Tag Archives: Laura Burhenn

Laura Burhenn

November 18, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

There’s a lyrical tradition that seems to stem from popular songs titled “Omaha.” It’s a tradition that often involves the personification of the flyover city as a dependable friend or even a former lover waiting to be rediscovered for its less-exciting comforts. Waylon Jennings defects to San Francisco in his narrative but admits he “never really left it all” when crooning about Omaha. The Everly Brothers find D.C. and L.A. uninspiring compared to an Omaha that comprises “everything that [they] wanted.” And the Counting Crows are “coming home” to “roll a new love over.”

While Laura Burhenn’s “Omaha” perhaps involuntarily participates in this same ceremony on her latest Saddle Creek release Lovers Know, the Mynabirds singer-songwriter breaks one major trope: Her melancholy rendition makes no assumptions that the community she left two years ago would welcome her back if she wanted to return.

“That song was the hardest song for me to write and I almost didn’t even want to put it on the record because it’s so personal,” Burhenn, 35, says on the phone from her L.A. home. “Here I am, my heart is totally broken open and it’s like, ‘Here you go, guys!’”

LauraBuhrenn2

The D.C. native who moved to Nebraska in the late naughts says she wrote most of “Omaha” upon returning to the city after a grueling world tour with The Postal Service in 2013. At the time, Burhenn says she was having difficulty reconciling her life’s purpose of traveling as a touring musician with sustaining a relationship with her community.

“I feel like this is what the universe always does to you,” she explains, describing the budding disconnect she began to experience with Omaha. “You’re riding this wave of optimism and power and everything is amazing and perfect…and all of a sudden you just get crushed.”

Windows down, music loud, Burhenn says she took off in her car as a sort of therapeutic response to her existential pains, prompting a two-year odyssey that she would eventually package as Lovers Know.

“This record is probably my midlife crisis,” she says with a laugh. “Instead of buying a sports car, I took my dog and went camping all over the U.S.”

Burhenn’s journey, she says, reacquainted her with ’90s shoegaze and R&B, both of which stylistically pervade what she describes as her most emotionally unguarded material to date. And then there’s “Omaha,” which sonically sticks out like a logo-clad Woodmen Tower.

The minimalistic ballad, relying heavily on a tear-inducing piano lick and a sentimental ambiance, confronts the city, asking, “Will you still call me darling?” and “Will I still be your girl?” But “Omaha” is more than just an introspective look into Burhenn’s fear of letting down her former community: It’s also a love letter, a runaway note, a spiritual confession, a eulogy, an ode, and even a brochure. And ultimately, the song is a clue to unlocking its hosting album’s mysterious title:

“Lovers know that sometimes real intimacy can be beautiful and wonderful, but it can also be heartbreaking and treacherous,” says the artist who appeared at Slowdown in September.

”But even as dark as it gets,” Burhenn adds, “you still have this seed of hope.”

Visit themynabirds.com to learn more.

LauraBuhrenn

Laura Burhenn

September 11, 2015 by
Photography by Jessica Ewald

There’s a lyrical tradition that seems to stem from popular songs titled “Omaha.” It’s a tradition that often involves the personification of the flyover city as a dependable friend or even a former lover waiting to be rediscovered for its less-exciting comforts. Waylon Jennings defects to San Francisco in his narrative but admits he “never really left it all” when crooning about Omaha. The Everly Brothers find D.C. and L.A. uninspiring compared to an Omaha that comprises “everything that [they] wanted.” And the Counting Crows are “coming home” to “roll a new love over.”

While Laura Burhenn’s “Omaha” perhaps involuntarily participates in this same ceremony on her latest Saddle Creek release Lovers Know, the Mynabirds singer-songwriter breaks one major trope: Her melancholy rendition makes no assumptions that the community she left two years ago would welcome her back if she wanted to return.

“That song was the hardest song for me to write and I almost didn’t even want to put it on the record because it’s so personal,” Burhenn, 35, says on the phone from her L.A. home. “Here I am, my heart is totally broken open and it’s like, ‘Here you go guys!'”

The D.C. native who moved to Nebraska in the late naughts says she wrote most of “Omaha” upon returning to the city after a grueling world tour with The Postal Service in 2013. At the time, Burhenn says she was having difficulty reconciling her life’s purpose of traveling as a touring musician with sustaining a relationship with her community.

“I feel like this is what the universe always does to you,” she explains, describing the budding disconnect she began to experience with Omaha. “You’re riding this wave of optimism and power and everything is amazing and perfect…and all of a sudden you just get crushed.”

Windows down, music loud, Burhenn says she took off in her car as a sort of therapeutic response to her existential pains, prompting a two-year odyssey that she would eventually package as Lovers Know.

“This record is probably my midlife crisis,” she says with a laugh. “Instead of buying a sports car, I took my dog and went camping all over the U.S.”

Burhenn’s journey, she says, reacquainted her with ’90s shoegaze and R&B, both of which stylistically pervade what she describes as her most emotionally unguarded material to date. And then there’s “Omaha,” which sonically sticks out like a logo-clad Woodmen Tower.

The minimalistic ballad, relying heavily on a tear-inducing piano lick and a sentimental ambiance, confronts the city, asking, “Will you still call me darling?” and “Will I still be your girl?” But “Omaha” is more than just an introspective look into Burhenn’s fear of letting down her former community: It’s also a love letter, a runaway note, a spiritual confession, a eulogy, an ode, and even a brochure. And ultimately, the song is a clue to unlocking its hosting album’s mysterious title:

“Lovers know that sometimes real intimacy can be beautiful and wonderful, but it can also be heartbreaking and treacherous,” says the artist who will appear at Slowdown on Sept. 17.

”But even as dark as it gets, you still have this seed of hope.”

 

Details for the performance:

THE MYNABIRDS with Bad Bad Hats and High Up

Thursday, Sept. 17 at 9 p.m.

Slowdown, 729 N 14th St.

Tickets $10 each, available at www.theslowdown.com

Mynabirds1

Believe the Omahype

February 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Omaha resident Will Simons has worn many hats. As the managing editor of the now defunct Omaha City Weekly, he flexed his journalistic prowess while balancing a music career in the local band Thunder Power and jumpstarting his own business venture, Omahype. The curated online events calendar aims to provide locals with all of their entertainment needs. It solves the problem of having to sift through several different websites and papers just to find out what’s going on, plus it’s optimized for mobile operating systems. Simons had a little help coming up with the concept.

“I can’t say it was my idea initially. It was definitely a team effort. I used to interview local musicians at a previous job. One of those interviews was with Laura Burhenn, who, at the time, was a recent Omaha transplant from D.C. She was about to release the debut album for her group, The Mynabirds,” Simons explains. “She mentioned that she was in the early stages putting together an online youth culture-oriented events calendar and blog for the Omaha area and asked if I’d liked to help out. Of course, I said yes. With a background in arts and entertainment journalism, I knew Omaha sorely needed a one-stop website that listed all the best events in town for a younger, more culture-savvy audience. What sealed the deal was when Laura told me that two of the most talented web designers in town, Dave Nelson and Cody Peterson [of Secret Penguin], were already on board to help build it.”

Getting it off the ground hasn’t exactly been simple. To run Omahype successfully, obtaining multiple advertisers is key for Simons and the rest of the team. People are slowing coming around, but with all four founders having time-consuming day jobs (and rock careers), it’s difficult to juggle it all. However, Simons is working on a solution.

“The biggest challenge is generating enough money from advertising to justify someone working for Omahype full-time. I am transitioning into a part-time situation at my job so I can direct most of my energy toward Omahype,” he says.

Will Simons

Will Simons

“Aside from advertising, we’re seeking sponsorships from companies with employees and customers in sync with the readers of Omahype. We also plan on throwing more events. Our goal at Omahype is to support, nurture, and expand the cultural landscape of the city.”

Peterson is currently working on Omahype’s redesign and once that’s done, Simons assures visiting Omahype will be a “beautiful and intuitive experience.” In addition, browsers will discover the most relevant listings for concerts, art galleries, comedy shows, and independent films. Also, local restaurant reviews and concert photographs are popping up more regularly. Simons is optimistic.

“With the new redesign, we hope to realize our goal of having an online calendar that is the one go-to source for all of the Omaha area’s best events and major cultural happenings,” he concludes. “Who knows? Maybe we’ll be able to expand to [other] cities at some point. Oh, and an office space would be nice, too [laughs].”

In the meantime, Simons and crew have executed a handful of fundraising events to help generate funds. They are planning on throwing more music events to keep up the momentum. Most recently, Omahype sponsored its third annual Rock-n-Shop event at The Slowdown on December 14. It featured a slew of prominent Omaha bands such as All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship, Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds and, of course, Thunder Power. Several local vendors were also on hand to showcase their goods. If Simons keeps this up, Omahype could very well be the go-to calendar for all of Omaha’s “cool kids.”