Big Joe Burke
In an era when many country-influenced singers all seem to have voices cloned from a single source, you will never think that about B.C. artist Big Joe Burke.
Burke has a vocal style that sort of makes me think he has a couple of marbles gloating around his vocal chords. It’s that sort of throaty sound which stands out.
It’s also a good fit for the type of music Burke offers up. I like where Burke’s Myspace site suggests his style is “where Hank Williams meets Elvis Presley,” tagging his musical style as country / Americana / rockabilly. That is a pretty accurate self-description.
Now I have never been a big fan of Elvis, but Hank is a different story, and I can certainly hear influences from both on the music here.
The song Rolling Back the Stone for one could be a Williams’ song.
The disk has 13 songs, and Burke does pen the majority. When he goes out to do a cover cut, he picks off some of the best songwriters in the business — ever.
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right is a Bob Dylan cut, Oh Darling is from the team of Lennon/McCartney, Sundown is a Gordon Lightfoot classic and Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down is from the great Merle Haggard.
With songs from such writing legends on the disk, Burke ran the risk his own songs might not measure up. In some cases he falters a bit on that level, a song such as Home Sweet Home isn’t quite there for me. However, other cuts, such as Car Lights, holds up well. In fact it is arguably the best song on the entire CD.
I should add I love Lightfoot’s Sundown song, and while the originator does it better, Burke does give it a credible cover effort.
Quiver is Burke’s sophomore effort a follow-up to his 2006 release Love or Money.
This is music for lovers of that sort of 1950’s rockabilly twang country. If that is something you enjoy, then Quiver is a good choice.
Check it out at www.bigjoeburke.com
— CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Jan 20, 2010 - Yorkton, SK. Canada