Luke Burkhardt Writes & Delivers Debut Album — ‘Postcard’
Release Party to be Held Tonight at Matt’s Tiger Pub in Shadyside
An album release party will be held at Matt’s Tiger Pub in Shadyside, starting at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, April 23. Brad Gibson will open the show at 8 p.m.
The process to create this album began about eight months ago.
“I was traveling down to Bridgeport, W.Va. pretty regularly during the early stages. I was fortunate to have some amazing musicians agree to play on the record. But, that does take time when they’re located in the likes of Austin, Texas and Los Angelas, California,” said Burkhardt. “The mastering was then done in Nashville. Not to mention, I’m quite particular and took a lot of time to dissect the mixes before I gave the OK on mastering. “Zach McCord from Bridgeport, W.Va. did the recording, producing and mixing. Gerrod Bee and Aaron Regester on bass and drums are both from Clarksburg, W.Va. area. They both play and tour with The Davisson Brothers Band. Simon Page from Austin, Texas is the lead/pedal steel guitar on all tracks. He plays for and tours with one of my favorite musicians, David Ramirez. Then Willow Stephens did background vocals on all tracks. She lives in Los Angelas and just released an EP of her a couple of weeks ago. I still can’t believe the talent we were able to acquire for this record. The record was mastered by Sam Moses at Moses Mastering in Nashville.”
Burkhardt wrote all of the songs on this record, “Postcard.” He worked on a few of the songs over a number of years.
“I’m quite proud of all the songs and how they turned out on the record. A couple of the songs on the record date back to probably seven or eight years. Then, there are a couple I just finished before starting the recording process. I chose which songs I recorded simply by asking myself, ‘If I only do this one time, which songs do I have to have on this record?’ I was able to narrow it down to seven songs,” Burkhardt said. “The songwriting aspect is something I take quite seriously. Relatively speaking, I try to hold myself to a higher standard. No one can critique me worse than I critique myself. So, if I find them to be good, then that’s all that truly matters. I try and use words, phrases or stories to which people can relate and actually feel. I don’t have interest in the same cliche, empty songs about High School or jacked-up trucks.”
Burkhardt described his sound as “Americana with elements of country.” He said he feels that as a singer-songwriter, there are alternative and folk components to his lyrics and music.
He said that when people ask him “what kind of music do you play,” it’s never a very simple answer. Though his musical influences are broad.
“It’s nearly impossible to name all of the musicians and writers who I find influencing. I fell in love with Waylon Jennings and writers like Kris Krisofferson. I then recall going down the ‘country music legend’ rabbit hole where I found people like Shooter Jennings and Hank III. These folks eventually lead me to a lot of what I listen to and am influenced by today. People like John Moreland, Ruston Kelly, Chris Knight, Margo Price, Justin Townes Earle, Jason Isbell, David Ramirez, Waylon Payne, Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers are some of the folks I’d consider to be significant influences of my musical tastes.
“My mother’s side of the family has a really long music lineage. My grandmother was an amazing keyboard, organ and accordion player while never learning to read a single note of music. My uncles all essentially taught themselves guitar and many of them played in bands growing up and well into adulthood. But, music was never a passion of mine during my youth. I truly started to care about music in a more meaningful way in my early 20s. I started expanding my music tastes and stumbled upon some artists and songwriters that really impacted how I felt about music. I remember hearing the acoustic version of ‘Alabama’ by the band Cross Canadian Ragweed and their singer Cody Canada,” Burkhardt said. “For some reason I immediately became obsessed with the idea of playing that song on an acoustic guitar. So, I borrowed a friend’s guitar and was shown four different chords by another friend. I spent the last year or so of college, when not at class, locked in my room trying to learn to play guitar. I eventually learned that song and been self-taught on everything I’ve done musically since that time.”
Burkhardt has been public performing for about 10 years. A friend’s dad, who owned the Buzz Inn in Shadyside, persuaded him to plug into the dusty PA system in the back corner. Burkhardt started to play there on Wednesday nights.
“My friend, Josh Carpenter, coerced me into starting to play in public at the Buzz Inn on Wednesday nights about 10 years ago. Mainly through the proposition of free drinks and making a fool of myself. There’s absolutely no chance I ever played or sang a note in public otherwise. But, now I can look back and be extremely grateful for his urging.”
Over the next few years, Burkhardt began performing regularly in the Ohio Valley.
“With my previous job, I could self-schedule and work it out to play multiple nights a week. I really lost a passion for playing after about five or so years of doing it regularly. I did the whole ‘pandering to the audience’ thing while not actually liking the songs I was playing, and it just wasn’t fun anymore,” Burkhardt said. “About three years ago, I regained an interest in playing and writing music. Since then, I’ve been back out playing regularly and performing the songs that I want to perform. The reception of my music in the area over the last few years has been amazing, which gives me a lot more confidence in doing a lot of original material now.
“So that’s what I do, and it’s also a lot more fun and rewarding. Not what, but who made me start to perform. Like I said, it’s hard for me to imagine people being more self conscious than me in terms of performing in front of actual humans. I’m not really the guy at the party who runs and grabs their guitar when ‘Wonderwall’ plays to show off my ‘skills.’ My wife of eight years and I had been dating for, I think, at least a couple of years before she even knew I owned a guitar.”