What People Say About My Music
Thank you so much for performing at Dechen Ling's silent auction fundraiser, which actually was not-so-silent at times! One person came up to me who knew you and said "How did you get Gene Burnett?" I just smiled and said we had connections! Other people came up to me also and said we were very lucky to have you there. Yes, we were very fortunate. I realize that now after hearing you play. Your generous musical spirit contributed to making our fundraiser a truly joyful and harmonious occasion. Thanks again! We are very grateful.
Gene's music is a lot like this: combine the realism from a stanza of your favorite William Carlos Williams poem, chords that when played together sound like a meditative drone. Add to that vocals that are unforced, yet command your attention, and you have Gene Burnett, one of the most under-rated singer-songwriters in existence. Worth the listen
... and your loyalty.
Gene Burnett's music has this incredibly tangible "connective tissue" to it!! His songs "The Flame" and "No Pride Lost" really touched me this afternoon. I've listened to a LOT of his stuff, but hadn't heard these before...it felt like I was kinda led to them today. That has happened numerous times with his music for me. The energy is purely organic, streaming, and just so 'there'.
I have much respect and gratitude for the ways Gene helps shift people's thinking back into reality, helps people embrace ALL of life without hiding from the less than pleasant parts, brings laughter, tears and 'light-bulb moments', and so much more! Not to mention the "OH, I'm soooo glad it's not just me" moments that happen regularly as I listen to his music. :)
Gene, I personally want to thank you for your spirited nature and taking the stage and audience in hand with your music and heart. Your gift of song writing is obvious and the wisdom of your human nature, most apparent to me.
Though it was admittedly a slow start, we had many folks who came to the shop for the first time, who learned about Hospice and other support programs, a rather significant crowd by 4pm, and several who commented on your song with joy — "We're All Gonna Die"!
It was a blessing to have you sing and support the HUB!
Gene, I believe you could write prose just as simple, unpretentious and eloquent as the melodies you sing. You hear the music in words, and you hear the music in music. One is talent enough for most artists, but you have the power and the work-hard willingness to yoke fresh words and honest music together, and to filter it all through an eye that sparkles. Thanks for lifting the day. We owe you.
Gene’s music is like a metronome in my soul, the rhythm is constant and the body of work is soothing and passionate, I can adjust his music to whatever mood I may be in. Listening to his music is inspirational and I know that I’m doing something right. The first time I heard Gene I knew he was special and like a lot of artists it’s been a pleasure and honor to share the same space on a stage with him. God bless and my wish is to have the whole world experience www.GeneBurnett.com.
Gene's Burnett's music brings new meaning to "heartsong". In his musical expression lies the potential to cross the bridge to inner knowing, evolution, and surrender...to that place inside of all of us where we are living only for truth and love, releasing all the exterior shells that keep us from being present. Gene's voice fills me with warmth and a realism. His guitar playing carries me into fluid rhythms my body moves to. Together they create a full sound and there is a feeling that my heart is held safe and warm while listening to his music. Gene Burnett is my favorite singer/ songwriter in the Ashland area--I highly recommend his new CD "Where Will You Sleep Tonight". A truly rare treat!
Thanks for sharing (the Jump You Fuckers backstory)! I was wondering what the whole story was! I remember the first time I heard it was at the Goose, and you explained the inspiration for the song and the sign! So here we are today and that is the rest of the story. One of the things I like best about you Gene, is that you have a depth to your perspective that shines through your work. You are an artist that is in the moment, like many musical "poets" are. Only gained thru the perspective of many years do we appreciate how in the moment some famous pieces are. This is a rebellious folk song! Many people identify with the feelings expressed in the song and those feelings have only grown stronger in the time that has transpired between the time that you wrote it and now. Excellent work my friend! I like all your work because I look at it as pages or volumes that compose the whole set of works of Gene Burnett. It would be like only seeing one of the works of Shakespeare and judging all of his artistry from that. Incredibly diverse works illustrate depth of intellect! I also like your savvy, confident, sense of humor, intelligent man!
Tracy Miller Cohen
I recently drove to SF with your latest album playing in the car, my favorite songs being "I Am Your Tears" and "Rapunzel." I brought along with me another of your albums, "The Door in the Wall" because it contains what has to be my all-time favorite--"Your Wedding (I'm Not Coming To)." My sister and I were going to be meeting up with each other and I knew she'd want to hear it. I'm happy to learn that you've recorded so many more songs I haven't yet heard. You're a gifted songwriter and musician with a beautiful voice.
Gene Burnett's music: Great Lyrics (some of the best I've heard),
great voice, good solid tunes. My only suggestion is that he could
use bass on some (if not all) of his songs.
People who like music and pay attention will like Gene's songs. They're deep and soulful and sung with care. He has an impressive portfolio of intelligently crafted songs.
We are writing to THANK YOU for sharing your time and talent with us in the
Catalyst program. It was very entertaining and inspiring to hear you talk about
your songwriting journey. Please come back soon.
Evo's Coffee Lounge, Ashland OR, is filled with people. They huddle and talk in friendly easy morning voices. Gene Burnett begins with a few clear, light guitar notes which skip lightly into gentle strumming. His voice joins the guitar in clear and melodic conversation. The energy level rises in the room. Minds engage the music, the thoughts, and the friends.
Gene's lyrics are fun, interesting, introspective. His voice and guitar are a seamless union. The attentive crowd feels that unspoken confidence that swells when a musician plays with skill, authority and good humor. People really listen to Gene. As he plays people converse with the music and with each other. Gene's voice is clear and bright. He builds songs on structures of rambling folk, muddy blues, a little rockabilly and pop melodies. The songs spool out during his performance in a clever combination of strong and gentle, funny and moody, reflective and flip.
It's effortless to enjoy Gene's performance. The room breaks into applause. Applause. Applause.
PS: I am sitting here after listening to "Maybe Nothing's Wrong" and "Undiscovered" your two newest double CD's.
About Undiscovered: I think the title track is very epic. I mean, I feel like I'm listening to One Headlight or Tangled Up in Blue, or the one that sticks with people after years. So, well done. That said, I think there are some sweet songs along with this. Perhaps I appreciate your voice at this time in my life, or you are mastering this particular form that is particular to you alone. But I believe "Here Am I", "This Might Turn Out", "Start Right Now" and especially "Nothing Beats My Heart", are all very fine pieces of work. I especially enjoy "Nothing Beats My Heart". It's not just the lyric trick, although I appreciate that; what I appreciate most is the vision.
With Maybe Nothing's Wrong, I had a bit of shock with the first song I really felt hit me: "I Was Fooled (And It's All Your Fault)". I think this is one incredible song. I have heard you sing on this theme before, but never with such clarity, power and accuracy. I think this is truly a gem of a song. Dylan doesn't have anything like this, because he doesn't edit. I very much enjoyed this song. The experience of hearing it was visceral as well, and I had to repeat the song many times because I wanted to recapture the feeling. Again, from listener to artist, well done.
In addition to "I Was Fooled", I would add that I appreciated very much "Watch Her Drown" and "Start Pretending You Are Free". To me, these epitomize the artistic voice I have heard from you in the past, and for that reason I celebrated them, but I also celebrated them because they spur imagination. I walk away from these songs the way I walk away from a changing room in a top line clothing store: I've just tried on several fashionable, incredibly tasteful pieces of clothing and some of them fit and that was quite an experience. But I can also afford those insights, if you know what I mean.
And then you include these very sweet covers: "Twinkle, Twinkle" and "Red River Valley"; and although I would have attributed to you a love of Dylan, Paul McCartney and John Lennon, as well as Carol King and Alanis, and although I would have thought you appreciate the works of Tracy Chapman, I would now also believe you have some respect for Pete Seeger. I think "Twinkle, Twinkle" is really very nice. It's a more interesting nod to children, to me, than either "I Love Other People's Kids" or the Squirrel song of the past.
Thanks for the albums. I am putting together a Greatest Hits of Gene Burnett (Volume 9). I don't know who is putting together volumes 1 through 8, but I'm doing Volume 9. These songs will be my favorites; things I can listen to and enjoy more than I enjoy "Give Up" or "Rapunzel", the two classics against which, before this double-double album set you gave me, I used to measure all of your work.
I feel your music breaks tradition with the usual, predictable nature of songs that deal with love and relationships, and gives us a refreshing look into how we as individuals deny and deceive ourselves, making truly honest and healthy relationships difficult or destructive. Always with an undeniably upbeat style, songs about life, love and even heartbreak take on new and hopeful meaning. I've learned a lot about myself, and my potential as an individual to love and be loved, to hurt and grow, to shed tears and rejoice in my unique human nature.
Gene Burnett's songs have a natural fluidity to them. Their
movements are unavoidable, with melodies that stick in your head
and lyrics that sing with graceful maturity. He is a fine craftsman.
Okay, I've been thinking about how to sum up the effect that Gene's songwriting has had on me so far and I've come up with a couple ideas: First, listening to his recordings is like comfort food for the ears, heart, mind and spirit. Second, hearing him live around an Oregon Country Fair fire-pit was one of the best experiences I had in the summer of 2007.
Elizabeth Ann Cable
I find comfort in the tones of Gene's music. The well crafted melodies are very easy to listen to and the lyrics carry my attention through the song. With a warm, fullfilling delivery, in their unique but familiar way, Gene's songs are a great reflection for our relations with one another.
P.S. Your tunes mean so much more to me, thanks for being here in Ashland!
hey gene, i had told a friend of mine of your music; and of your site for she is a tai-chi-er and has been for decenia. she wanted to hear your music and had just bought a jeff buckley cd. i lent her my gene (door in the wall) and she me her jeff (great stuff). now, the thing is that she has traded your cd with me for her buckley. wow, he's great too. she very much wanted to keep your disc (i've another two or three). she spoke of the toss of the die: who is blessed, who is tamed? your songs resonate still. but so personal and so 'then': "i'm not coming to your wedding............!" wow, i caught up with your skewed relationship of the late 80's in a hurry and with a vengance. i hadn't contacted you for years and hearing that cd i caught up with you in a hurry, and in a very poetic way. and now we're clawing with our broken nails at fifty and fifty is just longing to swing open the doors. and we've had thirty-five years to prepareour entrance speach: "dear years of searching for words with to address you....you've probably already heard me singing. give answer."
I want to take this opportunity to say how much I have enjoyed hearing your CDs. You have a good sense of rhythm, your lyrics are touching, sometimes clever and witty, and moreover, you do justice to both in your own singing. Your talents deserve to be better known.
Gene is the most tender hearted cynic I've ever heard.
What can a mother say about her son's music? For me your songs have always been letters from your heart telling me everything I wanted to know, but was afraid to ask . And since you never were one to share a crisis in progress, your songs always gave me, and continue to give me, reassurance that you have overcome the pain in your life, have regained your balance, and are the wiser for it.
Gene knows how to touch the heart of a song and the heart of an audience. His lyrics and melodies are superbly crafted and always perfectly understated. So often I hear a Gene Burnett song and say, "Gees, I wish I had written that."
Rachael Jayne Groover
Gene Burnett is a hell of a gifted singer-songwriter. Every time I hear him sing his songs, I feel lucky that he lives around here. Gene sings colorful, sincere lyrics with a warm, tender voice over bright and catchy acoustic guitar melodies. His voice and guitar mix up cozy atmospheres that seem to either comfort me or charm me into sobbing in my dishwater. His songs are full of real-life graphic scenes of unrequited love, heart-burns, and genuine enduring love from one man's everyday life. Besides his music, Gene is full of interesting, off-beat and brilliant insights. His songs, and his insights, are often amusingly unexpected... and uniquely Gene.
As everyone knows, Burnett has long since "gone Hollywood." But before the coke-sniffing and the addiction to Dawson's Creek bit players; before the Johnny Depp incident (Burnett shows up at the Viper Lounge, drunk and dressed up in the inevitable "Black Monk" outfit he made briefly comme il faut among Santa Monica teens, raving about the death of River Phoenix and shouting "I can kick Depp's ass any day -- where is he?") -- this followed almost immediately by Burnett's Oscar Night mea culpa (which saw Burnett weeping in the ample bosom of an astonished Oprah Winfrey); before the infamous "self-pitying" Vanity Fair cover; before the onstage clash at Sundance with a haggard, exhausted James Taylor; before all this -- there was the "The Door in the Wall." And its burning brilliance cannot be extinguished by any amount of L.A. sell-out.
But seriously, "The Door in the Wall" was my favorite CD for at least three months. If it were vinyl, I'd need three copies, because two of them would have worn out. The songs on this CD will first break your heart and then put it together again--or at least they did for me.
Intelligent and challenging lyrics, good guitar hooks and a seductive voice distinguish Gene Burnett's latest CD, WHERE WILL YOU SLEEP TONIGHT? While all the songs are original and compelling, the haunting and tender "Beauty is a Borrowed Thing" is my favorite. I bought extras to give as gifts.
Gene's self-revealing, honest songwriting softly ushers the listener into his own introspective journey. Bouyed by the lyrics and the thoughtful tones, one is free (and compelled) to explore one's own experience...often with self-revelation that is the stuff of the songs.
Genes music is always musical. Never sacrificing beauty and
musicality in order to "say something", political or otherwise. His
guitar playing does not take my attention away from his singing or
his lyrics and his lyrics do not distract me from his guitar playing.
It all flows together as one musical statement which is, in the case
of his music, quite beautiful to listen to.
I first heard Gene Burnett singing at an open mic in Seattle in 1986. With his soothing sad voice, open guitar tunings, artful lyrics, and singular presence he stood head and shoulders above other songwriters in the room. There was a touch of musical genius in him, and his songs struck a mysterious chord in me.
Whenever Gene came offstage people crowded around asking for a tape of this or that song, but he had nothing available at the time. Using my amateur recording gear we spent one long hot summer night recording 25 songs in the hallway of his small apartment. Although Gene was just returning to performing after a long hiatus, most of the songs he recorded that night were flawless first takes. That first production gave me a glimpse of how he worked--and what it would take to keep pace with him.
So began a 10-year musical adventure which evolved into the acoustic duo “Gene Burnett & Victor Cummings.” Starting with Victory Music open mics we went on to play coffeehouses, colleges, festivals, and concerts around the Northwest until 1996. Gene’s prolific songwriting during that period yielded a duo album PLUS a solo album almost every year!
In spite of Gene’s ambivalance about the music business I was determined to help bring his music to wider audiences, but ultimately fell short of landing the requisite recording deal. We had a small but loyal audience and a measure of local success, but mostly we had fun making great harmony and a solid string of independent recordings together.
Gene once told me that he writes songs like an archer shoots an arrow: Take aim and let it fly, some hit the mark and some don’t. Never seemed to spend much time rewriting--he'd just reach for the next arrow and shoot again. As a master of his form, he has hit his mark many times, and there are dozens of songs (from hundreds he has written) which ring beautifully true through the years.
Songs which seduce the ear with catchy melodies and rhythmic grooves, but on closer listening are expressions of an examined life: World-wise, playful, sad, inspired, sensuous, angry, funny, compassionate, deep.....the many facets of a powerful songwriter and mentor I’ve loved and learned from for twenty years.
How I wish I could fly out to Oregon to your concert. I have Victor Cummings beat by about 20 years (or more) as a big fan of yours. I think you were a young teen-ager when you did your first "gig" in my living room for a party of mine. (I have pictures) I am sure I asked you to sing "Moon River". I knew you were gifted then but it was only after I heard you do your own music on CDs that I realized how gifted. Your songs have such sweet open honesty to them, nothing obscure about their meaning.
You are indeed a poet and I am happy to know you wrote a bit
of your poetry down. Some of your words I have used in counseling
folks; "You keep telling it like it is, I keep hearing it like it was" for
example. Through your music you have shared your life and its
Bless you and keep
I've been listening to Gene's musical talents for at least 15+ years - his creativity, voice, guitar accompaniment, and heartfelt messages, all come together to form a message. At times it feels raw and yet, he always ads his charm and wit to each piece. He hits the musical mark, and voice of the times, everytime.
Additionally, I have played his music in an adult fitness class I instruct, and the response is always favorable - nicely enjoyed by all.
Gene is highly talented, intellectually gifted, and his heart, which is expressed in his music, is always giving and touching.
Gene goes into a trance when he plays. It puts him on such solid ground inside himself that the delivery of the guitar and the voice and the story and the emotion of the song is so steady and strong that it takes you into that trance too, into the place where the song was born. It's a beautiful thing.
Your music has the emotional power to penetrate the heart, as well as the intellectual power to penetrate the mind, and in so doing, teach. I like the way you write about your experiences, and offer them up as a kind of psychic mirror to anybody who may have had, or might soon have, a similar experience. Your music does what art-at its highest level-is supposed to do: connect people to that which is truthful and valuable in the human experience. There's nothing too whiny or narcissistic about your love songs, which is a testament to your talent, sensitivity and musical craftsmanship.
Your music has meant a lot to me, particularly during this current phase of my life, in which I have been learning to sit with my emotions without reacting to them. As I have sat with feelings of longing and sadness, through sensations of invisibility and ugliness, through desire and loss, hope and doubt, hatred, mistrust, love, tenderness, confusion and peace, your music has been there like a guide; a voice of wisdom, a whisper of truth. Even a balm. You and Bruce Cockburn-though more Bruce than you I'm afraid (he is after all as close to being a musical god as I will ever allow)-have played an interesting role in what has amounted to an unanticipated internal occurrence: this gradual, though distinctive, opening of my heart.
I met Gene in Seattle, where he had me play bass on "Time of Wonder". He kept asking me for that "glorpy" fretless bass sound. Although I still have no idea what glorpy means, I seem to have nailed it -- he released the album and we remained friends! Gene is a prolific songwriter, who shamelessly speaks his truth with a beautiful voice and guitar sound.
Gene's music is lyrical, tender, wise, sincere, letters home from the heart's battlefield. I like to give his CD's as gifts, especially to friends coming out of relationships, because I know that they will soon come upon a song that expresses either where they are or where they need to go. I find that my friends become addicted and play the discs to death. The only reason that Gene isn't a household name is that he has rarely played with a drummer and he dislikes truck-stop food.
Aside from completely enjoying Gene's quality music in and of itself, while listening to it over and over I've learned to be more obvious and efficient about revealing my emotions to myself. I like it when I can learn something like this from a collection of songs; that someone's expressive process of finding their truth can lead me to mine.
I first met Gene in about 1985 in Seattle. He was playing his guitar in the back of a small clothing shop he worked in and we struck up a friendship that has lasted until the present day. We had much in common, having played in the same clubs in Chicago. I became a fan of his music which was simple and elegant pop with soul and a resonant and clear singing voice. He was my soundtrack during some rocky romantic times. I found his musical voice was like an encouraging friend, plus the hooks were catchy.
Gene Burnett's music touches to the core of human experience. Gene's songs are deep, soft, powerful and hopeful. He is a musician and artist of masterful proportions in every way. Immerse yourself in the power of his imagery and you will emerge a changed person. Gene is a gem.
I had cassettes of Gene Burnett's music years ago, from back in the
days he played in Seattle. I listened to them so much that I literally
wore them out. I was so pleased, then, to stumble on his web site
and find CD versions of those old cassettes plus get the chance to
hear the music he's done more recently. His music touches both
the heart and the mind...and, as I have found, his catchy tunes and
smart lyrics stay with you a long time after the songs are over.
Getting to know Gene personally was a similar experience: often uncomfortable, continually challenging me to connect with deeper parts of myself.
I like to compare how I felt about his music 14 years ago to how I feel listening to it now. I feel how much more comfortable I am with myself and the complexities and contradictions of life.
I admire Gene for including so much in his music, so much mystery, struggle, irony, beauty, tenderness and above all an extraordinary embrace of acceptance. As his wife I know this acceptance is not just the rational position of a clever mind, but something hard won, and genuine.