The term Americana, when applied to music, has become a narrow definition in the past few years, with bands and individual artists sounding fairly similar. J. Burn digs deeper on his EP Burnt Blue. His press people liken him to The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, and Johnny Cash, all apt comparisons. However, you can also hear Simon & Garfunkel as well as more ‘80s sounding influences like Camper Van Beethoven and the ‘90s via Wilco. These can be heard most prominently on the power cut “Our Song Shared.” Indeed the first line is: “Way back in ’87/ We were tripping on down that open road.” Plenty of violins, er fiddles, banjos and other acoustic instruments surround Burn’s voice.
The Paul Simon influence comes on even more strongly in “Old Time Heroes,” though Burn does manage to “hillbilly’s it up” as Dwight Yoakam would say, while adding a whimsical piano to boot as it were. “Memory Lane” sounds like more contemporary Americana, but not in an obvious way. This track should clearly be the single.
And what’s an Americana collection without a good travelling song? Here it is presented in the song “Freight Train.” Burn croons “oh, freight train, oh freight train may your course be true/ Though I don’t care where you’re going/May your course be true.” It all floats along on a bouncy melody that perfectly creates the image of riding the rails across this great land of ours.
And as with the best EPs, Burn leaves you longing for a full album.
8 Stars Out of 10
PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.