Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Death To False Country Sings Billy Don Burns Praises

Billy Don Burns photo by Lance Dawes © Rusty Knuckles Music 2013
Billy Don Burns has been in the country music trenches for 40+ years now and there are no signs of a slow down. His career has hit peaks and valleys over it's long trajectory, but one element that burns bright, is the breadth of Billy Don's storytelling.  

All sorts of folks can put a pen to paper and gather ideas for a song. But how many can make you feel as if you are part of the narrative? Seeing ol' BD getting a steady stream of recognition is a testament to his work ethic and never say die attitude. He has done something above and beyond which puts him in a league all his own. Billy Don has been honest with himself and his past, by being the fabric of the stories he weaves seamlessly into each song.
Honesty trumps being an outlaw any day of the week, for he is the writer and he is the song...

Check out the post on Death To False Country Radio

"Country music's wheel of fortune has a way of reversing its course when one least expects it. Sometimes the turn of the wheel manifests into stardom, but more often it comes to rest in obscurity as new and younger artists prevail (at least for the time being). It's one hell of a ride, if your bones (and spirit) aren't crushed under the weight. Billy Don Burn's has never traveled a smooth path, or a straight trajectory, but after 40 years in the business, he's still standing.

One of the countless songwriters to descend on Nashville in the early 1970s, Burns was one of the chosen few to have his songs picked up, penning tunes for Mel Tillis and Connie Smith, allowing him to quit his day job of performing as Hank Williams at Opryland. A few recordings surfaced, but stardom remained elusive (despite having fellow Arkie Bill Clinton dedicate March 27th as "Billy Don Burns Day" in Arkansas during his governorship in 1983).

After touring through much of the 80's, he began an album project with then inmate Johnny Paycheck, which never materialized. The 90's witnessed his unlikely resurgence, with a collaboration with legendary songwriter Hank Cochran, Desperate Men, in 1995.  His career slowly began to gather momentum again as he released A Train Called Lonesome in 2002,  Heroes, Friends, & Other Troubled Souls (featuring contributions from Willie Nelson and Tanya Tucker) and Sammy Kershaw recorded his "Honky Tonk Boots" in 2006. 

Once again, however, the wheel stopped turning and little was heard from him until upstart record label Rusty Knuckles had the good sense to issue Nights When I'm Sober: Portrait of a Honky Tonk Singer in 2012, introducing him to a new generation of underground Country enthusiasts. Portrait of a Honky Tonk Singer may be his best and most cohesive work to date, and has succeeded in getting this Outlaw legend back on the road. Only time will tell when the wheel will stop spinning again, or if it will keep rolling and create a revolution in its wake. Sometimes its best to be thankful for the here and now, and thanks are definitely in order to the divine guidance that has appointed Billy Don Burns the present's top troubadour."

Billy Don Burns, photo by Lance Dawes © Rusty Knuckles Music 2013
Death To False Country, with a feature write up on Billy Don Burns