Signs and Wonders of The Burner Band

Popping immediately into your head with fun songs you’ll be singing for the rest of the week, while breaking out in denims, Leeds’ The Burner Band kick off their debut album, last week, Signs and Wonders with a rock n roll blinder, but that’s not all they’ve got in them.….

The subsequent tune to Blues Came In, though, Block out the Sun, suggests, rather than mellowed blues, the blue is here cowboy-boot-tapping bluegrass, with spurs. A fast-moving fashion which continues throughout the album, fusing all Americana influences, and yeah, it sure is above snakes catchy.

As a solo artist, vocalist and guitarist Lewis Burner has supported the likes of Bob Log III, The Coal Porters and The Legendary Shack Shakers, appearing at Broadstairs Folk Week, Orwell Bluegrass Festival and Strummer Camp, and released two albums. Here he collaborates with Ian, absent surname, to create the duo The Burner Band, and it certainly does burn!

Company Man is acoustic goodness, nods towards Simon Garfunkel’s more upbeat moments; deep-rooted Celia, for if as their PR document suggests punk is an influence as well as bluegrass, and rock ‘n’ roll, it’s coming through remarkably subtle, typically folky. I say this because there’s a professional feelgood factor to The Burner Burner, rather than the rawness and unskilled tenet of punk; the simple country pop sound of it Takes Two, four tracks in, is enticingly gratifying, yet afterwards, this album takes serious themes, without losing the appeal.

You, the Devil and Me deals with grief, Search Deep, Find Out assesses morals and judgements. There’s subjects of mental health and murder, but it retains, above all else, it’s catchy charm and slither of flippancy, just by the upbeat nature.

Voodoo Queen, seven tunes in, being the most diverse with its Latino undertones, whereas with Pray for the Light, the folk-punk is now coming across, and it’s welcome to. Thing is, even suggestions of blues, as in Too Much Blues, is only in topic, sound-wise it’s rock n roll, leaving one to ponder if The Burner Band are capable of mellow! Though maybe they just held out for the memorable title track at the very end, with its Springsteen-esque narrative.

It’s certainly lively, filled with exhilaration and excitedness. It also sounds sincere Americana, even when dealing with satirical themes; Liverpool’s campaign to rid the city of The Sun, being most poignant. Penned wise, though, I loved Don’t Have To Listen the most, reflecting on teenage ignorance against the face of authority, for secretly in my own mind, I’m still a adolescent tearaway, and maybe, in a nutshell, that’s the appeal here; forget skin cream, this entertaining, quality toe-tapping bluegrass rock n roll merger will knock years off you!

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Asa is Back in Devizes

Give or take a week, it’s been two years since Devizes Corn Exchange reverberated rock n roll when Liverpool’s entertainer Asa Murphy presented his Buddy Holly tribute show. An amazing fundraising night, in dedication to local music hero Bruce Hopkins, the show had perfect renditions of Buddy’s songs wrapped in a simple narrative to set the scenes, and by the end, Age Concern need not be called as young and old, the audience danced in the aisles!

Deja-vu on many preview pieces we wrote about this time last year, including announcing Asa set to return without the Buddy specs in April with a variety performance and handpicked guest appearances.

Obviously and sadly, it couldn’t be, but I’m pleased to now re-announce the Corn Exchange is booked for this show on October 16th, and will feature the original lineup; superb sixties singer, Sandy Collins and Lennie Anderson, an excellent comic.
Tickets are on sale at Devizes Books, which you can call to secure your seats until the shop is bookshop is open again for business.

For more details you could check last year’s preview, by clicking here; saves me writing it all again, but don’t look directly at the old date, look around that date and concentrate your mind on October 16th 2021! Oh, and I hope to see you there!

The Monkey with no Bum!

No, looks to me like, from the front cover picture, the monkey does indeed have a bum, albeit it quite small and the motion lines suggest it’s shrinking. No matter the outcome of the debate, it cannot be good news for this monkey called Charlie. I could ask the author Asa Murphy why, but we don’t need spoilers. All you need to know is Charlie has either no bum or an incredibly shrinking bum, and that’s plenty of background, cos, kids like the word bum, and I don’t blame them. I like the word bum, and intend to use it as much as possible here today.

If this Liverpudlian now children’s author’s name rings a bell, it’s because he loves Devizes and in honour of our late local fundraising musician, Bruce Hopkins, he staged his most prestigious performance at the Corn Exchange, a self-penned musical about the life of Buddy Holly.

Asa just glows with the charm and entertaining charisma of a one-man Ratpack. With sell-out shows at Ronnie Scotts, topping the bill at the famous Liverpool Empire, he also has a decade under his belt with a popular BBC Radio show up in Liverpool. Last year he turned to writing, the intention being stage musicals, of which he’s crafted three shows, Buddy Holly Lives, Mack The Knife and Irish Annies.

But if you think changing from musical writer to children’s author is tenacious, think again. Asa plans to launch a children’s musical from his debut book, and will be at the Corn Exchangein 2021. For now, though it’s self-published book (Murphy-World Books,) that tale of monkey with no bum, and was taken from a story Asa told to his nephew, and continued to tell to my own children. “I wanted them to be aware that in my eyes,” Asa explains, “they were perfect in every way. The story developed into an idea that I felt all children should hear, so I sat down and wrote the story with the dream of it being turned into a children’s illustrated book.”

I asked Asa if there was more to come, whether Charlie might be back, with or without his bum! “It’ll be a series of five books, all featuring Charlie the Monkey, and with valuable lessons for children.” Might make a great Christmas pressie for the young ones, or anyone, I like saying bum, and I think, if we’re honest with ourselves, we all do!

You can buy it here, or it’s now stocked at Devizes Books for £6.99.

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