Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Kevin Burt
For more than 25 years Kevin Burt has been electrifying audiences throughout the Midwest dispelling the myth that true blues has no roots in Iowa. His soul-inspired presentation is unique which consistently get him compared to a range of artists like Bill Withers and Aaron Neville, with the ability to build an audience rapport that has been compared to B.B. King.
Kevin is a self-taught musician (vocals, harmonica, and guitar) whose smooth, warm vocal presentation sets a mood of relaxed exhilaration, with a welcome mixture of serious music and infectious humor audiences of all ages seem to enjoy. His voice and presence are powerful. His unique delivery ranges from the sweetest, fullest, juiciest come-on to the most playful growl. Though he performs between 325 and 400 shows a year, he holds nothing back night after night and audiences leave knowing that. Kevin has had some stage acting experience in his short career. His role as “Papa Gee” in an off Broadway play called “Klub Ka, the Blues Legend” had a two week run at LaMama’s Experimental Theater in New York City was sold out each night. It ran originally in Iowa City, and then in Washington D.C.. Burt also arranged all of the blues music for this play.
Kevin has also had roles in several other plays at the University of Iowa. Playing “Old Timer” in “Waking Niccodemus”. Also playing the role of “Whining Boy” in the acclaimed play by August Wilson, “The Piano Lesson”.
Kevin Burt has won many awards and played many festivals both solo and with his band, the Instigators. His awards include Best Entertainer in Iowa City (three times) Best Band in Iowa City (three times) Iowa Blues Challenge Champions, Named as one of the top 25 unsigned blues bands in the world by the International Blues Challenge Competition.
Festival appearances include: Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, Iowa City Jazz Festival, The Blues Foundation International Unsigned Band Challenge in Memphis, TN, Blues-stock Memphis, TN, the 1996 Smithsonian Institution Festival of American Folk life in Washington DC, the Iowa Sesquicentennial Festival of Iowa Folk life in Des Moines, IA., Boundary Waters Blues Festival, Grand Rapids, MN, No Boundary Blues Festival, Proctor, MN, Iowa City Jazz Festival, Iowa City, IA, Central Iowa Blues Society Winter and Summer Festivals Des Moines, IA, Freedom Festival Cedar Rapids, IA, Prairie Dog Blues Festival, Prairie Duchien, WI, North Liberty Barbeque and Blues Fest, North Liberty, IA, Blues Under the Trees Fort Dodge, IA, Bluesmore Cedar Rapids.
In a comparably short career, Kevin Burt has shared the stage in one form or another with a who’s who in the music world. B.B. King, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Luther Allison, Bernard Allison, Junior Wells, Robert Lockwood Jr., David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Lonnie Brooks, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Wayne Baker Brooks, Blues Traveler, Head East, Molly Hatchet, Three Dog Night, Michael Hill’s Blues Mob, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Chubby Carrier, Terrance Simieon, Dan Zanes, The Holmes Brothers, Tony Brown, Jerry Dugger, Ken Valdez.
Kevin is also recognized as one of the Midwest’s top blues heritage educators. This honor was given to him by the Governor of Iowa, Chet Culver in February of 2009. Kevin is a registered artist, and artist educator with the state of Iowa Arts Council. He has also written and published a classroom harmonica method book called “Just Play It: an introduction to blues harmonica.” His approach is simple, education through entertainment. His program has been going strong since 1994. Burt plans to continue this work as well as his community work with Children and the arts. With the support of his family and community, good things will be happening for Kevin “B.F.” Burt in 2019.
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