Clare Burson
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Clare Burson

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


I remember the time/When love was what it seemed,” sighs Brooklyn-based Clare Burson, on the title track of her second long-player, and cocooned amid a lush, noirish arrangement for creaky keyboards and droning guitars, her ennui and regret is palpable. Hers is a knowing voice, world-weary like Lucinda Williams’, expressive like Kathleen Edwards’, mysterious like Jolie Holland’s. And produced by Nashville studio wizard Fognode (Brian Siskind), Burson traverses the whole emotional spectrum on this remarkable album—the tentative joy of liberation (cinematic opener “Boat of Leaves”), the impossible lightness of metaphysical reverie (cosmic cowgirl twanger “Angels”), the endorphin rush of expectation (thrumming anthem “1000 Miles”). She even finds time to step back and put a fresh spin on Nancy Sinatra’s sassy classic “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” this time recasting it as an ancient murder ballad for banjo.

Nowadays the Americana genre is awash in over-hyped/under-developed singer-songwriters, so it’s doubly refreshing to encounter a talent such as Burson who seemingly arrives fully-formed. (Living in Nashville during 2001-05, she moved among a group of songwriters that included John Prine, Matthew Ryan, Lucinda Williams and Patty Griffin, an invaluable internship by any measure.) Thieves is the sound of a magnificent lily caught in mid-flowering, its rich scent already piercing the air.
By Fred Mills - HARP MAGAZINE


Erstwhile Nashvillian Clare Burson has been making records of understated beauty ever since she released her evocative debut, The In-Between, in 2003. Now living in Brooklyn, she recorded her new Thieves with Nashville producer Fognode, a sculptor of ambient musical textures who imbues Burson's plainspoken originals with a creaky splendor that evokes the blues of Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta but doesn't really sound like either. Hooked by dissonant flecks of banjo, the disc's cover of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" is likely to get folks talking, but hopefully it won't overshadow Burson's own haunting studies in brown. Sung in her by turns gauzy and clarion alto, several of her songs would sound right at home alongside the more down-tempo numbers on Leslie Feist's gorgeous new album.
- Bill Friskics-Warren, The Tennessean, 7/13/07 - THE TENNESSEAN


On her sophomore LP, this Tennessee native hungers for a lost love within musical laments built on Americana roots and indie-rock lilts. Tender sentiments give way to embittered warbles with tracks like the wronged-gal anthem, “These Boots Are Made For Walkin,’” which Burson undresses to a soulful cry and a lone twangy banjo. Intimate and brooding, THIEVES is the confessions, obsessions, and mixed emotions of the broken-hearted.
- Helen Matatov, CMJ New Music Monthly, Sept. 2007 - CMJ NEW MUSIC MONTHLY


A thrill from start to finish . . . With a sympathetic production by fognode (Brian Siskind) the sound jumps out of the speakers, with a wraparound quality, guitars and vocals achieve an intense but ambient sound that seems to be the aural equivalent of Cinemascope . . . Set against clarion guitars, washes of keyboard and synthesisers and intricate percussive backgrounds her voice rings clear and powerful. There are heartstopping moments such as her crooning in the middle of the title song while the band chug along like a mescal filled Weimar cabaret combo. Angels rips away from the start with a crunchy guitar intro leading into a fantastic song that Lucinda Williams would die for. With vibraphone throbbing away throughout the song and a soaring pedal steel part, Burson sings like an angel. On 1000 Miles her vocals edge towards Joni Mitchell as the band pound out a percussive beat.
- Paul Kerr, americana-uk, 10/06/07 - AMERICANA-UK


Clare Burson is often compared to Lucinda Williams, so clearly she's got something good going on. The Nashville-based Burson's very personal tales, often of searching or longing, are hypnotic and gritty and completely endearing. As evidenced by the number of free downloads, she's a generous soul as well, offering up for easy access about half the body of her recorded work. My favorites are from her full-length album The In-Between, on which her country roots are most obvious. Like several other 3hive picks, Burson's music has been used in a hip TV show, so we wish her luck in landing a big fat record deal and implore her to remember the good old days of sharing the sharing. - 3hive.com


Thieves is just a gorgeous album - pared down in places, full on twang in others, consistently engaging.

The vocals are right up there too, a bit Lucinda Williams, a bit Patty Griffin and maybe even a spot of Hugo Largo's Mimi Goese in there, too. Clare's a classically trained musician and you can tell. Highly recommended.
- LONESOMEMUSIC.BLOGSPOT.COM


Clare Burson [is] a fiercely independent songwriter with a voice and songwriting style that carries the tremendous weight left by the shoes of her contemporaries as if they were mere feathers... The stunning clarity and simplicity of [her] songwriting and performances should leave no question that Clare Burson's career trajectory is on the rise... I am told that her live performance is incredibly moving, and you should, when possible, take the opportunity to catch her in a live setting... Clare Burson's music... is more than merely achingly hypnotic tales of forlorn love or struggle for hope. It's the awe-inspiring independence of Clare Burson herself that speaks volumes to me about her fearless journey to be recognized for her gifts on her own terms. To me, that makes the listening so much more enjoyable.
- E.J., www.loudersoft.com, 8/21/06 - LOUDERSOFT.COM


[Clare Burson] sings with a sweet melancholy voice and writes literate and poetic songs. All 10 tracks are somber and moody, yet they never lose momentum and are widely appealing . . . The track 'Tonight' is particularly contagious. 'The In-Between' is a beautifully understated and subtle album and will certainly hold its own among a crowded marketplace. An impressive debut.
- Liz Norris , Performing Songwriter Magazine - 11/16/2004 - PERFORMING SONGWRITER MAGAZINE


A touching, wonderful disc. Clare's a comer . . . [and] this record is a treasure. The tones and the arrangements are bare and beautiful. Co-producer Lex Price's spirit resonates throughout, and he plays lovely electric guitar that seems to melt into the other tracks . . . Long on charisma and short on melisma, Clare's alto is disarmingly honest and brought peace to my Sunday troubled mind. The relaxed feel of every track speaks to a wisdom beyond her years . . . Bittersweet, upbeat. With The In-Between, Clare Burson has already carved a place for herself as a true musician in the world of singer songwriters, and that's rare enough. But this is still just the beginning for this artist, and there is no limit to where she may go.
- Frank Goodman, www.puremusic.com - June 2003 - PUREMUSIC.COM


Discography

The In-Between 2003
Idaho EP 2005
Thieves 2007
tracks from each release can be found streaming on-line and receiving radio airplay

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Of her musical objectives, singer-songwriter Clare Burson explains, “I’ve always leaned towards poetic simplicity and subtlety in my music—wanting to express as much as I can with the fewest possible words and musical flourishes.” This desire for melodic minimalism manifests itself into an effortless sound, filled with deceptively straightforward lyrics and unforced harmonies. As in her previous releases, Burson’s new album Thieves is a collection of heartbreaking love songs, characterized by evocative imagery and subtle metaphors.

Inspired by her relocation from Nashville to Brooklyn, Thieves reflects Burson’s newfound perspective on music, both in terms of her career and her artistry. Burson was able to let go of conventional ideas that define musical success and focus on the joy and comfort of writing and performing. She also relinquished some artistic control with Thieves, “letting the specifics of song selection, arrangement and instrumentation remain spontaneous and open for discussion.” The overall perspective for the new record was enhanced by Burson’s active following in New York City. “My audience always has a unique energy. It’s freeing to be in a city with so many different people engaged in such diverse projects, creating art without fear of limitations.”

In June 2006, Nashville-based co-producer Fognode (Sarah Siskind, Cortney Tidwell) joined the newly transplanted Burson in New York. “The decision to work with Fognode was a relatively easy one. We had worked together enough for us both to understand how much and where we could push the other musically.” The two set up shop in a Brooklyn brownstone, opening the windows, turning up Burson’s amp and unpacking suitcases full of recording gear.

A classically trained violinist, and later, conversant in Bluegrass, Celtic and Klezmer fiddle tunes, Burson began playing guitar while studying history at Brown University. After college and a year in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar, Burson spent two years in Boston before returning to Tennessee. Currently, Burson is an elementary school teacher at St. Ann’s in Brooklyn. In March of 2007, she was awarded a two-year Six Points fellowship, which, in addition to providing funding, has engaged Clare in a valuable artist development program involving mentorship and educational workshops.