Alex was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1951. He started playing harmonica at the age of five and left Glasgow for London in 1967, becoming immersed in the exciting era of popular music at the time. Alex was drawn to the black music of soul, R&B and reggae and from there soon discovered the blues. London had a vibrant blues scene at the time and Alex made sure he saw many of the great touring blues acts (Champion Jack Dupree, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Eddie Boyd) as well as the strong array of local artists. In 1970 Alex moved to the Channel Islands and learned to play guitar in the intense folk/blues circuit. In 1973 Alex came to Australia where he played extensively in the Melbourne folk clubs.
Alex has since become very popular in the Australian blues scene having performed countless venues and major festivals both solo and as a duo with great finger picker Nick Charles. His festival performances range from the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival in Byron Bay, Australia's biggest blues festival, through to Brisbane's steel guitar festival, even the famous Edinburgh festival.
Alex's discography is impressive, three albums with Nick Charles, a critically acclaimed solo Hawaiian album "Twilight blues" and after many requests Alex recorded and released, in 2004, his first solo blues album "The blues is here to stay." The following year Alex followed up with his second Hawaiian album "Alex Burns' Adventures in Paradise", again critically acclaimed. Alex yearned to play the wide variety fo music he loves, Blues, Jazz, Hawaiian even Calypso but struggled to find the right line up. Alex then met up with like minded guitarist, Jen Hawley and formed a duo, which explored early jazz and blues and yes, a bit of calypso. They then formed a larger outfit, the Alex Burns and Jen Hawley Band and released a 4 track EP in 2011. The music continues to develop with solo, duo and band work, plus the development of Club Tropicana, aband that plays Hawaiian and more!.
What people say
"It's almost a complete history of the styles of the era, done with a great deal of style"
Mike McClellan, Herald Sun Melbourne
"He's one out of the box"
Lee Howard, Sunday Herald Sun Melbourne.
"I could listen to this all day....sheer delight"
Mike Daly, The Age Melbourne.
"Blues with brains"
FYI Magazine, Business Review Weekly.
"Alex Burns is a connoisseur of interesting and beautiful music. With 6 albums to his credit, Alex is certainly becoming an elder statesman of the blues and with the likes of him around the blues is definitely here to stay."
Rooster, Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society Newsletter
"Thoroughly entertaining acrobats performed on various instruments"
Dutch Tilders, Australian Blues Artist.
"I don't think I've ever met a "National" guitar player with as much passion for the instrument and the music"
Kate Campbell, musician/songwriter
"I had no idea you have so much talent"
Dirk P. Vogel. Chairman Aloha International Steel guitar club
Tony Faehse, guitarist
Alex and Nick are not only the best blues duo in town, their knowledge and love of the idiom is excellent their blues clinic is a must.
Rob Walker, Melbourne Guitar Show
Great new originals and old classics come alive, gutsy blues performance!
Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society
These two are the best blues duo in Australia.
Sue Freeman, Adelaide
Alex Burns and Nick Charles have never failed to impress me. Their authenticity is undisputed and their original tunes world class. Great singers great players, great writers, great guys.
Gary Young, musician and radio personality.
Many are those who mourned the passing of real acoustic blues. For us they never died, we have Alex Burns and Nick Charles. Smug, yes! Grateful, you betcha!
Alan Stafford, president, Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society
Alex Burns and Nick Charles are complete musicians and they know the art of creating satisfying music. They gave our audiences a really good time.
Jamie McKew, Port Fairy Folk Festival Director
...a laid back but vibrant eclectic mix of traditional blues and country blues standards although there seemed to be a small arsenal of instruments there was little musical chaos.
Dave Dawson, Beat rnagazine, Melbourne
Instrument makers build wooden machines for musical passion. When Nick and Alex play them thats exactly what you get, musical passion at its very best.
Steve Gilchrist, Gilchrist Mandolins & Guitars
The Road More Travelled - it's on the play fist every day.
Don Young, Manager, National Resophonic Guitars
I could listen to this all day sheer delight!
Mike Daly, The Age, Melbourne
...a refreshingly enthusiastic burst at re-interpreting the blues exceptionally entertaining fare the energy of the musicians, vocally and instrumentally, conveys their love of the music. Bums and Charles sing out on each song as if they really mean it varied and unfailingly interesting fine playing adorns each song. National and acoustic guitars star but mandolin, harmonica and ukelele are all utilised at various stages. The effect - conviction.
Brian Wise, Rhythms magazine, Melbourne
Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival
East Coast Blues and Roots Festival - Byron Bay
Festival of Sydney
Melbourne International Music and Blues Festival
Port Fairy Folk Festival
Brisbane Steel Guitar festival
Brunswick Music Festival
Montsalvat Jazz Festival
Frankston Guitar Show
Bruthen Blues and Arts Festival
Bridgetown Blues Festival
Apollo Bay Music Festival
Fiji Islands - Various locations
National Style N
National Polychrome Tri-cone
John McGrath Custom Dreadnought
Beltona Resophonic Ukelele
National Tri-Cone (Hawaiian 1934)
Remington Double Stringmaster
Eastman Uptown Archtop
Harmonica's - Various
Little Queen of Spades
A Robert Johnson classic. Struts along with cool jazz chord substitutes
Going To Chicago
From Big Bill Broonzy, played with a ragtime progression, chord solo's, the lot!
Foot stompin', hand clappin, bottleneck blues, hammered out on a steel bodied tri-cone.
Stay My Hand
An original all about the struggle of temptation, played banjo fingerstyle.
Write Myself A Letter
Transposing the Fats Waller classic to guitar with chord soloing.
Acoustic rock'n'roll with vocals that tell it like it is.
You Meet The Nicest People In Your Dreams
Transposed from Fats Waller, yeah this can be ragged out on guitar!
Nearness Of You
Sinatra on a National guitar? You have to hear it!
Ragtime is the bridge between blues and jazz, it's all on this one.
Jelly Roll Baker - See You In My Dreams
Featuring that noble instrument - the ukelele
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