I Don’t Drive A Truck by Matt Burke is a classic cowboy song, reminding you of the good ol’days, it tells the story of Burke’s experience growing up in Florida. According to the multi-talented Burke this is the main inspiration behind his new song
“It’s a song about growing up in Florida – which gets dogged on for not truly being The South…But I was raised on Waylon and Willie and Merle and Hank – I spent my whole life in a small town in central Florida, my dad and I spent countless hours out on the St. John’s River fishing growing up, my buddies and I went muddin’ and had palate and tire fire parties in the woods…. folks are so quick to judge what it means to be “country” and I think this song comes from that place.”
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What is your stage name
Is there a story behind your stage name?
It was the name I was given at birth 😉
Where do you find inspiration?
Travel mainly – I feel like songwriting is an “output” business, so you need to make sure you’ve got good inputs coming in from travel and new experiences all the time. Just living in Nashville is a big inspiration as well, since there is so much talent around every corner.
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
I’ve always been involved with music in one way or another. Was in a nationally touring children’s choir from 3rd-7th grade, I played jazz saxophone from 6th – 12th grade, I was in rock bands in middle school and high school, I transitioned over into singer-songwriter acoustic stuff in college, I built a full blues rock band for a couple of years in Florida that gigged hard and saw some moderate success, and I’ve been fully involved in my songwriting for the past 3 years here in Nashville. Music is my life!
How could you describe your music?
I call it alt-country leaning Americana. I’m influenced heavily by 1970’s outlaw country – Hank Jr., Merle, Waylon, Willie – as well as traditional Country and Western Music like Marty Robbins and Eddy Arnold. But I’m also a fan of more mainstream, commercial-sounding country, so some of my releases have a more modern, glossy production. I like the “Americana” label because it gives me room to explore different styles and influences with my releases.
Describe your creative process.
Wake up way top early, drink way too much coffee, get to work lol. That’s the nutshell version.
I really am most creative early in morning – between 2 and 5am. I try to go to bed early most nights – not too long after sundown – so I naturally wake up around 2am each morning. Those early morning hours are so nice – no one needs anything from me, everyone else is sleeping, and it seems like ideas just come to me at that time.
I have a note on my phone with all my song titles and concepts that I update constantly. Anytime I hear a clever phrase, or an interesting way of saying something, I’ll write it down. These ideas are the seeds for the songs I write.
I also get lots of melody ideas early in the morning, so I’ve got lots of voice memos on my phone with riffs, progressions, melodies, etc.
What is your main inspiration?
My main inspiration… in life? That’s tough… I guess I’m looking for peace and contentment, just like everybody else, so that’s what drives me. But my main inspiration with my music is to reach as many people as I can – to create as many positive moments as I can.
What musician do you admire most and why?
Townes Van Zandt. He is the reason I started taking songwriting seriously. He lived a hard life, he never really got acknowledged for his work until after his death, but he wrote so many amazing songs for so many people, and his catalog was huge by the time he passed away.
He was respected in the industry, even though he wasn’t well known by the public. And he could WRITE so beautifully – he is an incredible storyteller. That’s what I’m striving for with my songs: I want to tell interesting stories and make people FEEL something.
Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?
For sure – when I released my first album with The Matt Burke Band back in 2010, it was very college-rock-jam-bandy. Fast forward to 2008 when I put out the MBB EP and the style and sound was heavily influenced by Chicago blues rock.
And then, in 2019 when I moved to Nashville to focus on my solo career as a songwriter, I embraced a more country-roots-americana vibe which I am still very much in the middle of today.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
Every mainstream major label artist. I need my music to be just as good as what the major labels are putting out if I want to rise above the noise in the independent music industry and gain true fans.
What are your interests outside of music?
I love camping and hiking and being outside, especially out West in Utah/Colorado and in the Appalachians in eastern Tennessee. I just love traveling in general – I’m never calmer or more at peace than I am when I’m out on the road.
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
Probably running a diner or a food truck or something… I don’t think I’m capable of working for anyone other than myself.
What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?
Trying to find new listeners. It’s so hard to get independent music out there without a HUGE ad-spend budget behind it. The entire music industry is in Nashville, and there are so many folks that could help me reach new people and get my music to new fans, but those doors are closely guarded and locked tight. You can’t get a “pass” through those industry doors until you get a CREDENTIAL behind your name, but you can’t get that credential without the help of the industry. It’s an endlessly frustrating catch-22.
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
I’d make it more accessible to independent musicians. I’d put more of an emphasis on old-school artist development versus the new route which seems to only take a chance on an artist if they’re already going viral on tiktok. I’d put good music first and making money second.
Why did you choose this as the title of this project?
I initially planned on calling this release “TRUCK” to keep it shorter and simpler, but I got some feedback from a publisher here in town that said “I Don’t Drive A Truck” is a more interesting title.
The song is about being a non-traditional country artist and what being country means to me, so “I Don’t Drive A Truck” is a nice little summary of that sentiment.
What are your plans for the coming months?
I’ve got SO MUCH NEW music in the works! My next single – “Won’t give Up” – will be released early in the new year and I can’t wait to get it out. I’m also putting the finishing touches on a full-length acoustic album that is due to be released in the spring, as well as a full-length fully produced album due out in the summer.
Do you have any artistic collaboration plans
Absolutely – my good friend Brian Allison (another Nashville-based singer/songwriter) and I are working on an EP of original, collaborative tunes that will be released sometime next year.
The stuff Brian and I write together is really interesting because it has a unique sound – a sound that’s different from what Brian or I do solo. We released our first song together early in 2022 – the song is called “Leaving Home” and is available on all streaming services.
What message would you like to give to your fans?
Thank you so much for supporting my music and for listening to my new song! I can’t express how much it means to me that you’ve taken the time to connect with my music and to follow my journey as a singer-songwriter. Your support means everything to me, and I am truly grateful for each and every one of you.
I hope that this song brings a little bit of fun and joy into your winter, and that it helps you escape from the stresses of the world for a little while. Thank you again for your support: It means the world to me!