Wink Burcham
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Wink Burcham

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | INDIE

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2004
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter

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"Finally at Home"

Finally at Home
Wink Burcham's studio debut finally appears

BY G.K. HIZER


When Wink Burcham released his live disc, A Night at the Colony, last year, he admitted it was essentially released to buy time while finishing up his pending studio album, which has already logged a year in the making. Considering the fact that Burcham is known as much for his frequent live appearances as his songwriting, it was more than befitting the situation and kept fans happy while he was able to put finishing touches on his studio album.

At the time, Burcham shared that he was hoping for a late summer release, but things never go a planned. The disc is finally complete, however, and May seems the perfect time for a release, allowing him to push the disc this summer with frequent gigs in Tulsa and a schedule that's beginning to take him outside his immediate surroundings.

Entitled Irene Vennie, the disc is the perfect portrait of Burcham at his best. As could be expected, there is a bit of overlap with A Night at the Colony. Five songs that appeared on the disc show up again here: "Outta This Town (Get Lost)", "Gon' Lay You Down", "Shadows", "How It Really Went Down" and "Pay Your Dues to Sing the Blues." While those songs fit well with the live disc and its easy going approach, they all benefit from a proper treatment here, getting a little extra attention in the studio and stripping away all the crowd noise so you can focus on the songs.

This might be most apparent on "Shadows." Although the live delivery doesn't stray far on the previous recording, the song draws you in even more when you're not distracted by audience noise and the clinking of glasses. The addition of Jeff Coleman's tasteful lap steel adds a whole new layer to the song, drawing the country and blues aspect out of the song more than ever before.

What really comes to light with the studio recordings, however, is Burcham's old soul. In a live setting, Burcham is always entertaining as he draws from folk, blues and classic rock. On these recordings, however, his songs rise to the top and the band draws something special out of him. Instead of just another guy playing at the bar with a broad catalog to choose from, Burcham sounds like he's been transported from the mid-'70s and the original Tulsa Sound movement.



Dues Paid. Catch Wink Burcham at Fassler Hall, 304 S. Elgin Ave. Friday, May 12.

These tracks were originally recorded at The Church Studios in 2010 with a core backing band of Eric Arndt on bass and Paddy Ryan on drums. From there, additional layers were added as the songs called for them, with contributions from Cody Clinton, Jeff Coleman, Jesse Aycock and Chris Kyle, among others. The end result not only builds up Burcham's songs, but also feeds what comes across as a sense of community within the music, not unlike the original Tulsa sound movement.

What makes this album so interesting is the fact that these recordings make Burcham sound completely at home in the studio, which runs almost polar opposite from the discussions we had around his live release last year. At that time he revealed that he had studio recordings sitting on his shelf that are now almost 10 years old. As hard as he had tried, he could never come away with something he was satisfied with.

Ultimately, he said "I've learned that you just can't rush it in the studio -- You've got to just let it happen. I've just figured that out over the last two years and I still don't have it figured out."

"The problem with the studio is, the longer you sit on it, the more unhappy you become with it," he explained. "There's always something else you want to change or make better, but you need to finally just put your stamp on it and get it out there."

With Irene Vennie, Wink Burcham his finally put his stamp on Tulsa's local music scene. The disc is an eclectic blend, much like Burcham himself. Fans that prefer his stripped back and acoustic approach have plenty to be happy with here, especially with the sterling version of "Shadows" and the more expansive "We'll Go Dancin' Home" which includes Jesse Aycock on resonator guitar, giving the song and even swampier tone.

Personally, I've always preferred Burcham in a more fleshed out and funky mode with a full band, and that's covered here as well with "How It Really Went Down" and "Pay Your Dues to Sing the Blues."

With repeated listens, however, it's the subtleties of the disc that make it such a success. Chris Kyle's Wurltzer lines swirl in the background without drawing added attention and everyone finds their place within each song.

Upon repeated listens, the songs that really stand out on the disc are "No Matter Where You Are (There You Are)" and "Honkytonk Heroe - Urban Tulsa Weekly - Gary Hizer


"Irene Vennie by Wink Burcham"

Ahhh, Wink. He'd probably never admit it, but behind the trucker hat, the overalls and the big bushy beard and shaggy hair, the man exudes cool in an unnoticeable, skewed-from-the-cool-norm sort of way. His music does all the talking. He's a storyteller, and his music tells really, really good stories.
~ Michael Canter, Jivewired Radio



Release Date: 08-May-2012
Genre: Blues / Folk / Rock
Publisher: [c] 2012 Wink Burcham
Label: Horton Records
Time: 48m 04s
Review Date: 15-May-2012
Format: CD
Jivewired Digital Press Kit: Not currently a member of Jivewired



Get it at:

Horton Records | iTunes | Amazon

Track Listing:

01. Crusin' Down The Road Feelin' Fine 4:31
02. Outta This Town (Get Lost) 3:15
03. Liquor Store 4:02
04. Gon' Lay You Down 4:12
05. One By One 3:52
06. Shadows 3:12
07. How It Really Went Down 4:32
08. No Matter Where You Are (There You Are) 4:32
09. The Good Ones 4:41
10. Pay Your Dues To Sing The Blues 3:55
11. Honky Tonk Heroes 3:29
12. We'll Go Dancin' Home 3:51

Review:

On his debut full-length LP Irene Vennie, Wink Burcham offers up an incomparable blend of blues, rock and country that should garner the Tusla, OK native the industry accolades that usually come with a more veteran recording resume. Burcham tears it up in properly bluesy fashion throughout, blending a down-home, acoustic-based country tinge that is absolutely palpable in substance. At times you can almost feel Wink's nimble fingers elegantly dance across the strings of his guitar, instinctively directing the flow of the music.

The dynamic at play here is truly amazing. In saying that I mean, for instance, that Wink Burcham had gone into the studio likely knowing exactly what he was going to record and how he was going to record, as do most musicians. But discerning listeners may perceive that Wink doesn't always color between the lines so to speak. Every once in a while you'll hear something slightly recondite in this recording, as if Wink discovers a new lick or a forgotten chord in the midst of the recording and just runs with it. But it's always subtle, and usually quite quick, a slight chord improvisation or break from tempo for instance. That is where Wink Burcham is at his best, when he's not tied to the original structure of the melody or limited to the constraints of a prepared arrangement.

Take for instance the song Gon' Lay You Down, a slightly funky, blues and new folk masterpiece that grinds it out for three-plus minutes before the big finish kicks in. There's a guitar lick at 3:29 right before that big finish that absolutely freezes the listener. Simple, but knee-buckling, and signature Wink Burcham. It's not flashy, but it's genuine and reliable and feels like home. Just like Tulsa.

As a listener, it's fun to look for the subtleties. They'll almost always catch you off guard and they will almost always be jaw-dropping in nature , forcing you to do a double take. Wink manages to parlay this particular studio recording into a seemingly live performance vibe that adds to the enjoyment of listening. Put your high fidelity system outdoors, invite a bunch of friends over for drinks and food, put Irene Vennie on just before dusk, and you'll swear Wink Burcham is performing in person at your backyard soiree.

Wink is a story-teller, and he tells exceptional stories. Liquor Store is a great example. As soon as I heard it, I knew Jesse Aycock was accompanying on the pedal steel, and his inclusion gives Liquor Store a truly cool feel. It's a brooding, deeply structured song, but it stands out because the music and the lyrics are equally descriptive. When you compare storytellers of the genre, you immediately look to the greats -- Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt and John Prine immediately come to mind. Liquor Store is conceptually similar and Wink holds his own here. I abhor comparisons, and Wink Burcham is unique in his own right, enough so that the comparisons are unnecessary, though they are accurate and at least give the new listener a starting point.

Cruisin' Down The Road Feelin' Fine and No Matter Where You Are (There You Are) are also great examples of Wink Burcham's inherent ability to tell a story through his music. There is a joy to songwriting and song structure for Burcham that is evident in these two songs. Both wrap amiable arms around you over the bedrock of toe-tapping rhythms. Wink is, as usual, as playful with the music as he is with the lyrics, getting a little more funky on the lead song and a little more blues-country on the latter. The piano/guitar interplay on the introduction of No Matter Where You Are (There You Are) is really charming. It's almost turn-of-the-century old-timey in nature and a nice change of pace.

Honky Tonk Heroes, featuring co-vocal accompaniment by Desi Roses, offers an insistent, mouth-wat - Jivewired


"Comfortable Shoes - An Acoustic Album by Wink Burcham"

"If Burcham can manage to capture the magic of his live performances in the studio, that shouldn't be much of an issue. After all, his songs flow so naturally, it's like he's always playing in the pocket and enjoying his comfort zone. Once everyone else settles in there with him, the rest will take care of itself."
-- Urban Tulsa



Release Date: 17-April-2013
Genre: Blues / Folk / Acoustic
Location: Tulsa, OK
Publisher: [p][c] 2013 Wink Burcham
Label/Distribution: Horton Records
Total Time: 58m 20s
Review Date: 23-June-2013
Review Format: CD
Bit Rate: N/A
For Fans Of: J.J. Cale, Catfish Keith, John Prine
Songs In Jivewired Radio Rotation: Lay Your Burden Down, Wherever You Are (There You Are)
Best Songs: Lay Your Burden Down, Wherever You Are (There You Are), Chemical Train
Best of the Rest: Son Of A Travelin' Man (My Old Man), The Good Ones
Previous Jivewired Review: Irene Vennie
Jivewired Digital One Sheet: http://www.jivewired.com/winkburcham



Purchase: iTunes | CD Baby
Stream: Rhapsody

Track Listing:

Back Row Woman 3:25
Chemical Train 4:16
The Good Ones 5:38
Lay Your Burden Down 3:41
Son Of A Travelin' Man (My Old Man) 6:00
How It Really Went Down 5:50
We'll Go Dancin' Home 4:16
Cowboy Heroes And Old Folk Songs 3:24
Please Wake Me In The Morning 5:04
Liquor Store 4:29
Lonesome Tune 2:50
No Matter Where You Are (There You Are) 4:27

Review:

"About a year ago Wink Burcham came over to Desi and I's spread here in Oologah Oklahoma to record a song called 'Cowboy Heroes and Old Folk Songs' for a documentary. It went pretty well so I suggested, 'Hey why don't you come back and record a bunch of your songs this way?' We recorded them in my humble home studio, live, with just two mics and an old creaky chair (which you can sometimes hear in the recordings)." -- Cody Clinton [co-producer of this album].

A slight respite from the usual Wink Burcham, one of the driving forces and a vanguard performer of Tulsa's thriving music scene, Comfortable Shoes offers up some home style Wink in an even more stripped down version of his usual stripped down output of blues and folk. As Cody Clinton stated, it's nothing more than two microphones and an old creaky chair, and Wink's wonderful finger-picking acoustic guitar playing. If you've seen Wink Burcham perform live, then call Cody's living room the perfect studio setting.

If you dig your acoustic blues steeped in self-reflection and introspection, then this album is for you. Burcham expertly works the story lines on this LP, and what this album lacks in excitement, Wink makes up for one hundred fold in truth and beauty. The songs Son Of A Travelin' Man (My Old Man), Chemical Trail and The Good Ones are perfect examples, worn and rugged as the stories with which Burcham regales us. Wink wears his heart on his sleeve, but it his soul that is exposed as well, a side of Wink that makes this album that much more heartfelt and much more endearing. Wink Burcham, with an assist to Cody Clinton on production, has captured a wonderful essence here, like a gathering of old friends catching up and swapping life stories over a rock of aged bourbon. But maybe we're more than friends - perhaps Wink, Cody and you [the listener] are more like kindred spirits, because that's how Wink Burcham makes us feel as we listen in on what he's offering in verse and melody.

Make no mistake, however, not all of Comfortable Shoes is solemnly deep. Burcham reveals a more playful side on three of the better songs on this album, Lay Your Burden Down, No Matter Where You Are (There You Are) and Back Row Woman. Burcham does well not to over compensate however - this is roots music afterall - so there is still plenty of grit and dirt and pure Americana to the story lines on the more upbeat songs, too. And, as you could have easily guessed, a living room recording is 100% natural in sound, an element in which Wink Burcham flat out owns.

All of which makes Comfortable Shoes a cool, comfortable Wink Burcham ride. It's a perfect lazy summer guilty pleasure, an excuse to get outside and do nothing that entails any more work than hitting the hammock, sipping a cool beverage and listening to this record in your own shady oasis. Give the storyteller kudos here - this LP is pure Americana blues and folk at it's Tulsa finest. Laggard and haggard, Wink relates to everything we look forward to in our weekends and this album genuinely reflects that attitude. It feels that good, just like a pair of your favorite, broken in and worn out comfortable shoes.

About Wink Burcham:



Singer/songwriter, Wink Burcham, has been playing the Tulsa music scene for over five years, and is an integral part of the “New Tulsa Sound.” He has developed a very loyal following in Tulsa and Northwest Arkansas. Performing a style that - Jivewired


Discography

2010 - The New Tulsa Sound Vol. 1
2011 - A Night at The Colony
2012 - Irene Vennie
2012 - The New Tulsa Sound Vol 2
2013 - Comfortable Shoes

http://www.jivewired.com/winkburcham

Photos

Bio

Singer/songwriter, Wink Burcham, has been playing the Tulsa music scene for a number of years, and is an integral part of the “New Tulsa Sound.” He has developed a very loyal following in the region and is beginning to step out on a national scale. Performing a style that easily slips between old-fashioned country, grass-roots folk, and Motown inspired blues, it's easy to understand his appeal. His soulful melodies support witty and heartfelt lyrics in the tradition of John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams, and John Lee Hooker.

Wink can be described as an “old soul” and his song craft belies his age. With a genuine reverence to the past, these songs are the stories of his life. The album title, “Irene Vennie”, is taken from his grandmother’s name. The cover art finds him sitting in his grandmother’s chair in his own yard.

Wink won the 2012 Blues Society of Tulsa best solo/duo act and was a semi-finalist at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN in 2013. Wink's new release, "Comfortable Shoes", is a 2-track analog recording of just Wink and his guitar, available on CD and limited whiskey-colored vinyl on Horton Records.  A European tour in the Spring 2014 created quite a buzz, including sold out shows at Paradiso, Amsterdam with Pokey LaFarge and Eindhoven with Dan Bern.  

Band Members