Burt belts the blues

Posted by on March 5, 2019 with 0 Comments
Blues musician Kevin Burt provided a history lesson, motivational speech, and concert wrapped into one for UTHS students last Tuesday. (Photo by Carolyn Foster)

by Mr. Schou

UT students were treated to a history lesson wrapped in the blues from Iowa City musician Mr. Kevin Burt last Tuesday.  The Mississippi Valley Blues Society sponsors visiting artists each year to travel to schools to speak and perform during February, which is Black History Month.  Mr. Burt, who recently won the solo/duo division in the 34th Annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, excelled at both in front of a rapt UT audience.

While Mr. Burt has chosen to perform a mainly blues repertoire, he veered into 70s R&B and soul with his original songs and cover songs he made his own by altering the stylistic approach to the song.  While many students chose Mr. Burt’s song he wrote for his daughters as their favorite, his re-imagining of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” as a heartfelt slow blues number was popular, also.

Sophomore Kirsten Webber commented, “I could hear the emotion in his voice, especially when he covered the Beatles and the song for his daughters. I had chills throughout his performance.”

Burt also talked about the roots of the blues from slaves singing in the fields and traced the migration of the people and music northward.  As he talked about how music branched out, Mr. Burt encouraged his listeners to “Enjoy the buffet!”  This was his way of saying that listeners need to break away from what is fed to them on pop radio and sample other variations and “recipes” of music. 

Aaliyah Ball said, “It was nice to have someone push the idea of exploring new music and going beyond what is on the radio.”

After the first presentation to a varied audience, Mr. Burt followed up with another class period for students in the music and Studies programs.  During this time Mr. Burt encouraged students to overcome the fear that may stop them from performing (whether in music, class, or sports) for themselves.  Mr. Burt said, “Nervousness is your body telling you that the thing you are doing is important to you.”

If that wasn’t enough, Mr. Burt also composed a song on the spot with crowd input for lyrics, which led to a composition including the words “pineapple,” “school,” and “death.”

Sophomore Alexis Rosenthal summed it up well by saying, “He was very inspirational and had many lessons for us in not just music, but life.”

(For more about Kevin Burt, visit https://bfburt.com/.  Read more about  sponsoring agency the Mississippi Valley Blues Society at http://www.mvbs.org/.)

Filed Under: Features, Uncategorized

Place your advertising here!

Contact bschou@uths.net for information and rates.

Comments are closed.