Mimi Burns Band / Brave Journey
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You’re not likely to find any other band that sounds like The Mimi Burns Band. In fact, I dare you to try. Brave Journey seems to mix traditional Irish, Afro-Cuban rhythms, symphonic grandiosity and Uriah Heep. You’ve got a U.K.-born guitarist, a Midwest gal with some serious pipes, a classically trained violinist and round it out with a highly competent rhythm section. They make a style of music that falls into its own category; no genre of this type existed before The Mimi Burns Band. What is that genre? Celtic progressive folk. That’s mine. I made that up. But I think it fits this band like a pair of Celtic finger gauntlets.
When Mimi Burns met UK-born guitarist Steve Tyler back in 1997, the two found an instant musical connection. They then met and began collaborating with Derek Reeves who played violin with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. So began The Mimi Burns Band. Adding principal players William Brown IV and Bryan Nellems in the drums and percussion department and Gonzalo Carrera on keys pushed the band into the totally unique sound they now have.
Brave Journey opens with “Stone of Scone,” a big rocker of a song that starts out like Emerson ,Lake and Paulmer playing an Irish jig. Burns walks the line between classical control and blues belting with her voice, while the organ/guitar/violin interplay give the song a 70s rock sound – something along the lines of Kansas jammin’ with Santana. “Gypsy Dance” starts out quietly at first; then the lead guitar comes in and sounds as if Gary Moore decided to come back from the great beyond for one last recording. More guitar and fiddle interplay takes you from the Midwest to The Shire before the drums and percussion come in and the songs gets a Weather Report vibe happening before going back to the rolling green fields of Ireland. ‘
“Humbled Ground” sounds a lot like Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” at first. Then Burns and her kilt-wearing brood kick it in and make it into something completely their own. “Don’t Forget Me” starts out sounding like Tori Amos covering the Halloween theme music. Then multi-layered guitars come in and take us out of John Carpenter’s classic slasher film and we’re transported to Europe in the 80s at a Scorpions concert. They get pretty close to rocking out on “Women of Lockerbie” in which an almost straight-up rock n’ roll boogie rhythm moves the song along before the fiddle comes in and brings up back to Middle Earth. The album ends on the pretty, a capella “Exalt.”
This is a very original, quite unique album and band. If you’re in the mood for The Chieftains, The Corrs, Kansas, Uriah Heep, Gary Moore or The Buena Vista Social Club, look no further than The Mimi Burns Band. They take all of those influences and stir it in the pot to make something completely unique, original and quite enjoyable. Luck of the Irish? Nah. Luck has nothing to do with it.