published Friday, December 9th, 2011

Blues man Burnette lays down the groove

IF YOU GO

What: Husky Burnette and W.B. Givens.

When: 8 p.m. today.

Where: JJ's Bohemia, 231 M.L. King Blvd.

Admission: $5.

Phone: 266-1400.

Venue website: www.myspace.com/jjsbohemia.


IF YOU GO

What: Husky Burnette.

When: 10 p.m. Saturday.

Where: T-Bone's Sports Cafe, 1419 Chestnust St.

Admission: Free.

Phone: 266-4240.

There's nothing Brian "Husky" Burnette loves as much as a good groove.

Whether he heard it coming from the fingers of organist Lee Michaels, the vocal stylings of Leon Russell or through Junior Walker's wailing saxophone, Burnette said he's always been up to get down.

"I wanted something that made you scrunch up your face and jerk your shoulders back," he said of the artists he listened to growing up.

Burnette was born into a musical family. All on his father's side of the family were musical, going back to his grandfather's cousins Johnny and Dorsey Burnette, two of Elvis Presley's contemporaries in the 1950s on Memphis' rockabilly scene.

Although he was raised around it, Burnette said he came to music largely on his own, with a little help from an uncle, who gave him records that introduced him to upbeat grooves.

Nowadays, the 34-year-old said, music doesn't necessarily have to be hopping to attract his attention. A slow roll is just as good, as long as it's moving.

"Even if it's not a slow groove, if it's got that bounce to it, that's what I'm a huge fan of these days, and I'm trying to get my music to be like that," Burnette said. "That's a huge influence on the music I write these days."

In 2000, Burnette played lead guitar for local country singer/songwriter Roger Alan Wade, who introduced him to the work of country/folk singers, whose lyrical approach he found hugely influential.

Playing with Wade whetted his appetite to pursue a career, and in 2006, he began playing music full time. Annually, he performs more than 200 dates, including frequent tours in Florida, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.

Burnette has been joined onstage by a rotating cast of drummers, six since he started out on his own. Tonight, he will be joined by current stick man Tony Jones at JJ's Bohemia. Saturday, they will take the stage again at T-Bone's Sports Cafe.

The pair will be performing music from "Facedown in the Dirt," Burnette's full-length debut, which was released earlier this year. He said the album may be nominated for an Independent Music Award by year's end and is already receiving Album of the Year nods from online bloggers.

Awards and attention notwithstanding, Burnette said all he wants to do onstage is capture the audience with the same kind of hypnotic sound that grabbed him so many years ago.

"That get-down vibe, that whole groove thing ... that's it," he said. "That's partly why I play the style of blues I do. It's just energy, period."

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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