Cleveland Singer-Songwriter Brendan Burke Taps Into ‘Relatable Emotions’ on New EP

Local singer-songwriter has shows coming up at the Winchester in September

click to enlarge Brendan Burke. - Courtesy of Brendan Burke
Courtesy of Brendan Burke
Brendan Burke.
Local singer-songwriter Brendan Burke has played and recorded music locally for almost a decade now.

“I grew up in Westlake and have always been around the West side of Cleveland,” says Burke via phone. “My dad was a big influence on my music. He helped me really get into classic rock and heavy metal and that kind of stuff. In high school, I started listening more deeply. I got into punk music. I started playing with a band called Left & Leaving. We did power-pop and pop-punk stuff. We played places like Mahall’s and the Foundry.”

When he saw singer-songwriter Frank Turner open for Social Distortion, Burke then got into folk-punk.

“[Turner] was a huge inspiration on my songwriting,” he says. “He does that folk-punk blend thing. He made me want to start out as a solo artist.”

To date, Burke has put out a couple of singles, two of which are on his new EP, The Applause That Follows.

“I recorded the album over the course of a year with John Burke down in Akron, and some of it was done at Moonlight Audio in Columbus,” says Burke.

Burke says that lyrics are a focal point for both his music and the music he listens to.

“The way I like to write lyrics is so that you can see true stories or stories that I find interesting from history,” he says. “I listen to the emotions, and I try to find out something interesting that people can listen to. My lyrics are the most powerful part of my songs; I use a lot of figurative language to draw out relatable emotions and experiences from different scenarios both true and fictional. For example, ‘Antarctica’ examines the relationship dynamics of the two men who raced to be the first to the South Pole in 1912, while ‘Chernobyl’ is sung from the perspective of a Soviet physicist who survived having a proton shot through his head in a laboratory accident.”

Burke performs on Monday, Sept. 12, and Monday, Sept. 19, at the Winchester Music Tavern in Lakewood. He also performs on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Brent Kirby’s 10x3 songwriter showcase at the Bop Stop.
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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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