“Kentuckian by Jason Tyler Burton is a solid production from the first note to the last. The music paired with the storytelling is nothing short of an artistic masterpiece.”
Jason Tyler Burton
Rural Americana Music
Jason Tyler Burton looks at his 84-year-old father as they stand near the old commissary at the Mary Helen coal mine site in Harlan County, Kentucky. He sees a man who is appalled at what has happened to this place where he spent his childhood, and yet he also knows his father still loves that place. While many of the complexities and nuances of life have changed from his father’s time to his own, Burton works to unpack them as he creates his own brand of rural Americana. A brand in which he is not afraid to break down the stereotypes and cliches that are presented in books, on the news, or the endless stream of pop country songs coming out of Nashville.
Burton was born in Michigan. His father had not wanted the life of a coal miner and moved north, as so many did during that time, to find work. But Kentucky was home, and they moved back soon after Burton was born. He spent his youth and early adulthood in the Appalachian foothills, where he’d as often be outside rock climbing as he would be playing his fiddle, guitar, and mandolin. These disparate passions eventually caused him to leave his old Kentucky home and he now lives in the least populated county in the least populated state. There in Wyoming, at the base of the Wind River Range, he has come to embrace life as an outsider.
His most recent albums, Lost Behind the Ranges (2017) and Headwaters (2014) reflect his journey from Kentucky to Wyoming. They are filled with road trip ready songs that often tell a novel's worth of story in the span of minutes. Burton can make you laugh and cry in the same verse and he knows how to craft a tune to make it something you can relate to even if it's not something you've lived. His lyrics tell you that he’s been paying attention, with songs that are amalgamations of stories gathered through his years on the road, traveling, working, and playing with bands such as the Union City All-Stars and 6 Foot 2. His songs ask you to pay attention, to your own life as well as to the plight of others. He invites you to lean in a little, and really listen.
Inhabiting a simple faith in the power of a song, Burton has recently taken up the challenge of writing about the place where he grew up. That faith has him working to articulate the stories of a people who take tremendous pride in where they are from, and digging into the complexities of rural life in modern America in a way that is neither vilifying or glorifying. The result is his upcoming album, Kentuckian.
Kentuckian is a collection of songs both lived and written by Burton, gleaned from his time in the tree covered hills of Kentucky. Burton is a man of many passions, which eventually led him west to the bigger mountains of Wyoming, but he is a Kentuckian, in song and spirit. Kentuckian is out for release in Fall 2019.