First Fleet Concerts presents
Randy Burk & The Prisoners
504 E. Locust St,
Des Moines, IA, 50309
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 16 and over
Logan Mize weaves yarn with equal measures elegance ("Sunflowers") and energy ("I Remember Everything"). Evidence: The Music City resident's buoyant Nobody in Nashville. Mize's fiery new collection backs earthy ("Good Life") and ethereal narratives ("The State of Your Heart") and with richly detailed storytelling ("Hey Carolina"). At peaks, the 26-year-old balances heartache ("High-N-Dry") and hope ("Rock and Roll Band") with insightful wisdom gained through personal experience. "I got married about a year and a half ago," Mize says. "So, pre-marriage heartbreak songs and post-marriage happy songs are mixed together. I wanted them to have a timeless feel."
The rapidly rising songwriter undoubtedly has succeeded. Nobody in Nashville fuels both punchy country ("I Give In") and raw rock and roll ("Ball and Chain") with an intangible everyman appeal. "Logan has that great gift of authenticity," says Daniel Tashian, who co-wrote four songs and co-produced the new album (due March 13). "Like those poets of the heartland that came before him – Dylan, Petty, Mellencamp – his images are real and hard-won. He's not making up words; these are the pictures of his life." One legend particularly helps the Kansas native craft his singular story.
"Tom Petty's my favorite songwriter both melodically and lyrically," Mize admits. "There's a lot of times I'm listening to Echo or the Wildflowers record and go, 'I want something that sounds like that.' So, I pull from places like that, but I definitely don't want to try to think about anybody else when I'm writing. I want to pull straight from my own head. I keep it my own for sure." His mission statement emerges in the seamless title track. "I'm just three chords and twelve hundred miles," he sings defiantly as mushrooming drums and spiky guitars punctuate his point, "from telling the whole world the honest truth."
Mize's lofty aim pays high dividends: The singer-songwriter has shared stages with boldfaced names like Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, The Band Perry, Billy Currington, Pat Green, Stoney LaRue and the Charlie Daniels Band. In fact, his high-octane live show, infectious melodies and distinctive vocals have turned heads throughout Nashville and beyond. "You know it's Logan on a song," says celebrated songwriter Liz Rose (Taylor Swift's Grammy-winning "White Horse"), who co-wrote "I Remember Everything" with Mize and Tashian. "Nobody sounds like him, so real and so much grit!" Bucky Covington was so taken by Mize's song "Mexicoma" that he recorded it on his album Live from Rockingham and frequently anchors shows around the boozy border travelogue.
Mize takes such achievements in even stride. He's far more concerned about more artistically fulfilling goals. "Oh, sure, it'd be great to get a Tim McGraw cut," says the staff writer for Nashville powerhouse Big Yellow Dog. "But I just want to write good songs and I hope people like them. I like to paint a picture that's easy to look at and is just something that feels good and has vivid imagery." Stellar song craft runs deep in his blood: Logan counts Billy Mize, longtime Merle Haggard steel guitarist and pioneer of the Bakersfield sound, as kin. The connection once landed him onstage before The Hag himself. "They called me to come out and play a couple songs at my uncle Billy's 80th birthday party at Buck Owens Crystal Palace in Bakersfield," Logan Mize recalls. "I was getting ready to go up and play and there was this interview playing with Haggard talking about Billy Mize's songwriting. He said that his favorite Billy Mize song was called 'Who Will Buy the Wine' and that's the song I had to play. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Afterward, Haggard gave me the nod like, 'You don't suck that bad.'"
Randy Burk & The Prisoners
Steeped in the rich tradition of Americana artists before him like Steve Earle, Johnny Cash and Dave Alvin, Randy Burk creates music that is at once exciting and familiar, honest and soulful, fearless and introspective.
Wrought with Midwestern sensibility and a blue-collar work ethic, Burk's affinity for songs about love, life and pain can be traced to his small-town Iowa roots. Born and raised in Atlantic, Iowa, Burk spent much of his youth singing in the church and listening to his father's collection of Elvis Presley 8 tracks.
After graduating from high school, Burk moved to Springfield, Missouri to work for his father's steel company as a laborer. For the next six years, he would frame steel buildings by day and build the foundation for his music career by night toiling in bars and roadhouses with country and rock bands. In between burning both ends of the candle, he would write songs and practice his guitar playing.
Though Burk was building a grassroots following in the Midwest, he knew he had more to give and more to learn. A chance meeting with Jimmy Tittle, Johnny Cash's son-in-law, who toured and recorded with Merle Haggard and The Man In Black would soon put him on the fast track. Tittle, an award-winning singer-songwriter, took the young Iowa native under his wing and encouraged him to follow his dreams and hone his talents as a songwriter and vocalist.
Burk then spent some time in Nashville and learned a lot, recalls Burk. "It was Jimmy Tittle who helped me find myself as an artist. That's when the art of this business became clear to me."
In 1998, Burk returned to Springfield with a renewed sense of purpose to develop his own voice while working as a singer-songwriter. During the next two years he found it while playing shows between New York City and Reno, opening for the likes of Todd Snider, BR5-49, and Brian White.
In 2001 Randy Burk and the Prisoners was formed with long time friend and artist, Jared Hall. Touring with the kind of urgency you'd find at a jailbreak, Burk and the Prisoners quickly established a loyal following while playing more than 200 Midwest shows that year, sharing the stage with the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys, Rambler 454 and The Clumsy Lovers. In 2002, they reached even more fans, with their 7 song EP that included five originals and two Tittle tunes.
In 2004, the group recorded its debut full-length album Down To This during a two-week period at Proxy Studios in Oceanside, California. Longtime friend and Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash leader Mark Stuart produced the album, which includes melodic ballads of heartbreak, spiritual mountain songs and rip-roaring rockers. "This record is a good reflection of who i am," said Burk. "It touches on a lot of different subjects and styles, everything that defines me. I'm really proud of it." So, too, is Stuart. "I was flattered to work with them," he said. "They turned it into a party, but were committed to the songs."
Stuart also praised Burk's songwriting and singing, comparing it to early work of artists like Earle, Springsteen and Mellencamp. "He reminds me of them because his honest delivery sells the song," he said. "The integrity and the passion come through. He's the real deal."
Today, after thousand of miles and thousands of shows in the U.S. and Europe, Burk is currently writing, recording and touring. Randy Burk and the Prisoners was recently awarded $25,000 through online platform, ArtistSignal.com to further their career. They will be in the studio later this year to record their third album.