New Artist Spotlight: Burns & Poe

Earlier this year we got the chance to take some time to talk with Blue Steel Records’ Burns & Poe about their success so far and the just-released Burns & Poe two-disc debut album.  They discuss the album, their hit singles and more in this exclusive interview.

“We were so excited, so honored, and so humbled by it, to be recognized,” she said. “We appreciate radio so much playing the record. They’re the ones that made the award possible for us.”

Keith Burns said that the recognition is great, but what the award means is even more monumental for the duo. “Anytime you win an award is great, but this one in particular is not a popularity contest. It’s actually the amount of spins you get through the year. So, in 2010, Michelle and I had the most spins of any independent artist out there. That just goes to show that radio is behind us. We’re just thrilled.”

Both Keith and Michelle know that the success would not come if they didn’t have a strong nucleus of talent on their team. From Blue Steel label head Steve Pope to record promoter extraordinaire Regina Raleigh to Sony RED, which handles their distribution, it seems that Burns & Poe has their bases covered.

“It definitely takes a village,” says Poe, while Burns adds that

“Just like with any business, you surround yourself with people you believe in. Teamwork pays off. It’s our job to write the music, and go into the studio and record it, and sing it live. It takes so much more than that to make it work. I’m looking forward to more. The sky is the limit. We’re looking to even bigger things this year.”

The new single, “Second Chance,” has just been sent to radio.  It’s the latest release from their just-released self-titled double album. In a day and time when a lot of newer artists are releasing EP’s—the duo decided that bigger is better.

“In the realm of everyone putting out a six song CD now, we had so many songs, and it was hard for us to make a choice,” said Poe. “So, instead of releasing a six-song EP, why don’t we just do something totally different? Let’s do a double CD, and on the first—it’s either Keith or me singing the leads, and on the second album, let’s make it absolutely all duets. We also put a bonus track on it, an acoustic live medley of our heroes. It’s a great record. We’re really proud of it.”

The live cut features their take on three very different duet classics, “Islands In The Stream,” “You’re The Reason God Made Oklahoma,” and “I Got You Babe.” Burns said it has been a highlight of their live show for quite some time.

“We do that in all of our shows,” he told Roughstock. “We’ve got about forty shows on the book, and hope to at least double that. The band will walk off the stage, and Michelle and I will put up the stools, and do that. We have made up our own little words to ‘I Got You Babe.’ We changed the words a little bit to better exemplify what we are all about,” he says with a smile. Indeed, the revamped lyrics do get quite a reaction from the crowd.

Including a live cut, particular one as musically adventurous as the medley, can be intimidating. However, Burns says that it also can prove you have the vocal goods.

“I think that’s where true talent lies, when you go to see somebody live. If you throw vocal tuners in there, and have a band where the vocals are buried in the mix, you can get away with a lot. But, when you just have a guitar and a bass, it’s all out there for the world to hear. You have to be on your game for that. That’s kind of the highlight of our show—to a lot of people. They’ll come up to us after the show and sign autographs, and a lot of times they’ll tell us they just loved that. On the CD, it’s live, so it’s pretty cool.”

One thing is for sure—-Burns & Poe definitely rise to the occasion. Poe agrees that the fans seem to like what they hear. “The audience loves the intimacy. It’s like bringing them in to your living room, almost.

CRS 2011 was a big week for the pair, who took advantage of the Seminar to reconnect with their friends at radio. “It’s always good to see everybody—-especially those that are playing our stuff, and supporting Burns & Poe. It’s a welcome time to say thank you and say how grateful we are for everything.”

Keith agrees, while saying they also hope that they can continue to sway radio programmers over to their side. “For those people in radio who have believed and supported us every year, it’s a time to say thanks for the support. And, for the people who didn’t think we’d do anything, it’s a chance to say that we’re not going anywhere. We’re still here. Think about playing our record….just think about it. We’ve seen a little bit of progress each year. Hopefully, they’ll look at our work ethic, and listen to our music, and give us a chance….before we get too old!”

Burns & Poe have a full summer of touring on the books. They will also be visiting radio to promote “Second Chance.” Look for a video of the track, as well.”We’re going to try to do something real visual to put the music and the face together,” Burns says. Given how the year has started, the rest of 2011 should be just as good—if not better!

For more information on Burns & Poe, check out their website.

Listen: “Second Chance

Listen: “How Long Is Long Enough

Listen: “Don’t Get No Better Than That

Watch: “Don’t Get No Better Than That

Buy: Amazon | Amazon CD | iTunes