North Country, the acoustic-based new album from transatlantic troubadour Danny Burns, not only benefits from Burns’ richly textured vocals and keen storytelling, but also from the Irish-born artist’s musical kinships with Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Holly Williams, Dan Tyminski and Mindy Smith, among others. The result is a collection of songs kindled by the Donegal native’s ancestral home and set ablaze with the aid of some of bluegrass and Americana’s finest exports.
Among the LP’s most irresistible tracks is the buoyant “Look Into Her Eyes,” a fiddle- and Dobro-driven tune that’s lifted off the ground by the even more thrilling vocal blend of Burns, Bush and Williams.
“For ‘Look Into Her Eyes,’ I had an idea to blend Louisiana Cajun sounds with a bit of an O Brother vibe, mainly focusing on the three-part harmony,” Burns tells Rolling Stone Country. “I’d first met up with Sam and Jerry Douglas and they were way into the song, then I invited Holly to be a part of it and she loved the vibe, too. I’d really loved her song and production on ‘Drinkin” [from Williams’ 2013 LP The Highway]. Her voice and everything to do with that sounded so moving. Critter [Fuqua] from Old Crow Medicine Show got some accordion on there, then Jerry slammed in on Dobro, and me and Sam filled in the rest.”
Self-produced by Burns, North Country was largely recorded at famed producer-engineer Gary Paczosa’s home studio in Nashville, as well as the Butcher Shoppe, the studio co-owned by John Prine and David “Fergie” Ferguson. Additional tracks on the LP, like the glorious “Hummingbee” and the haunting ballad “Darling Roisin,” celebrate the musical legacy of Burns’ homeland, while also evoking the artistry of influences such as Richard Thompson and Steve Earle.
North Country will be released January 18th. Burns will mark the album’s release with a January 7th show at Nashville’s City Winery, and will play Asheville, North Carolina’s Grey Eagle on January 11th with the Travelin’ McCourys before continuing on tour throughout January and February.