James Justin Burke has grown into his acclaim like an easy-surging coastal swell rather than a crashing wave. You could say that he is doing it the old-fashioned way â€“ through great songs and hard work.
Dark Country is the sophomore release from Burke; a worthy follow up to his debut, Southern Son, So Far, which not only put him on the map, but propelled him from coast to coast spreading his salt water gospel. Like its predecessor, the new offering was recorded at on Johns Island, a low-key outlier of Charleston, South Carolina, with backing support from Bailey Horsely, Tom Propst, and David Vaughan . And although low-key often also defines Burkeâ€™s style and is ever-present on the choice cuts â€œCity Light Stringsâ€ and â€œLove Me Too,â€ he mines tense undercurrents on the throbbing title track, introducing a new facet to his sound. But even with this new turn, he holds fast to the songs, breathing soulful life into the gorgeously austere â€œGive You My Heartâ€ and the glowing â€œSimple Love.â€
Dark Country is James Justin Burkeâ€™s finest work so far. It is safe to say that his tide is on the rise and coming up strong.
Dark Country is out now.