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Jerry Burkhart
Cupit Records
Current album: Cryin' Country

As Jerry Burkhart (who bears a striking resemblance to Trace Adkins at times) strolls into the Media Center , he looks like he just stepped out of the old west or, at least, Hollywood 's version of the old west. Handsome and tall, he greets me, in a genuine Texas drawl, with a slight tip of his cowboy hat and a soft-spoken, "Howdy, ma'am." But Burkhart isn't from Hollywood , he's the real deal. He was born and raised in Texas and when he sings, well, I would imagine that all the angels in Waylon's choir in heaven let out a collective, "amen."

"Dodging Memories" the current single release from his new album isn't only making an impression on radio. The cleverly created video of this song is also getting a lot of attention on television too. Great American Country chose Burkhart as their "Hot Pick of the Month," in the month the album was released, and featured it again the following month on their "Fast Forward" program. The song also handily beat out its competition on the syndicated, Blair Garner's After Midnight radio show.

Thanks to modern technology, the video blends some vintage footage from the popular old CBS television series, "Gunsmoke," with footage of Burkhart that was shot on a ranch just outside of Nashville . The end result makes it appear that he is actually walking into the Saloon where Marshall Dillon, Doc and Miss Kitty are waiting. In the video, as the line between reality and memories merge into dreams, Burkhart shows off an impressive left handed quick-draw in a gunfighter sequence. Cleverly done and quite impressive.

When I asked the easy-going Burkhart what he would like to talk about he flashed that quick smile of his and replied, "I'm just glad to be here and anything y'all want to talk about, is fine with me." He obviously paid attention in charm school.

He says he experienced encouraging success with "Cryin' Steel," the first release from his current album. It got him a "hot shot" position on Billboard and the good reviews that followed, got him in the "Who's New" feature in Country Weekly.

His second single released from this album was "Dodging Memories" and the third single, "Whoop-De-Doo," is set to be released soon. (And no, that is not an interjection of my personal opinion; it is the title of the next single.) “Whoop-De-Doo” is a boot-scootin', guaranteed to end up as a line dance, genuine, country song. Lot's of peddle steel and fiddle and Burkhart's voice fits traditional country music as perfectly as an expensive pair of custom made, hand-tooled, already-broke-in, cowboy boots fit a bona-fide, honest-to-goodness, cowboy.

Burkhart, who speaks so softly when he talks, holds nothing back when he sings. Although I am unable to find the right adjective to describe his voice, I can tell you this, if you don't get goose bumps when he hits the high notes at the end of "Cry Baby, Cry," you had better get yourself to a doctor 'cause your emotional meter has a major malfunction.

When I asked him about the CMA/Fest, he responded, "It's such a blast! This is my second one and, I know it's hard on everybody, but I wish it could last a whole week."

When I asked what his favorite part of it was, this father of three who brought two of his kids with him told me, "A lot of the fun for me this year is watching my kids react to how folks react to seeing me. And they are so tickled that we can valet park." He smiles a real broad smile and says, "Yep, they think that's pretty cool. It isn't being able to park in the valet area that has them excited. It is watching the reaction of all the fans, and all those cameras going off when we walk through or another artist pulls in. They are enjoying being right in the middle of things."

"Being able to meet all the folks who come out is so nice too" he continues. "I really wish I could have spent more time in the booth. It's fantastic. Everyone is so encouraging." he says. "I've met people from all across the country and a lot of folks from Europe ." He smiles, and then adds, "I think that having a good German name like 'Burkhart' doesn't hurt."

His comments about the success he is experiencing in Europe echoed what we had heard from all of the other artists who are on independent labels. "In Europe the system is very different," he told us. "Over there, radio stations don't care what label an artist is on. If folks request an artist, then radio will play them."

Like all the talented, serious, artists we met, Burkhart says that he "can't recall a time when he didn't dream of becoming a country music singer."

He says while growing up in Texas he would spend every Saturday night "listening to The Opry on the radio with my parents and I would imagine what it would be like to play on that famous stage."

After meeting Burkhart in person, and listening to Cryin' Country, I'm pretty sure that it's only a matter of time until he experiences -- first hand -- what it's like to be on that famous stage.

Feature article by Cheryl Harvey Hill (scroll down for additional comment.)


Editorial Comment: I just have to give a nod to Jerry Cupit and the folks over at Cupit Records who are creating albums with a unique sing-along system built in. All of the Cupit Record artists that I met while I was in Nashville -- Jerry Burkhart, Memarie and Brad & Shelly -- have CDs with two sets of tracks. You have the artist singing the songs and then the same songs again, without the vocals, so you can sing along. Each album insert contains the lyrics. Very cool, indeed.

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