MP3 Greg Boerner - World So Blue
Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter - "ORIGINAL AND UNIQUE BLEND OF BLUES, COUNTRY, GOSPEL, FOLK AND ALL THAT COMES BETWEEN - SOUTHERN STYLE" Boerner''s 2006 release centers on his strongest and most personal songwriting yet. Arguably, Boerner''s best.
13 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, BLUES: Acoustic Blues
"...aptly pronounced "Burner"...an Augusta, Georgia transplant to the Midwest...Great guitar, strong vocals...hand-jiving rockabilly groove...finger-picking guitar style that reminds one of ''50''s masters...seasoned, tasteful, deeply rooted and downright hot...expends more energy playing one song than most of us are born with...you can tell he feels it..."
(translated from E-magazine "ROOTSTIME" based in Belgium)
The rather unpolished intro from the new album of guitarist/singer/songwriter Greg Boerner (pronounced "Burner") did not promise a lot of good...but the man from Augusta, Georgia, now residing in the Chicago area, puts things immediately in order with the title song “World So Blue”. Boerner has released his third album and was until today completely unknown to me. Greg was good enough to provide me with his previously published material, namely: “Nowhere” (1998) and “Wishing Well” (2001) and to my shame, have to admit that again I have “missed” something. An excellent finger picking guitarist and an excellent singer/songwriter who openly admits that his “penchant for laziness seems to override my gift for songwriting”, his lack of financial means and the breaking up of his marriage (after 13 years) are the main factors why we had to wait this long for a new album. Not so pleasant experiences, but they don’t stop him from creating a pearl of a new album. "World So Blue” is the final love letter to his wife Stephanie and it echoes the pain of the break up of something that started out as a fairy tale. This lovely acoustic number with the other bluesy/soul pearl “This Love" deserve to become Radio 1 hits. (This is one of the better radio stations on the Flemish radio). These are "goosebumps" songs that show that Greg has a hard time getting over the divorce. The writing of “Gold/They Can''t Tell Me”, a song about a man going a little crazy, is the result of his pain. “Watchin'' The Girls Go By” can maybe make sure that with “Adele” (son Jake on the cornet), Josephine or Anna Lee the new Virgin Queen will make her entry into the house of Boerner. And it is no little thing that the country/blues/gospel in “Heaven Bound” refers to “Ray Charles on the stereo or sweet tea on my mother’s porch.” These are songs that illustrate Boerner''s inspiration from artists like Tom Waits, Willie Dixon, J.J. Cale, Willis Alan Ramsey, B.B. King, Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley. Moreover, he has shared the stage with Bill Morrissey, Chris Smither, Robbie Fulks, Leon Russell, Wayne Toups and Tinsley Ellis--artists that without hesitation would put the slide jewel “Melody" or the storytelling songs “Marywood” and “Don’t Wake Me From the Dream” on their playlists. In this his 38th year, and with his third album under his arm, this Greg Boerner, in my opinion, is ready to make his big break … “I want to make music that is sincere, means something to me and hopefully means something to others.” He has passed with flying colors!
4 1/2 stars out of 5
-Francois(Swa)Braeken, reporter for Euro Americana chart and CD reviewer for the E-magazine "ROOTSTIME".
I had the opportunity last month to talk with Greg Boerner (pronounced Burner), a Georgia native who moved to Illinois a few years ago. Boerner just self-released his third CD, "World So Blue", and since quite a lot of the album was inspired by his recent divorce, our features editor thought that would be a neat story. Especially since I got to talk to his ex-wife, too, and get her thoughts.
But even if you’re not enthralled by real-life tales of lost love, Boerner’s music is worth checking out, especially if you’re into folk and blues traditions. His songs are uncomplicated in the best way, especially a romp like “Heaven Bound", and his acoustic guitar playing is deft and skillful. His best quality is his deep, soulful voice, but here he’s surrounded it with his most complete production. Boerner still plays most of the instruments himself, as he did on his comparatively stark earlier records, but World So Blue adds percussion, electric guitars and a host of other colors. You’d never know it’s a DIY effort, so clear and well-balanced is the sound, but the elaborate measures don’t detract from the core – acoustic-based songs, played and sung well.
Boerner stretches out here, too, incorporating a Tom Waits influence on “Don’t Wake Me From This Dream,” perhaps his finest song. It fits in well with the more melancholy tone of this record, which, considering its subject matter, is not surprising. The title song is a mid-tempo lament, a plea for a second chance, on which Boerner provides subtle mouth percussion, and “This Love", another minor-key favorite, takes an old blues trope and makes it new – “One thing’s for certain, there’s two things I know, this love will kill me, and I can’t let it go…”
Both Boerner’s lyrics and music are simple and accessible-sometimes too simple for my taste – and fans of singer-songwriters like John Hiatt and Steve Earle(in acoustic mode)should find much to like here. The two things I admire most about World So Blue are the sense of diversity – there’s gospel, Louisiana shuffle, country-folk and pop mixed in with Boerner’s traditional blues and roots music – and the sonic texture. The whole thing is sequenced well, and lest you think it’s all lovelorn moping, it concludes with two breezy, upbeat numbers that leave you wanting more.
"World So Blue" is an interesting homemade document, and Boerner is obviously a talented guy with quite a good voice. Nothing here is going to change the world, but Boerner’s not trying to be innovative, just enjoyable. If you like straightforward songs about love and life, drawn from a perspective of deep respect for classic American music of all stripes, then this is for you. I’d also recommend "Wishing Well", Boerner’s second record, which is more blues-based, and sounds more like his live show.
-Andre Salles, obsessive and financially idiotic music fan; writer/reviewer/columnist for https://www.tradebit.com
With Boerner’s 3rd album, the songwriting, guitar skills and ability to get around in the studio have all matured. The overdubs are many but nothing’s ever busy. In places, it simply sounds as if he’s got a hot band in the room. “Adele”, for example, drops slices of slide and “underwater” guitar over the tune’s finger-picked, swampy bottom. However, he’s also included percussion and his son Jake on cornet. From the jumped-up gospel of “Heaven Bound” to the smokey sensuality of “This Love”, Boerner’s ability to simultaneously fill out and leave space is impressive.
There are fewer blatant suggestions of the blues and R&B he grew up on, in their place is an implicit sense that things aren’t any longer as uncomplicated as sweet tea and Ray Charles records. The track, “Gold”, with its comments on “burned out wood where love once stood”, makes this clear before segueing into the surreal “They Can’t Tell Me”. In fact, “Gold/They Can’t Tell Me” might be Boerner’s best songwriting yet; the fact that he’s chosen to connect commentary on love lost with what might otherwise come off as a goof gives the entire piece added gravity. Because of this, it’s almost easy to forget the guitar chops, which have become subtler. The electric line that snakes through “Marywood” simply begs, while its counterpart in “Melody” serves as harmony for some tasteful slide playing.
If there’s a complaint, it’s certainly not in the
confidence department but perhaps the territory
Boerner continues to draw from. While the snatches of
Travis picking and Excello records-esque bayou pop are
mighty fine things, some of this leans a bit too close
to the middle of the road. But as soon as that
comment’s made, one has to realize it’s not Boerner’s
job to be one more tortured singer-songwriter a la
Nick Drake or Elliot Smith, nor does he necessarily
need to trade in the southern roots in exchange for
Devandra Banhardt’s more childlike proclivities. And
since he’s not just a guitar picker, chances of him
pulling a Jack Rose anytime soon are out. The music on
World So Blue is honest and shows an artist growing at
his own pace, seemingly outside of the boundaries of
pop culture. And in a country where we’re often
overloaded with information, this is an achievement in
and of itself.
--Bruce Miller...writer, teacher, banjo player, self-professed music junkie and gardener. His writing has appeared in Magnet, Oxford American, Bluegrass Unlimited, Global Rhythm and National Geographic Online.
Make no mistake....Greg Boerner is a straight-shootin'', clean livin'' guitarist/singer/songwriter who performs like some kind of a road-hardened guitar maniac on one song, a 1950''s pop idol on another, a Southern troubadour on the next - and at last blows you out of the galaxy with an antique blues tune that might well give John Lee Hooker pause.
Today at 38, Greg Boerner ( pronounced "Burner" ) shows a musical maturity that belies his age, favoring traditional forms of blues, folk, country, roots rock n'' roll, and all that comes between. His songwriting reflects this eclectic mix and Boerner cites Ray Charles, Tom Waits, Willie Dixon, Mose Allison, J.J. Cale, Bob Dylan and Willis Alan Ramsey as a few of his influences. Audiences feel quite at ease with where he takes them - as if they are being taken to an old familiar place, but by way of a Southern backroad that only Boerner knows. His performance of blues is immaculate, emotional, and convincing, and rests proudly on the shoulders of B.B. King, Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin'' Wolf and all the giants that have come before.
Boerner hasn''t always been an acoustic solo performer. He was a much sought after sideman with an electric guitar steeped in traditional blues and roots rock n'' roll. At 18, he was touring the Southeast playing the cool rockabilly of Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, and Elvis as if he had been born to it. Through the years he found his singing and songwriting were being appreciated as much as his potent Stratocaster. Countless bands, gigs, and hot licks later, he arrived on the solo scene, discovering the simple pleasures of just a voice and guitar.
But the rock n'' roll attitude of those younger days has never left him. It is the very thing that separates him from the majority of singer/songwriters who offer an audience a pleasant "folk" experience - but little more. Boerner''s audiences, on the other hand, are quite used to him being soaked at the end of a performance expending more energy and passion playing one song than most of us are born with. Like most great musicians with something to say, Greg Boerner plays and sings as if his life depends on it.....it does.
Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia...Greg Boerner now lives in a far west suburb of Chicago near his son Jake. In addition to his three cd''s, his music can be heard in several independent films and he can be seen performing at clubs, coffee houses, listening rooms, house concerts and festivals. He has opened shows for Leon Russell, Patty Larkin, Willy Porter, Bill Morrissey, Chris Smither, Maria Muldaur, Pierce Pettis, Robbie Fulks, Gove Scrivenor, Wayne Toups and Tinsley Ellis.