Eric Burgett isn’t your everyday modern country musician, having as much in common with Billy Joel or Ronnie Milsap as with Thomas Rhett or Luke Bryan. He’s a piano player with master’s degree in piano pedagogy, bringing that rare keyboard sensibility to the country stage that only a few – Charlie Rich, Phil Vassar and Milsap come to mind – have succeeded with. Now Burgett, who has opened for artists like Vassar, Chris Stapleton and Charlie Worsham, is celebrating his return to the road, and the release of his latest single, “Turnt.”
With Covid restrictions lifting, Burgett has been able to book live dates again, playing several regions and even booking a slot on next year’s 2022 Country Fest in Wisconsin with Florida Georgia Line, Sara Evans and others. “I’ve just been at it non-stop,” he said, “putting my face and my name in front of as many people as possible. Playing new venues like Stoney’s out in Vegas, and Moonshine Beach and Moonshine Flats out in San Diego. We’ll have done close to 20 dates between September and the beginning of December, so I’m really pumped about that.”
Burgett is travelling both with his full band and just by himself in his truck with his Nord keyboard, on a solo tour named for one of his 2018 singles. “It’s ‘The Town You Never Heard of Truck Bed’ tour,” he said, “where I put my piano in the back of my truck bed and I play these up-close-and-personal and private concerts for folks. I put a feeler out on Facebook to see who might be interested, and a lot of folks loved the idea. Even my neighborhood in Nashville wanted a truck bed concert, so I parked my truck by the end of the drive and did one!”
Burgett’s music is produced by Matt McClure (Lee Brice, Canadian star Aaron Goodvin), who, like Burgett, is a native of a small town in Central Illinois. “I record everything with Matt, we first met when I moved to town back in 2012,” Burgett said. “We’re just two farm kids from two different Illinois towns, and he moved to Nashville many years before I did. But we both have those roots that go way deep there.”
When the subject came up about how competitive the music business in Nashville is, Burgett said, “I’m in competition with myself more than anything. I’m always trying to be better, get better with each song I put out, putting a stronger performance on the stage. We’re putting out a song every six weeks, and we’re promoting the heck out of each single. And I create all my own lyric videos for them – there’s nothing cooler than putting a visual to your own song.”
Given his expert knowledge of music in general, one would think that Burgett might also be able to front his band on guitar. But if he can pick, he’s not telling. “You put me behind a guitar and I don’t feel like myself,” he simply said. “I love the 88 keys, man.”
You can find out when Burgett’s truck is pulling into your town at ericburgett.com.