Not every day does a legendary country music singer give his stamp of approval on a project. Willie Nelson has just done that on a project with Jim Burns called “The Sound of Willie.” With a voice as distinguishable as Nelson’s, it would come as a surprise to hear someone sing just like him.
Jim Burns was raised just across the Ohio River from Kentucky. The Ohio native began playing and honing his craft in guitar playing and singing. It wasn’t long that folks noticed the similarities of his voice to that of Willie Nelson. I recently sat down with Jim Burns and talked about his Willie Nelson tribute show.
“Several of my friends said that they thought I was playing a record of Willie Nelson and lip-syncing. Little did they know, it was actually me singing,” Jim Burns recalled.
Before he proceeded with the Sound of Willie project, Jim Burns worked on the road with country music singers Gary Allan, Trace Adkins, and Jamey Johnson. During a hometown concert in Cincinnati, Jamey Johnson allowed Burns to come out on stage and perform. “It was surreal to be able to play at the Taft Theater in front of the fans. That was a memorable night with Jamey and Randy Houser as part of the CMT Tour,” Burns said. That night opened a lot of ears to the talents of Jim Burns.
Beyond Willie Nelson, Jim Burns musical influences include Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, and Billy Joe Shaver. According to Jim, “I’m a fan of traditional country music. I enjoy story telling songs and those that have a true meaning today. I’ve written a few songs and understand how hard it can be to perfect the songwriting skill.”
These days, Jim Burns is preserving the sound of traditional country music with his tribute to Willie Nelson. He has been featured at several locations throughout Central Kentucky and Ohio. Fans can check out his tour dates, as well as obtain more information on him by going to www.soundofwillie.com. He is available for acoustic and full band bookings as well.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.