Bart Budwig is a son of Idaho, a cosmic country crooner, a rousing trumpet player, and cryin’-style soul singer. His music is made up of seemingly incongruous parts; thrum & strum country rhythms, jazz guitar melodies, R&B vocals. When Bart sings he draws out words into meditative mantras, whole note neologisms that keep you hanging on until his raspy voice trails off in a ragged edge. His forthcoming album, Another Burn On The AstroTurf (January 24, 2020, Fluff and Gravy Records) was recorded over five days by a seven-piece band inside the OK Theater. It’s a melancholy rhapsody that recalls the uncorked rock n’ roll spirituality of king mystic Van Morrison, the gloomy nostalgia of dark prince Nick Drake and the songcraft sans self-seriousness of 70s Muscle Shoals.
Like those psycho-spiritual song crafters, his power comes from vocal idiosyncrasies – intonations of love, impermanence, hope, humor. The album opens with Budwig originals “Time For Two”, “First To Go”, and “Strong Coffee”– originally presented with just solo guitar (and crackling wood stove) on the album Sabai. The songs are recorded here live, full band, in medley, with hot electric guitar, woody double bass, and drums. The band electrifies and scourges the flesh of the songs into fully formed folk rock stunners.
There is what the Romans called a “divine lustre” about Bart Budwig. His blonde hair and beard wrap around his collar,and frame his smile in a nimbus of gold. His radiance belies the loyalty he commands of an army of talent. He’d sooner tell you a joke than reveal to you he’s recorded dozens of albums and hundreds of songs in the last few years. Bart’s mastery of dramatic irony turns his work with complex emotional states of being into comforting, uplifting, relatable music.
It’s this ability to combine tragedy and comedy in his humanist hallelujahs that makes Budwig a gravitational force and industry chimera. The studio general, the clown prince, the sensitive songwriter with a rugged voice. The soul singer with a cosmic country band. The creator of a folk universe drawing musicians from everywhere to the middle of nowhere. It’s this juxtaposition that makes Another Burn On The AstroTurf another success for Bart Budwig, and a must listen for you.