2014 was a year better left to the history books. Living through it was exciting, but only in the way living through the violence and uncertainty of the late 1960’s might have been. While many are still shaking their heads at the social inequity of rampant police murder, or more infuriatingly the lack of justice that has accompanied it, signs of encouragement came from other directions. The creeping approximation of equality for the LGBTQ community and the loosening of the (racially inspired) draconian War on Drugs ideology that has been in effect for over a century means as a nation we are awakening from a deep, deep sleep in certain respects. Albeit that awakening comes at the expense of total ignorance to other ongoing issues.
It is a crisis of identity we are experiencing in America. With every passing generation we are faced with the failures of our collective past and in response do our best to choose a better path. But the wheels of democracy and legislature are slow. It is a monstrous machine we’ve created, and with every gear spun in the right direction we are left with an abundance of other maintenance issues. Some of the levers have totally rusted out, and as our identity continues to grow and expand, the tired machine chugs on under its original 18th century design.
It was with the changing face of the nation and all its associated growing pains in mind singer/songwriter Jeremy Bursich recorded his first full length album, appropriately titled “America.” The Delaware native paid tribute to the less than cheery aspects of America’s history in the titular track.
“AMERICA tells the story of someone growing up and realising that they’re surrounded by sexism, racism, homophobia and ridiculously unachievable societal standards. The kind of standards that don’t build people up or create communities or encourage the common good, but rather tear down people that are different and make them out to be less than [they are.]”
Bursich’s sound is immediately identifiable for his uniquely sparse arrangements and minimalist structure. Singing in a deep baritone one draws parallels between Bursich and an early Leonard Cohen. Though the singer prefers the indie moniker for his music there is definite folk feel sprawling throughout the 11 tracks of America. While the use of backing instruments and technical decoration would certainly fit the burgeoning indie genre, song topics and lyrical content fall decidedly within the first person POV made famous by the dustbowl heroes of the 30’s and urban troubadours of the 60’s.
Tackling issues like unplanned pregnancy, bigotry, and violence Bursich illustrates the unpopular choice to add substance to his music. How refreshing these days to encounter a musician that places thought above entertainment. And much like the nation itself Bursich’s work is still in it’s infancy. There are certain missteps on America to be sure, but it seems this young songwriter is on the right path. We expect great things from him.