Dallas Burrow’s Blood Brothers frames evolution from youth (“River Town”) through maturity (“Starry Eyes”) with nods to influences along the way (“Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold”). We recently discussed the new collection with the Texas native.
“I was about to put out (my 2021 self-titled album) that I did with Bruce Robison,” Burrow explains. “I was proud and excited for that record to come out and had gone down to Sam’s Town Point to listen to some music.”
Alt-Country Specialty Chart: Explain what happened at Sam’s.
Dallas Burrow: Well, I wound up hanging out on the back porch talking to Jonathan Tyler. We talked about the recording process and he started talking about his studio, which is right there at Sam’s Town Point. He showed me his studio and recording there seemed like an organic and logical next collaboration.
Jonathan’s studio is a pretty cool mix of old and new gear.
A mix of old and new is a good way to say it. Yeah, he has really great gear. Great mikes and sweet old guitars. He has tape machines to use if he wants to get that warmth and will run it through the tape machine after he records in ProTools. Jonathan has a really great sensibility as far as his approach and style and his vision for the music and production. I really enjoyed bouncing ideas off him. He really helped me polish up some musical ideas I had coming into the project.
Tell the story behind writing the opening track (‘River Town’).
“River Town” is a true story. The song is my story about growing up in the small Texas town New Braunfels. I had a typical childhood and got into some trouble when I was young. I referenced that as far as chasing the girls around and running from the cops. We were young and wild once upon a time. The song tells the story of leaving town and eventually falling in love and coming back home to raise a family. I think “River Town” is one of the more relatable songs on the album.
‘Starry Eyes’ seems like a continuation of the story after you meet the girl.
Absolutely. Very astute point. “Starry Eyes” is dedicated to and inspired by my wife and our relationship. I tell the story about how you’re at home with the person you love and they’re doing their own thing in their natural environment. You get to be a fly on the wall and see that person just being themselves. I was bottling up that feeling on “Starry Eyes.” The song is the next chapter to the same story in “River Town.”
Explain the album title Blood Brothers.
The title comes from a true story that my dad told me when I was a young man. The story was about his experiences living in Nashville in the early Seventies. He and his siblings had a TGI Fridays restaurant back when Fridays was like a neighborhood bar where people would go hang out. The place was right across Elliston Place from the old Exit Inn, which is where Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Skinny Dennis and all those guys hung out when they were young musicians.
Those guys would frequent my dad’s place. He got to be buddies with Townes and one night Townes, Richard Dobson, John Lomax III, and my dad were all hanging out having drinks. Townes got this wild idea to cut their arms and mix their blood and become blood brothers. They did. My dad still has the scar.
Tell the story behind writing the title track.
I was telling (Townes’ son) J.T. (Van Zandt) that story one of the first times we hung out. He insisted that the first thing we needed to do was write a song that tells that story. So, we co-wrote the title track.
You cover the Townes song my dog is named after: ‘Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold.’
Oh, that’s too cool. You’re obviously a big Townes guy yourself. I’ve been listening to Townes’ album Live at the Old Quarter on vinyl for years. Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold” is the second song on that record and is one of my go-to favorites. The song has always struck me as such a compelling work of poetry with a non-stop lyrical onslaught. I took it upon myself to learn it a few years back. Took me six months of studying the lyrics and trying over and over to get through it.
I sat down with pen and paper and wrote it out so I could consistently reproduce the whole song on paper. Eventually, I was sitting in the living room one day and played it through. I love playing “Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold” live. The song went right over people’s heads when I used to play coffee houses, but now certain crowds really appreciate it. I feel like “Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold” is one of the greatest songs ever written, so I wanted to include it on the record to pay homage to Townes.
– Brian T. Atkinson
Artist: Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway
Hometown: San Francisco, California
Album: City of Gold
Release Date: June 21, 2023
Record Label: Nonesuch Records
On songwriting inspiration: “I loved being in this completely different landscape and spending so much time on the porch just talking and playing music and watching the lightning bugs at night as a kid growing up in the suburbs of San Francisco.” – Molly Tuttle
-- Brian T. Atkinson
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