Check out the latest single from Sean Burns. Originally written by Scotty Campbell from Hamilton, Ontario, Burns makes it his own with a powerful, classic country voice that rises and falls, following an engrossing and timeless tune, his vocal-style reminiscent of the country stars of yesteryear. Alongside Burns, Grant Siemens delivers high-pitched rhythmic guitar the pulses throughout ‘Souvenir’.
During the 1960s and 1970s, many great musicians from Canada didn’t break into the mainstream outside of their local regions. For his new record, ‘Lost Country’, Burns has collected together some of his favourite songs from that period in a tribute to Canada’s forgotten country songs. For years, Burns has been celebrating Canada’s finest country musicians through hosting ‘Boots & Saddle’ on Winnipeg’s CKUW and in his podcast The Northern Report. He has devoted himself to preserving Canada’s country music legacy. Burns explains: “I’ve always considered myself much more of a performer than a songwriter. This project is the culmination of all the digging I did to find ‘lost’ music and artists while hosting ‘Boots & Saddle’ and The Northern Report. Hopefully it’s just the start of a larger body of work in the field of honky tonk preservation. All the greats released theme albums and that’s part of the country music tradition I’ve always loved.”
Burns has released various themed albums, collecting together songs covering typical country music subject matter and the originators of the Bakersfield Sound. However, this collection is probably closest to his heart. Selecting songs for a project so personal to Burns was a tough task. He says: “I chose the songs with input and consultation from [co-producer] Grant Siemens. He’s worked closely with me on essentially everything I’ve done since 2017. I knew most of the artists I wanted to cover already and had a large list prepared for us to listen to. Then we went about determining what suited our style best while recognising how important it was to have them all complement each other as a cohesive collection.”
The Canadian indie label Arc Records released a great deal of country back in the day and many of the forgotten heroes and lost songs can be found by exploring their output. Burns speaks passionately about being a custodian for this music: “That music brings me so much joy and I feel a responsibility to recognise these acts and hopefully introduce them to new people via our takes on their material. Roy Payne has been the principle source of inspiration in all of this. The song we cut of Roy’s is one I don’t think he ever recorded himself but I found it on a very poor recording by the Cement City Stompers. The Stompers were one of the top bands on the Toronto club circuit in the late ’70s-early 80’s. They weren’t a national touring act, just an unreal group of musicians. Mickey McGivern is another. Mick played on over 350 sessions. Almost any Arc Records release featured his masterful Telecaster pickin’. ‘On Stage at the Edison’ on Arc Records might just be the finest Canadian country music release ever. The Edison was ‘Canada’s Home of Country Music’ and Mickey McGivern & The Mustangs were the longtime house band. It’s an Opry style variety show and is as good a live album as you’ll find. So it made sense that The Edison Hotel and the once glorious Yonge Street strip is the photo I chose for my album cover.” Indeed, the atmospheric cover is striking and transports you into another time so effectively. Look out for the new record on 27th October 2023 and immerse yourself in those classic sounds. Enjoy.