Singer/songwriter Annie Burns offers her most eloquent and richly textured work to date. Rooted in Country-folk-pop melodies, Ms Burns has crafted a lyrical, wistful and, on occasion, defiant look at a life where choices are rarely easy and knowledge comes mostly in retrospect. Ms. Burns and her eleven siblings (5 sisters, 7 brothers) hail from upstate New York where they were raised in the traditions of Irish song. An integral part of the much praised alternative-Country group, The Burns Sisters (Rounder Records), Annie is frequently singled-out for her aphoristic often transcendent tunes and her resilient, riveting and complex vocal timbre that holds audiences spellbound.
In this solo departure, she continues to demonstrate a knowing, almost magical, ability to express a complex emotion in a simple twist of phrasing. Of the eleven selections, she's chosen to interpret a few that mirror her sensibilities though penned by others.
While Annie's songs are galvanizing even in a cappella form, she has assembled an all-star band to present the cuts on a more fully textured pallet. Dylan's musical director, Tony Garnier is on bass. Guitar gods G.E.Smith, Jim Kimball, Larry Campbell, and Marc Shulman on everything with frets, and Shawn Pelton is the master of percussion. Celebrated others also offer their talents on and between the tracks.
Clifford Fagin, Exec. Producer
KFAN TX 25,000 watts" Annie tops the list AAA you may remember Annie from the Burns Sisters. Annie proves she is a force to be reckoned with, alone. Rick Starr
All Music Guide
AMG EXPERT REVIEW: Burns Sisters member Annie Burns' first solo album does not stray far from the family group of which she is an integral part. Since she is one of 12 brothers and sisters, it's not surprising that the names of her siblings turn up in the credits; there are Burnses credited as photographers, and Sheila Burns earns a nod as the lyricist of "The King's Gonna Fall," a poetically generalized political statement the message of which can be summarized by its title. Nevertheless, it's Annie Burns herself who shines on the album, its folk-rock songs ranging from the title track, a reminiscence about a never-taken trip with a friend who died young, to the country-styled "God Made Woman," a feminist honky-tonk tune. A basic band consisting of guitarists Jim Kimball, Larry Campbell, and Marc Shulman, bassist Tony Garnier (whose day job is working with Bob Dylan), and drummer Shawn Pelton is augmented here and there by other players, among them electric guitarist G.E. Smith.Burns has an expressive voice that can be gentle or bluesy, depending on the demands of the songs, but that always has a plaintive tone, which is appropriate to the often melancholy sentiments being expressed in the lyrics.
- William Ruhlmann
Annie Burns is one helluva singer
Don't believe me? Check out her latest solo release, Days in Italy. It's a seamless, immaculate marriage of pop, rock, and country. On these eleven tunes she enlists the aid of a group of celebrated musicians, including guitarist GE Smith of Saturday Night Live fame. I've come to expect nothing less than the sublime from any member of the Burns family, and here Annie delivers with authority, singing with one of the strongest voices in contemporary music. And the songs! The title track, an ode to a deceased companion, feels more like celebration than mourning. "God Made Woman" is a playful, blues-based romp, and the chorus of "Longtime," simply put, is flawless. Her lyrics are equally compelling. In "Surrender," she sings, "The wind is calling through the trees/ Calling out to me.../ And I dream of places in my life/ Of love thatís passed me by," illustrating the nostalgic turmoil of broken memories. Burns is a master of her craft, a seductive ecclesiastical troubadour. There's a certain loneliness to her music, like a nomad in search of sustenance. In a time of such chaos, it's comforting to know there are those among us who revel in that which is beautiful. And man, is this beautiful.
- Jon Ulrich
The Religion of Living
Annie Burns - Days In Italy
We live in a time of widespread spiritual awakening. Or so it seems when we look at how widely accepted such things as meditation, and retreats have become. Just look at the breadth of best-selling books, magazines, articles and videos that address - from multiple viewpoints - the subject of the soul.
In her superb new CD - Days In Italy - Annie Burns brings the search for the essence to a whole new level. The beauty and power of this album are in how subtly and fully integrated into the melodies and lyrics Annie's life discoveries are. Song after song yields a new insight into the depth of things. But she does this with simplicity and, without the slightest pretension, as though wisdom were the natural byproduct of living.
On one level this is the kind of CD you will play often for the sheer fun of it. You'll have it in your car for months because it is rich with the kinds of rhythms, moods, and sound-scapes that you love to drive to. But it is so superbly produced, and the musicians are of such a caliber that you will want to put it on your home stereo and crank it up for the heady/hearty pleasure of such beautifully complex yet completely accessible music. In wonderfully original ways Annie reshapes familiar musical idioms from folk, to classical, to rock, creating an Americana that is new, surprising, and satisfying This is popular music at its very best.
But that's just the surface. Listen closely and you will find her newly uncovered ancient echoes of the heart and the soul. Taken together the songs chart a journey across the realities of life and death toward truth and transformation. In lyrics and melodies that haunt long after they have been heard, Annie gives us perspectives on living and loving that are joyfully natural in their wisdom, and deeply wise in their naturalness. There is no cute peek-a-boo behind the screen of poetic images. The songs, their ideas, and their impact are marvelously present and clear.
The more you listen, the more you understand that her power as an artist lies in her embrace of contradictions. (In a sense, this is the core of the music here - that life is full of contradictions, and that the highest human experiences involve embracing them.) Take, for example, the title track - "Days in Italy" - an almost exuberant anthem to the liberation found in intimate friendships between women. Yet the song is about the death of a best friend. One marvels at how such an evidently happy tune can be so poignant, subtly laced with an unmistakable sorrow. Yet the coda says again and again "la vita è bella" - life is beautiful. The result is the wonderful surprise of a song that makes you feel deeply, below the level of sentimentality.
Or the wonderful retreat induced "Surrender". The song is about discovering in the visible, audible, palpable world pathways to self-realization. ("Life will give unto me all I need.") The seeker's response is to surrender to the mystery of it it all, and in that surrender to awaken to a higher state. Yet the production of this piece is almost martial - the drums and blazing guitar rouse and call you to action. The message? Spiritual surrender is a powerful act of courage.
Annie Burns would probably dismiss the suggestion that she is a sort of high-priestess of the Religion of Living. She would probably say that she is just a good singer-songwriter with lots of road behind and ahead of her. And she is that. She and her equally gifted sisters, nationally know as The Burns Sisters, have probably played all the folk and country venues around the US and Canada. (And last summer she toured Ireland on her own.) In Days in Italy we are gifted with the product of those years of experience; and not just by her highly skilled musicianship, but by the insight and wisdom that come from living with open eyes, and a brave heart.
- Puran Perez
copyright © 2002 Puran Perez
BY HEATHER HARE
Press & Sun-Bulletin
Annie Burns performs versatile music. It's the kind of music that is wonderful for dancing around the house, the kind that's great for singing at full volume in the car, the kind that's perfect for lounging on the couch.
Her voice and style sound like a combination of Sarah McLachlan and Loreena McKennitt. Even though her songs are catchy like pop tunes, they avoid the cliche of pop.
KXCL Tucson 50,000 WATTS "Annie will part of our regular AAA rotation!