JACOB MCCOY BURTON
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Jacob McCoy Burton doesn’t have a clue. The 24-year-old Texan was gifted his first guitar at an early age, but for Burton, what molded him into a musician largely remains a mystery.
“I’m not exactly sure how I got here, or what made me want to make music,” he says.
Perhaps Burton’s music, and more specifically his distinct brand of Americana, is innate. Jacob was raised in Amarillo—a place where the kicked-up dust ruins the finish of your car, and the dirt supplants itself under your fingernails at an early age. It is “red dirt country,” or the land where iron oxide turns the soil red—and just maybe it’s the clay from that earth that has been molding Jacob’s songs all along.
Burton admits he has no family musical history, but credits his father, also an Amarilloan, for introducing him to outlaw country pioneers like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings.
Burton’s new EP, Hold The Line, released this past March 2014, is his first. Yet only the most astute listener could detect any trace of inexperience. This emotive and meticulously crafted body of songs exudes a certain wise and weathered quality, far beyond Burton’s years, and at moments is even sage-like in its lyrical message.
Songs like the haunting opener “The Silence” catapult the listener into a fragile and deeply personal introduction. Stark arpeggiated electric guitar and ghostly drumming are a fitting backdrop as Jacob sings about an intermittent moment of discomfort we all experience.
“The ‘silence’ is that quiet void where doubt comes creeping in,” explains Burton. “It’s a feeling that I know all too well, and for the longest time, one that I tried to run away from. So this song is my own little way of saying that it’s okay to acknowledge those moments. It’s okay to long for an answer.”
Jacob’s observations seem much like those of an older soul, and one might be fooled by his seasoned, polished vocal delivery. At times it invokes the fiery angst of Marcus Mumford, like on the longing “My Everything.” At others it evokes the gentleness of Ryan Adams, like on the sleepy ballad “Jenny’s Song,” which he wrote several years ago for his sister’s wedding.
Remarkably, Burton had only released his music once before. A couple of years ago, he recorded and filmed a YouTube video for the aforementioned “My Everything.” This intimate and impassioned performance sparked the attention of many, including Kaylee Williams of The Native Sibling, who was shown the video by a mutual friend. When Williams heard the song, she enthusiastically suggested that Burton record with their Brooklyn producer Daniel Mendez (Noah Gundersen, Dashboard Confessional, Heart).
After instantly hitting it off with Mendez (Jacob reveals they spoke for 3 hours the first time he called), Burton raised some funds via Kickstarter, and made his way from Texas to New York for two focused weeks in the studio. Jacob couldn’t be happier with results. Hold The Line encapsulates themes of family, love and spirituality, and its instrumentation, while at times minimal, provides great depth to Burton’s ideas. It’s true that he hasn’t been on this journey as long as many of his contemporaries, but he seems to have already found his way.
“I feel like I’m just now getting to a place where I’m comfortable with my own voice,” Jacob admits. Jacob might not be sure what brought him to this point, but if the results are any indication, he’s just fine with a mystery unsolved.
Check out Jacob McCoy Burton’s sites below and also be sure to follow him on his social media pages for more updates from this great singer-songwriter on the rise!
Watch Jacob McCoy Burton perform his song My Everything live in 2014 below!