Wednesday 30 Jul

Sobering sounds

Copperheads with Depth & Current, Dudes of America and Oblivious

10 p.m. Saturday


113 N. Crawford Ave., Norman



07/30/2014 | Comments 0

Pony expression

Wild Ponies

8 p.m. Sunday

The Blue Door

2805 N. McKinley Ave.



07/30/2014 | Comments 0

Music Made Me: Josh Hogsett

Few, if any, Oklahoma bands have seen a rise as meteoric as Tallows over the past year, yet its seemingly overnight ascension didn’t happen by chance. The Oklahoma City four-piece is well-versed in the ways of modern pop songwriting, drawing from both glitchy electronica and cathartic indie rock in equal measure. Last year, the band pulled off a rare musical feat with its debut album, Memory Marrow, which was steeped heavily in the breadth of recent history yet managed to sound like nothing else before it.
07/30/2014 | Comments 0

Planting the seed

Chelsey Cope’s new band, Elms, is as earthy and native to Oklahoma as the trees that are their namesake. The soulful folk four-piece’s debut EP, Parallel Lines, was recorded at Bell Labs Recording Studio in Norman and is on its way in September. But the band has already given us a tease, with its first single, “Burn,” going live on SoundCloud on July 14.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Commercial rock

Center of the Universe Festival featuring Capital Cities, Young The Giant, AWOLNATION & more
Downtown Tulsa 

07/22/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Reviews · Folk · Jonny Burke — Distance and...

Jonny Burke — Distance and Fortune

Folk fares better than rock

Stephen Carradini January 18th, 2011

Ever since Dylan went electric, folk and rock have had an uneasy back and forth relationship. Some who excel at one find they fail at the other. Some can do both.

From Austin, Texas, where they know a thing or two about both genres, Jonny Burke excels at folk tunes, but is off on his rock tunes, on “Distance and Fortune.”  

It’s not the instrumental execution that’s off; Burke blasts out of the gate with “Broke Again,” which sounds somewhere between Springsteen and The Hold Steady, musically. The problem is the vocals, which are blown out and gravelly. The parts don’t mesh right, and the song feels uncomfortable. I’m sure that it makes much more sense live, but on disc, it’s a bit odd.

What makes even less sense is that when he plays acoustic folk, his voice is even, emotive and gorgeous. “In the Autumn” is an absolute knockout of a folk song, incorporating guitar twang, snare shuffle and solid melodies into a tune that almost jumps onto mixtapes. I selfishly want him to stop singing rock songs so that he preserves his voice for his folk tunes, lest he end up like Tom Waits. “Little Girl of the World” is another slow, pristine folk tune that relies on Burke’s sensitive, emotive voice;  “Don’t Let Me Fall” goes on for six heartbreaking minutes.

But for every heartrending folk tune, there’s a rock tune that doesn’t match up in quality. “Cracka Jack” is the closest that Burke comes to combining his great vocals and rock; I wouldn’t be so opposed to his rock tunes if he gave us more of the gorgeous vocals he’s capable of. But even “Cracka Jack” doesn’t feature a performance as attention-grabbing as his folk tunes.

You can rock and have a great voice; it is totally possible. Burke needs to stop trashing his voice for the sake of attitude, lest he ruin his brilliant folk songs. In that vein, half of “Distance and Fortune” is great; the other half, not so much. If he ever does an acoustic session of the entire album, sign me up. —Stephen Carradini

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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