Friday, August 12, 2022

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Sound Stage

Summer in the city


Ah, summertime in the city. Easily the greatest thing about the capital city’s hot and steamy months is all the live music that can be enjoyed outdoors — and often completely free. From larger events like Music Under the Stars and Nitefall on River to the neighborhood parties like Rendezvous on Riverview, there’s live, outdoor music across the city all summer long.

Randy Burk (right) performing with James Biehn at Music in the Junction.

Randy Burk (right) performing with James Biehn at Music in the Junction.

Perhaps no place has a better example of this than Valley Junction. Every Thursday from now through October, the streets of the historic neighborhood are taken over by food vendors, chotchkies and, of course, music.

This past week saw Music in the Junction host Randy Burk and the Prisoners, and anyone who hasn’t witnessed Burk perform live is missing out. With a stage presence that’s part Elvis, part Chris Isaak and a voice that’s all his own, Burk is entertaining and talented with a knack for drawing people in.

Playing an outdoor public event can be tricky. Often, and especially if there’s alcohol flowing, passersby will treat the band on stage like it’s a live juke box, shouting up requests for songs, regardless of whether they fit the band’s aesthetic or not. Burk’s set struck a nice balance, giving the audience a sampling of his own material interspersed with a liberal dose of Johnny Cash and other covers to give people familiar songs to dance to.

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Burk was joined on stage by his usual bassist, Brian Duffey, and drummer Jimmy Stevens, as well as guest guitarist James Biehn. And whether he’s playing solo or as part of a band, Biehn’s work is an absolute master class in what a guitar can really do. He’s one of the most talented musicians of any stripe the city has to offer, and his pairing with Burk is an experience best not missed. CV

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