from Shilo. This is a dark and eerie tale of love destroyed by the Civil War and a widow’s loyalty, even in death. It’s the perfect mix of deftly crafted acoustic music and a good old-fashioned ghost story – captivating, original, and haunting.
We also love the inclusion of the cover of the CCR tune Lodi at the end of this album, and doubly so for the live recording. It’s a great upbeat Americana take on the classic tune – almost like John Denver meets John Fogerty, but with a modern edge. The band is tight, the electric guitar cuts through the percussion perfectly, and the energy is palpable.
One listen through Nothin’ But and we think you’ll find that Junior Burke is the real deal when it comes to modern singer-songwriter music. His songs come straight from the heart, and he radiates authenticity and true musicianship at every measure. For fans of cleverly crafted lyrics, of well-composed Americana tunes that are both familiar in style but unique in execution, and of relatable stories of life and love that will resonate with audiences of all kinds – do yourself a favor and check out this project when it debuts on Bongo Boy Records on April 16th.
BELOW: Listen to Nothin’ But by Junior Burke and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Junior Burke by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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Nothin’ But will be available for pre-sale on 4/9/21, and for purchase on 4/16/21.