Interview with Sinead Burgess

With an ever growing fanbase and their new album released earlier this year, The Shires recent and extensive “ Accidentally On Purpose “ tour saw the UK duo playing bigger venues than ever.
Even before I caught their excellent Oxford show there was already a considerable buzz about opener Sinead Burgess, and from the moment she stepped onto the stage of the city’s New Theatre I saw why.
Playing a selection of songs from her upcoming album “ Damaged Goods” her set was polished and confident and her material impressive.
I’m happy to say Sinead agreed to tell us more about herself and her music, including the new album of course! Keep an eye open for her name if it is new to you, I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more about this Aussie native ( now Nashville resident) in the near future! – Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)

1. LH So, Sinead, starting with the present, and you’ve just been out on the road with The Shires on their UK tour, something I gather was instigated by a chance meeting with the duo’s Ben Earle in a Nashville bar?

SB The U.K. tour with The Shires was an absolute DREAM! I happened to be playing a place called The Row late last year on a quiet Monday night, and had the chance meeting with Ben while he was there having dinner watching me play. The 3 of us became fast friends and had an incredible time in town while they were in Nashville writing for their record ‘Accidentally On Purpose’. Somewhere in the midst of all that, they told me they wanted to take me out on the road to support them, and to be honest, I didn’t think it would actually happen!! But, low and behold a few months later, I was sharing a tour bus with some of my favorite people on the planet, playing the most incredible shows in the beautiful U.K.!!

2. LH If the reception I witnessed you getting at the Oxford show is anything to go by, you won over a whole load of new fans as a result! Were you surprised at the response to your set?

SB I was absolutely humbled beyond belief with the response. There’s always a feeling of wondering whether a new crowd and country will enjoy your music. Especially considering my songs are really just personal stories! You wonder whether that will relate, you know? But I was really taken by the amount of people who spoke to me after the shows and online about how they really felt some of the songs were talking about their lives. That’s the greatest feeling you can ever have as a songwriter!

3. LH You performed several tracks from your forthcoming album “ Damaged Goods” ( available pre-release at the shows too!), an album you really took control of didn’t you? You are credited as songwriter/producer/multi instrumentalist/ lead and backing vocalist……was this important to you after your earlier experiences in the music business, something you touch upon in the title track ?

SB I think it was really important for me to have a joyous creative experience where I could just make a rough and ready record that FELT right. I didn’t want to lose myself or the songs in bells and whistles. I wanted the mistakes, the cracking in my voice, the honesty. I think this record was super important for me to make this way, because I truly just wanted to fall in love with music again in its purest form; truth & feeling. I play so many live acoustic shows, just me, my guitar and stomp box, that I really wanted to create a similar feeling to what everyone just heard at the show! 

4. LH And it was recorded in Nashville in just three days! That must have been an exhausting but ultimately exhilarating experience?

SB It was absolutely wonderfully exhausting….! Ha! It definitely felt like a massive amount to bite off, and it was. Thank God Matt Legges & Ben Cowherd were such troopers! We pulled all nighters, went a little stir crazy on coffee overdoses and even loaded out at 5am on the last night in the snow! But it was magic. Such a special 3 days, I can’t even tell you. There is an incredible synergy that begins to happen when you work non-stop like that. But would I do that again in that short amount of time? Probably not. Haha!

5. LH I’m privileged to have heard the album pre-release, and a lot of songs seem to have written from a very personal perspective. There’s a lot of heartbreak and soul searching going on if I am correct? Do you find writing therapeutic?

SB Wow, you’re really bang on with your incite on this record! Ha! It’s definitely from personal perspective & incredibly therapeutic for me. I kind of forgot for many years that that’s what music is supposed to be. Anytime I’ve needed to get through something in my life, or celebrated great times, I’ve always turned to listening to music. I have my go- to records that make me feel something. As a writer, I would always write real songs that dealt with my actual feelings, but for some reason never really did anything with them. They would kind of just sit in my voice memos on my phone and that was that. But I started to realize that the whole point is to share the hardships, the pain, the joy, the brutal honesty, because that’s being a human being. We’re messy and conflicted and emotional, and that’s ok! I think we’re always soul searching if we’re paying attention!

6. LH Live you are so confident and engaging, and your incredible energy takes the songs to a totally different level. You started performing at a young age back in Australia didn’t you?

SB I did! My first real job was playing in a bar on a Sunday when I was 14. I’d load my gear in every weekend with my Mum and Dad & play for hours. Since then I’ve played pretty constantly and absolutely love every second. There is something about the feeling you get playing a live show that is absolutely addictive. It’s almost out of body. There’s no happier place you’ll find me than on a stage playing music.

7. LH Are you from a musical family and have they been supportive of your career choice and your decision to move to the States to follow your dreams?

SB My folks aren’t necessarily musical, but they LOVE music. They’ve had it playing everyday in the house since before I was born. They definitely introduced me to some great music growing up. I remember vividly Elton John, ELO, The Beatles, Muddy Waters, Fleetwood Mac- the list was never ending. My parents have literally been my absolute rocks through my music journey. They are incredibly, incredibly supportive and never once told me to go and get a ‘real job’. Which, honestly, has kept me going in the harder times. They are such good moral compasses for me too. They’re both very hard workers and taught me young that if you want something, you have to go out and work your ass off. And it’s something that sticks with me everyday.

8.LH Which artists have you drawn inspiration from over the years and what was it about the country genre that appealed to you?

SB I have pulled so much inspiration from so many different artists over the years, that the only real common thread is heartfelt songs! I love Sheryl Crow, Tom Petty, Eva Cassidy, Patty Griffin, Fleetwood Mac, Brandi Carlile, Coldplay, U2, Glen Hansard- the list is a mile long!
I actually started in country music when I was quite young. Then I took a bit of a genre journey as a writer and pushed myself to write in a lot of other formats, which honestly was probably the best thing I could have done. It made me such a stronger writer. But I feel deep down, my music always had a ‘country’ flavored feeling in those honest songs I never released. I guess the thing about country that has always appealed to me is how honest it is. They’re stories. Real experiences. Anytime I felt like I was being truly honest in music, it always had a slight country feel to it. But Country is so diverse now that I feel like it’s wide open, which means more and more music fans are discovering it & finding themselves falling in love with country music!

9. LH What are the chances you’ll be returning to the UK for some headline shows at some point in the near future?

SB I am actually working on a return tour right now! You can’t keep me away! Haha. I had the absolute time of my life in the U.K.. It’s somewhere I’ve ALWAYS wanted to tour, and now I can not wait to come back and do some intimate solo shows… the sooner the better!

LH That’s fantastic news, I hope you will keep us updated with those plans!
Many thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions and I hope to see you again before too long!

We will be reviewing the album “ Damaged Goods” nearer to its release date of August 17th, but it is available to pre-order right now via the following link https://sineadburgessmusic.lnk.to/DamagedGoods 

And of course you can keep in touch with all her news on the usual social media sites. 
Interview conducted by Lesley Hastings

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