An acoustic guitar, a curious soul, and an honest voice. In the right hands, that's all you need to create something captivating. In 2017, Tré Burt released a collection of songs recorded as voice memos on his Samsung phone. Its songs are unfussy, unpolished, and occasionally inebriated, a product of the mouse-infested “dungeon” he called home at the time. But the music it captures, a blend of old-time twang, 60s folk revival and DIY spirit, have taken Burt far beyond that Melbourne basement.
His full-length debut, Caught from the Rye, is equally of its moment, albeit a bit more polished. A few backing vocals and overdubs were even allowed into the mix. It was striking enough to catch the ear of folk legend John Prine, who was inspired to offer Burt a spot on his Oh Boy records—the first new voice added to the label in 15 years—and to recruit him on Prine’s most recent tour.
It’s not hard to figure out the appeal. Burt’s voice has its share of cracks, but it’s got clarity where it counts: in the emotion that drips from every performance, the poetry of his lyrics, and the straight-from-the-heart truth you hear in every word. The recipe is simple, but in the right hands, with the right spirit—it’s magic.