John Burke

John Burke


Highly Evolved: southern psychedelic roots music


I am a songwriter from Birmingham, Alabama. I write what i want to, and i play what i feel. My tunes fall into many genes but are based in good ol' southern roots music. in 2008, I recorded my first record, "The Broken Heart of Dixie". I plan on releasing TBHD as soon as I can find myself a sugar mama. I play all instruments on the recordings, (guitar, bass, vocals, harmonica, wurlitzer, drums, shakers, and one mean ass tambourine) and I love to play shows with my band, THE DICKINS.

The Dickins are some of the best musicians you will witness anywhere. Grey Watson (white elephants/ sorry saints/ goodnight nobodies/ bob & the vonnies) is a longtime friend of mine and an all around beautiful guitar player. Matt Greene (sorry saints/white elephants) is a songwriter who has been kind enough to lend me some inspiring low end. He plays many instruments, and he has been blessed with voice of a bird. Greene comes from the Shoals area of Alabama and brings with him a great tradition of musicianship and drunkenness. Alan Rosser (Cantus Gumbo/ Bob & the Vonnies) keeps me and everybody else grinning and sinning right on time...

In the past few years I have performed in the Birmingham area under various names and arrangements such as Cantus Gumbo, Mandi Rae & Westover Water, Druggs Bunny. Recently I have had the opportunity to lend my music to music to local non profits Hand in Paw (Picasso Pets/Bark for a Park) and Red Mountain Park (Red Mt Park Benefit), as well as a fundraiser for the first annual Birmingham Folk Festival (Speakeasy)


Nail in the Coffin

Written By: John Burke

I put a nail in the coffin
i threw the dirt on top
I stuck the secret in my pocket
wether you like it or not

I hear the new baby cryin
It's been growin all along
She's just as cute as the dickins
Knows the words to all my songs

She's never gettin tired and she never wants to go back home
She's the only thing in this world that just won't leave me alone

They've got them girls in the city
They're stayin out all night
Livin easy lookin pretty
As they orbit through the lights

She's got a hand in my pocket
I feel a finger on my brain
Well, if you're drunk I could top it
but right now i think we feel the same

Cause we're never gettin tired and we're never gonna go back home
Its the only thing in this world
we cant leave it alone

What i Like (about you)

Written By: John Burke

you're like a cannon ball
that's kicking down my door
You make me sing the blues
Thats what i like about you

You see me like a pet
You feed me cigarettes
You say you dig my tunes
Thats what i like about you

I see your smoking guns
Go on, cough it up
You love to stretch the truth
thats what i like about you

You say you pray for me
Hold it like the key
You swear you love me too
Thats what u like about you

Love has gone Away

Written By: John Burke

my love has gone away
when she'd call, she couldn't say
the opiate parade
has lead her head to the sunshine state
any wind could blow you
im gonna love you still
you say that i don't know you
i guess i never really will
i got high on you baby
i bled my heart out on your thigh
i kissed your face so gently
but still
you said

you should be here with me
instead youre thumbing through dixie
with your head in the stars like a satellite
i could be giving it to you
we could be lovers tonight
im having dreams that im with you
& i can't seem to drink you off my mind
yeah, i got high on you baby
i bled my heart out on your thigh
you swore its just the beginning
but still
you said goodbye

i don't think that you're ever gonna be all right
i'd still like to have you living by my side
so open up your arms and darlin let me in
cause its life through love or death through heroin

Lay me Low

Written By: John Burke

i had a dream that you laid me low
struck down where nobody goes
i had a dream that you laid me low
your Alabama heart
was beating black as coal
you gave me five shots
put one in my head
thats all it take
to make a poor boy dead
you drug me out
where the ancients lay
let the coyote and the sunshine
have their own way

you laid me low
for singing the blues
you laid me low
for loving her too
you laid me low
for having my way
ill be coming back to haunt you
one of these days

you said a prayer to save my soul
thew the dirt in my heathens hold washed your hands in the rivers night
im just one less sinner
come mornings' light
And left me there for a million moons
from my tears red roses bloomed
its not the sadness why i cry
its the beauty of the blood
dripping justice tonight

There's a line
drawn down in the sand
"dont't you cross it"
screams a southern man
foolish boy often thinks he can
he's got six aces in his deck
and four fingers to his hand

you cant cheat the lord
nor the way of the land
the reaper comes
reconstructs your karma
with the touch of his hands
long highway
story roll on

i had a dream that you laid me low
struck down where nobody goes
i had a dream that you laid me low
your alabama heart
was beating black as coal

Alabama Style

Written By: john burke

im in love with a girl
who's got no home

im in love with a girl
who ain't got no home
she's deaf and blind like a stone
been getting high on heroin
and cocain
It seems the world is to blame
I'd like to be what's in the needle pushing love up into her brain

She's got real good intentions
but she don't play by the rules
she ain't got what my mama's looking for
she never graduated from school
but she's got loving oh sweet loving
got that love that makes me feel so good

she bears the broken heart of dixie
she just a soul on the rise
tried to give her precious self away
but the good doctor went and saved her life
now she's doing her some healing
do some healing baby do it by my side

you see,
i'm trying to be your buddha baby
but i can see you walking on by
i don't think that this love
and undestanding
is gonna be what keeps you
long time by my side
ill be waiting on your whisper
getting stoned
and singing songs to the dog

let me tell ya
she got that jet black hair
like a spanish queen
eyes that twinkle diamond
i ain't never seen nowhere
half is Havannah
half is Dublin
mix it all up Alabama Style

She keeps me living Alabama Style
ya living Alabama Style
we're getting down
we're fuckin up
we're getting down and fucking up
but we've got love in this country
we got arms
and we can open them up wide

im in love with a girl
who's got no home


"The Broken Heart of Dixie" -soon to be released

Set List

I prefer to perform 1 or 2 sets around 45-90 minutes long (i can play all night if wanted). i play my original tunes, but sometimes i will cover artists like Muddy Waters, The Rolling Stones, the brothers Allman and Burrito, David Bowie, John Prine, Tom Petty, or whatever i may be listening to at the time.