Mike Burris and his band will pull into Offbeat Roadhouse Friday night, March 4, for a concert which will also be broadcast on WTJU.
This is a free event, open to all. Masks are required for all attendees. You can also listen to Offbeat Roadhouse on the radio (91.1 FM) or on-line, and even video stream it at WTJU’s Facebook page or YouTube channel. But concerts always sound better with you as part of the studio audience. WTJU is located at 2244 Ivy Rd in Charlottesville, right next door to Vivace. There is plenty of parking, both in our lot as well as the Sentara lot next door.
In his debut album, Goodbye Town, singer-songwriter Mike Burris explores what it means to have lived a full life, replete with sorrows and joys, and to know that some of his best days are still to come. Written over the course of two decades, these reflective songs study familiar themes like difficult love (“Enough of That”) and loss (“Letting You Go”), and they swirl with notions of restlessness (“Dead End Things”) and place (“Familiar Ground” and “Goodbye Town”). But wisdom wins the day on this record, as the album arcs toward feelings of contentment (“Satisfied”) and finding one’s emotional center (“Long Life”).
Despite its decades-long incubation period, Goodbye Town is a product of the moment. Early in the COVID pandemic, when most musicians found themselves without work, Burris – now 50 – reached out to legendary producer and guitar player David Grissom (Buddy Guy, John Mellencamp, Storyville, The Allman Brothers Band) for feedback on his original songs. This sparked a creative partnership, resulting the co-creation of many of the songs found on Goodbye Town. In the fall of 2021, Burris traveled to Austin, Texas, where Goodbye Town was recorded at the famed Arlyn Studios (Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, Neil Young, Les Paul).
“We work really well together,” says Burris. “David is hardworking and talented, but more than anything he’s a great listener. He has this uncanny ability to hear a version of a song and mold it until it’s reached its full potential.”
The record was engineered by Chris Bell (Eagles, Jim Lauderdale) and features Michael Ramos on keys, Glenn Fukunaga on bass, and Brannen Temple on drums and percussion.
“I couldn’t be happier with the team we assembled,” says Burris. “From the album’s production quality to the individual players’ unique contributions, the project definitely surpassed any expectations I had going into it.”
The album’s material comes from Burris’ lived experience, and a personal, introspective voice drives the songs.
“Most artists don’t wait until they’re 50 to put out their first album,” says Burris, “but my writing process is very slow. I wait for an idea, and then I spend a long time crafting. Plus, I’ve spent much of the last two decades raising my two daughters, and working regular 9 to 5 jobs to support them.”
Goodbye Town might be Burris’ first album, but it won’t be his last.
“I’m thrilled with how this album turned out, and I feel like I’ve made something that can last,” says Burris. “But I also feel like I’m starting a new chapter in my life, one that’s wiser and more open to possibility and beauty, so I’m excited to write new material and see where it takes me.”
Burris lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he performs regularly. Goodbye Town appears on all the major streaming platforms.