“I believe in us, and together, leaving home.”
Burke and Allison met at a co-headlining gig in Allison’s native Chicago a decade ago, parting ways shortly after. When the two reunited at a bar in Nashville six years later, it sparked a conversation that led to a co-write meeting; from that meeting grew a standing weekly meeting. Then, in 2017 Allison quit his day job to pursue music full time, and in 2018 Burke began to focus on his solo career; if one believes in fate, it almost seems as though these two songwriters were meant to work together.
The pair are both rooted deeply in music, showing passion and determination from young ages. Allison’s talent runs in the family; his late father was a professional musician, and the two bonded over their shared love of playing music. Burke started writing songs at the age of 11, influenced by artists all over the map, citing Chris Stapleton and Roy Orbison as a couple. After living in several cities, Burke landed in Nashville in 2019, where he’s quickly established himself as an impressive songwriter.
Released this past Friday May 21st, their debut single “Leaving Home” is a promising glimpse into the catalog the two have created over five years of co-writes. “Escaping the confines of a small life in a small town” and “leaving to pursue something bigger,” is the duo’s concept behind the song, which sheds optimism and intrigue regarding the unknown. The song breathes new life into a familiar subject; light and heartfelt, the song plays to both the melancholy and hopefulness of a fresh start.
“Leaving Home” is so fine-tuned it’s hard to believe that this is the duo’s first release. The time spent perfecting the song is on display throughout; well-thought-out lyrics and crisp harmonies float above a rich guitar and string accompaniment. The vocals are masterfully stacked, and towards the end, nearly begin to echo each other, which builds to a finish comparable to the Allman Brothers. In addition to the vocals, the instrumental swell creates an almost cathartic rush; with each listen, the ending remains as compelling as the first time I heard it.
For Burke and Allison, life on the road was the norm long before live shows stopped, but with venues opening up again, the two have snapped right back into their usual schedules with eager anticipation. Burke has been hosting his own writer’s round this month, inviting local musicians to participate and share their music, while Allison has been in and around Nashville as well, playing gigs almost nightly. The two had a joint performance on May 12th, featuring their many years’ worth of co-writes.
It’s full-steam ahead for Matt Burke and Brian Allison; with a debut like “Leaving Home”, it is almost certain that whatever comes next will be equally as riveting and beautiful.