SXSW Profiles

Playing Tonight

SXSW Profiles

Ed Burleson, Broken Spoke, 9pm

They just don't make 'em any more Texan than Ed Burleson. Not only is the 30-year-old Lewisville native a direct descendant of Gen. Edward Burleson, the first vice president of the Republic of Texas, he initially rode the rodeo circuit before giving it up for the somewhat less punishing world of country music. Locally, Burleson had New Braunfels songwriter Clay Blaker produce his Tornado Records debut, My Perfect World, at his Cherry Ridge Studios in Floresville. Seems it all goes back to when Burleson's dad, an old Tony Joe White compadre, played drums in various honky-tonk bands, and little Ed would would help tear down the kit at the end of the night (the elder Burleson still plays drums in his son's band). The final piece of the puzzle was meeting the Texas Tornado behind Tornado Records, Doug Sahm, who had heard his demo.

"It wasn't a week later that he called back and said he really liked it," says Burleson. "He took me under his wing and helped me out, more than I could ever expect anyone to help me out."

Understandably, Sahm's death last November hit Burleson hard, but there was also a sort of passing of the torch.

"A week before he died, we did the album release," says Burleson of a Broken Spoke gig that wound up one of Sir Doug's last onstage appearances. "The place was packed, the band was perfect, everything fell into place, and right after that he was gone. Doug helped me build my dream, and now he's not here to share it with me, and that's pretty hard to take."

Sahm's hand can be heard plainly on My Perfect World. Steadily climbing the Gavin charts since its release, the disc has garnered mentions in No Depression, Rolling Stone, Billboard, and Country Music People. Its mixture of shuffles, two-steppers, ballads, and Western Swing is as Texas as a straight stretch of two-lane blacktop. With sidemen like Bill Kirchen, Alvin Crow, Lloyd Maines, Ronnie Huckaby, and Sahm himself, country music fans are in for a dose of pure honky-tonk, unspoiled by Nashville's "young country" gloss. Ed Burleson's Perfect World sounds like the place to be.

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