Concert Review: The Burritos light up Kimbro’s

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience.” “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

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Concert Review: The Burritos light up Kimbro’s

By Dave Carew

This past Friday night—on a stage at the intimate Kimbro’s in Franklin, Tennessee—the ghost of Gram Parsons was coaxed out of the mystic and asked to bestow its musical blessings on a room of devoted followers and fans-in-the-making. The occasion was a rare Nashville-area performance by The Burritos—the local, Gram Parsons-esque band signed to an English record deal last year—that is, arguably, doing more than any other group of musicians anywhere to keep Gram’s music and memory alive.

Featuring Walter “Magnet and Steel” Egan, Chris James, Rick Lonow (who co-wrote “Call It Love” for Poco), and Fred James (Chris’ brother), The Burritos kicked off their set in the same manner as on their stellar debut album Sound as Ever, playing first “For the Sake of Love” and “Beggars’ Banquet.”  Both songs are original compositions (as are “Angeline” and “Song and Dance Man,” performed later in the show) that not only would have fit perfectly into the original Flying Burrito Brothers’ classic The Gilded Palace of Sin but that—in fact—would have been stand-outs on that record.

Coursing through their 14-song set, The Burritos—all of whom are in their 50s or 60s—wove together youthful, joyful renditions of original songs, solo Gram Parsons’ tunes, and Flying Burritos Brothers’ classics, treating the audience to such gems as the Walter Egan-penned “Hearts on Fire,” “Wheels,” and “Devil in Disguise,” before wrapping up the night with the euphoric orginal composition “Build a Fire” from Sound as Ever.  As the last power chords of “Build a Fire” faded into a newfound case of ear-buzz, the audience jumped to its feet to offer The Burritos the standing ovation they so richly—and, seemingly, effortlessly—had earned.

Driving away into the night after the show, I reflected, with deep appreciation, on how these gifted, middle-aged musicians keep the spirit of 26-years-old-when-he-died Gram Parsons alive.  The Burritos are the very embodiment of a wrinkle on the old aphorism: You’re only young twice.

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David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance book editor, publicist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.


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