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(From left to right) drummer John Paul Thomas, frontman Brandon “Broke String” Burnett, and bassist Jacob Martinez want to take you on a little trip. Photo by Brooks Burris

Brandon “Broke String” Burnett hasn’t broken a guitar string onstage in a good while. His nickname has stood the test of time for a reason — he plays hard.

He also works hard. After years of plying local stages and writing new material, he’s set to release his debut album in February.

Recorded in an improvised home studio with old friend Calan Rawl, Doppelgänger is 12 tracks of moody, dark, old-school country in the vein of Orville Peck and Sturgill Simpson, with psychedelic, Radiohead-esque flourishes. Think of it as “cosmic country.”

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Along with Burnett on vocals and rhythm guitar and producer Rawl on keys, Jacob Martinez handles bass and vocals, John Paul Thomas drums, and Robbie Saunders steel and lead guitar.

Burnett: “I feel like we just had fun, really, and once we decided on the title, Doppelgänger, everything fit perfectly.”
Photo by Jessica Rambo

Burnett and Rawl have been wanting to get into the studio for a while now. Rawl, Burnett said, “really gets me and my songwriting. I feel like he captured that wide open, kind of cinematic feel of my songs, which is something we had always talked about concerning making something one day.”

After taking a brief hiatus from gigging to form his backing band and track the album, Burnett said he is more than happy with the recordings and plans on breaking all the strings this year.

“Rawl did a lot regarding the time signatures and flow of the album,” Burnett said about the production. “There’s a lot of thought put into the reflection and an inclination of duality on the album. There are hopeful songs and others we call ‘hell songs,’ and there are songs in between I call ‘gray songs.’ ”

The production came easy and happened in a very organic way, Burnett said. Songs like “She Turned into a Shadow” and “Ghost Town” were both kind of typical, slow-country strummed songs at first, Burnett said.

Rawl, however, “suggested doing down strokes for those tracks,” Burnett continued. “It flowed better in sequence and even made them more haunting. I feel like we just had fun, really, and once we decided on the title, Doppelgänger, everything fit perfectly.”

For Rawl’s first effort as a producer, he drew from his experience scoring student films. “The ambience of the record worked well with the shared themes after mixing and mastering the album’s imagery,” he said, which helped the concepts on the album. “We spent a lot of time thinking about it and how we wanted to represent the record’s Twilight Zone-like mood.”

Burnett and Rawl plan to put out more music next year as a production company.

“I don’t have a name,” Rawl said, “but I am interested in the idea of working with a label or other musician.”

Burnett teased the album by releasing the single “Got It Bad” last month via BrokeStringBurnett.com and all streaming platforms. Two more teaser singles are on the way.

“The goal when we started was to make something epic and to build a band in the process,” Burnett said. “I hope to get this album in front of as many ears as possible, and we just want to put on good shows.”

 

Broke String Burnett
Fri w/Cory Cross at Twilite Lounge,
212 Lipscomb St, FW. 817-720-5483.
• Album release party Fri, Feb 3, w/The Rye Boys at The Post at River East, 2925 Race St, FW. $10. 817-945-8890.

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