Co. Down experimental folk singer Joshua Burnside talks South American strains and his new album Ephrata.
The sounds from Joshua Burnside’s latest album, Ephrata, were collected during his travels to South America. “I had a cousin who was living in Colombia for a while, and they invited me over for a few months,” he recalls. “I’ve always been drawn to South American styles, so I played with some local musicians. I brought a few of those influences back when I recorded the album in Ireland. I’d love to go over again to actually record out there.”
Burnside has never shied away from mixing genres, as his music combines Irish and Latin American themes with a melancholy, pensive folk sound. “Songwriting has helped me a lot, it’s a very therapeutic process. I’ve worked it into my lyrics, like with ‘Blood Drive’, the lead single. It’s a story that’s not necessarily about me, but I can deal with my emotions via the characters in the song.”
Though he separates himself from the characters in his songs, Burnside does take inspiration from his own experiences. “The song ‘Ephrata’, it’s the name of this tiny town in Pennsylvania where we got stuck on tour. We stayed with a friend of a friend, he was the son of a minister who recently passed away, and he said, ‘You can stay in my dad’s room.’ Nothing had changed since he died, it was strange. One night there was a fire down the road, and there were sirens all night. But we didn’t know what was going on, we thought it was a nuclear holocaust. We’d been driving all day, so we were kind of in that half asleep, half awake state that makes everything more surreal. That’s where the song comes from, and that mood is there throughout the album.”
See: Joshua Burnside plays Bello Bar, Dublin on June 15.
Hear: His new album, Ephrata, is available now.