Rhonda’s Reviews: Gary Burr

It seemed one of those pivotal moments as he and a friend attended the infamous Woodstock Festival in 1969, mesmerized by fan frenzy (namely girls), and the accolade of applause. It was a moment that sparked the creative gene within, and unleashed a desire to perform and garner fame. Today, multi-award winner and Country Songwriter’s Hall of Fame inductee, Gary Burr, remains one of Nashville’s most respected and honored songwriters. He’s an aristocrat in the industry, an eminence if you will, and surely the number one man on speed dial.

There are commonalities that many artists share, and it’s usually disclosed within the earliest stages of these interviews: memories and early experiences in music. For Gary Burr, it was his tortuous experience of standing on a make shift stage (a coffee table) entertaining his parents and their guests. The things we do to appease our parents. Unbeknownst to him, he was already being groomed to be a performer, and being awestruck at a ‘hippiefest’ was all this impressionable youth needed to kick start the dream.

Aside from so-called ‘humble beginnings’ establishing himself as a musician, and learning to ‘crank’ out the songs, he has journeyed down a remarkable pathway, illustrious at best, but not without some comical twists and turns. He’s come a long way from the day where his career lay in the hands of a small time record executive ‘gambler’ to when one of his first demo songs was recorded by Juice Newton in 1982 becoming an overnight sensation. Some would say his career has been blessed with good luck and timing. Maybe so, but he clearly had a strong intuitive sense, a penchant for penning top hits, and he never remained cemented in favoring one genre. He was a versatile artist, and valued originality in music.

Gary Burr is known as a prolific songwriter but he’s also a performer at heart. After all, he was Prairie League’s lead singer for 5 years following the departure of Vince Gill, played as a member of Ringo Starr’s band, ‘The Roundheads” for eight, and spent 2 years co-writing/touring with Carole King. Despite his success, it was inevitable that the spirit would become restless as songwriting took priority over performing. He was on everyone’s radar as the ‘go to’ guy, and the songwriter doesn’t get the applause. He missed the stage, and as luck would have it he crossed paths with the great Kenny Loggins, another artist seeking to regenerate his career with a fresh sound.

It didn’t take long for these two kindred souls to realize their partnership was a perfect fit. Kenny Loggins replaced a long lost partner, and Gary Burr found his voice again. The only link that was needed to fuse this harmonious trio was a female vocalist and the person to fit the shoe was Gary Burr’s wife, singer/songwriter Georgia Middleman. The dream team of super-talent, Blue Sky Riders, was thus born.

Executive Producer, Rich Reardin, hosts this final interview of the Blue Sky Riders series with Kenny Loggins, Georgia Middleman, and Gary Burr. It’s been a great pleasure listening and eye opening to hear their life stories, the songs that defined their careers, and throughout a compilation of tunes from Blue Sky’s fabulous debut album, ‘Finally Home’. Gary Burr may never have to pen another song for others, only to see it ‘taken away’, because he now has the needed platform to sing his own, “the way they were meant to be sung”.

Rhonda McDonald


About Executive Producer Rich Reardin

Rich Reardin is the Executive Producer of IN SEARCH OF A SONG with Jason WIlber. Rich is a radio producer, recording engineer, artist, cartoonist, and musician.
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