Employing wry humor, dexterous guitar work and drawing on a rich variety of life experiences, Todd Burge has emerged as one of West Virginia's most prolific singer/songwriters. Burge, has played everything from Alternative Rock (63 Eyes, The Larries) to Contemporary Folk, performing concerts at festivals and in venues as diverse as CBGB’s & Joe’s Public Theatre in NYC, The Country Music Hall of Fame, The Kennedy Center, and of course, literally hundreds of clubs including the obscure, to the world famous Caffe Lena, Club Passim and Music City Roots. He has been a repeat guest on NPR's Mountain Stage and has been called the “West Virginia’s premier songwriter”, by its host, Larry Groce.
In 2014, Burge wrote 13 songs for a musical adaptation of Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare. Burge, who might be known by many for his method of writing songs from the perspective of odd characters, humans, bugs and animals (listen to Building Characters produced by Don Dixon of R.E.M fame) released an album of very personal songs in 2015 entitled Imitation Life. The recording was produced by long term collaborator and two time Grammy winner, Tim O’Brien. The album includes his original song, “Change” (For Clean Water) which features Kathy Mattea on backing vocals. In 2016 Burge released Live at Mountain Stage 2006-2015. The 17 track CD features his many performances from the popular NPR radio show and podcast. It also captures the essence of his live energy and, at times hilarious storytelling. Burge resides in Parkersburg WV with his wife Lisa and their children, Will and Sophia.
Tell us about playing the NPR Mountain Stage…
Well, it has been a real boost for me, getting me shows in many cities and markets that might not have heard of me otherwise. The show is a well-oiled machine that one should really go see live to fully appreciate. The Mountain Stage Band is amazing too. They have backed up many performers over the years. Normally, I’ll send them an mp3 of a couple songs I would like to have them perform on, we’ll run over it once the day of the show, then play it live on the radio and web stream for thousands of listeners that night. They are there for any act who might need them and they can play just about any genre. Over the years I have performed on Mountain Stage with some really great acts including Lucinda Williams, Bela Fleck, Tim O’Brien, Jason Isbell, Pere Ubu, The Low Anthem and more.
What is next for Todd Burge?
I’m always working on new music and will certainly release a new studio album next year sometime, but before that, I’m going to be on the road a lot, touring in support of this new album. I have shows lined up in NYC, MD, KY, TN, WV, OH and more. Rumor has it I might return to The Mountain Stage by the end of this year. I’m also working on a “one man show” of sorts with the working title, Truth, Lies and Sex Drives. It will be intertwined with music.