Wink Burcham (I) — 22nd Annual Woody Guthrie Festival, 2019

Woodyfest 2019: Wink Burcham

Wink Burcham

Wink Burcham

In 2019 Tulsa-based singer/​songwriter Wink Burcham made his [Sidenote: This is the fourth post in our cov­er­age of the twenty-sec­ond annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. We’ll be alter­nat­ing our report­ing with essays and photo gal­leries from the six­teenth fes­ti­val in 2013, so check in often for a mix of old and new Woodyfest good­ness.] sixth straight Woodyfest appear­ance, per­form­ing a late-after­noon set on the Bound for Glory stage.

The thirty-eight-year-old Muskogee native looked older and con­sid­er­ably thin­ner than when I first met him sev­eral years ago. I’d been hear­ing rumors of Burcham going through hard times through the musi­cal grapevine for the past year. But his fre­quent smiles and relaxed demeanor told another tale, that of a man in his ele­ment, momen­tar­ily at peace with the world.

It’s been four years since Burcham’s last release, 2016’s Cleveland Summer Nights, and all of the songs he per­formed dur­ing his set were famil­iar to this writer — I’ve spun them hun­dreds of times, at home, in the car, and in the office. Highlights included the title track from Cleveland as well as “Lay Your Burden Down,” “Made to Laugh,” and “Liquor Store,” the lat­ter from 2013’s Comfortable Shoes.

I think most peo­ple that I know or most of my song­writ­ing heroes have prob­a­bly writ­ten from some sort of expe­ri­ence. And that’s all any of us try to do, from Woody Guthrie to Metallica.

Wink Burcham, quoted in Poppe, Nathan, “Wink and a Nod to Home: Okie Singer-Songwriter Channels His Childhood Summers and a Sense of Place on New Album,” okla​homan​.com

Burcham’s music blends rock­a­billy, Piedmont blues, coun­try, and west­ern swing. In the tra­di­tion of the best coun­try and folk music, the songs all tell sto­ries, mostly tales from the wrong side of the tracks. But they occa­sion­ally turn toward the hope­ful or at least con­tented — “The Good Ones” and “Cleveland Summer Nights” being exam­ples of the lat­ter. If you need a laugh, look no fur­ther than “Women Do Funny Things to Me,” the final track on Burcham’s lat­est. If you don’t need a laugh, go lis­ten to the album any­way. You’ll be glad that you did.



About Chris J. Zähller

International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.

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