After years of writing songs for other artists, Ben Burgess is finally getting the chance to wear his artist hat. Compiling his truest stories, he embraces his classic country sound and draws from somber moments of darkness to create his debut album, Tears The Size Of Texas.
This project is a result of his 20-year journey of hard work and dedication. Because of the extensive song collection he has compiled over the years, cutting down the track list to a total of 10 songs was no easy task. He ended up with a good mix that includes a variety of “different flavors.”
“It’s tough and if I would’ve had it my way I would’ve released every single song, but you know, we got plenty of time for that,” he told Country Now.
Burgess served as either a co-writer or sole writer on each of these tracks and had a hand in producing the project alongside Joey Moi and Jesse Frasure.
“I really fell in love with creating music in my own home and on my own computers. So it’s really just a blessing to be able to be a co-producer with Joey on some of these,” he shared.
Burgess remembers the leading track, “Tears The Size Of Texas,” as being the first song he wrote after getting offered a record deal at Big Loud in 2020. Starting off strong, the twang of his southern vocals come alive in this Texas Waltz, solidifying the fact that Burgess is already a force to be reckoned with.
“I prefer to go slow, so I felt like it was just a fitting song to be the one, and I love the twist in it. It just feels classic and that’s what I feel like the album is,” he shared. “It’s got this self-reflection in it of like, ‘man, I messed up’ and I think it’s important to be able to say, ‘yeah, I messed up’ because trust me, I didn’t get this far without messing up a bunch of times.”
The songs which he dubs the “murder ballads,” stand out in their own particular way as they’re drawn from a place of pain with a hint of hope.
“’Kill A Man,’ it’s about getting to your wit’s end,” he explained. “I think we can be quick to get really emotional about things and I think music has saved my life. Being able to express myself in a creative way, it kind of pokes fun at it and helps deal with a serious situation and kind of turn it into something maybe not so serious.”
His current single, “Heartbreak” may sound familiar as it’s a countryfied version of the song he co-wrote and was featured on for Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley’s buzzy Chapter 1: Snake Oil album.
“Diplo, he basically took the demo, pitched the vocal up and sped the song up and did all these things. We had kind of no control over what he did. I love what he did, but kind of taking back to the reins and being able to do our own version of it was really awesome. I mean, I felt like we took it straight to the honky tonks.”
Creating this version shows once again just how deep Burgess’ roots are planted in country music as an East Dallas native, but don’t be fooled because there is so much more built up in his repertoire. His trek through the songwriting business has led to a resume full of credits in TV placements on shows like ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and commercial spots for Major League Baseball, Xbox, and Lexus. Burgess began his career all on his own and after breaking into the industry, he quit his construction job in Austin and moved to LA to continue on the same path.
“A commercial song, it might get you a little money and it’s cool, but really, getting a song that really says what I’m trying to do and trying to be about, that’s honestly one of the hardest things to do. Writing a TV show song is pretty easy, but diving deep and trying to figure out what I’m here to talk about is more of a challenge,” he explained.
Eventually, Burgess found his way to Nashville and there, he was given the opportunity to pursue his authentic twang stylings. With this project, he hopes to relate to the audience he is building and indirectly share some words of wisdom for the artists that follow him.
“Anytime I get to sit down with a younger artist, they’re asking me for advice. I think there’s a lot of advice in there, there’s a lot of self-realizations in it, every song is a true story. There’s a lot of honesty and, you know, I’m hoping that people can see it and maybe get some hope for themselves and their career.”
He added, “It’s definitely humbling to be getting my first shot in my late thirties. It’s not lost on me that some people get it from right up at the beginning and some people gotta wait and some people never get it. So I’m hoping that people can find inspiration in it and a will to drink and to live and to celebrate and to also be good people. I think that’s what the world needs.”
Ben Burgess has been serving as the opening act for Koe Wetzel and this fall, he’s slated to provide direct support on Warren Zeiders’ Up To No Good Tour before rejoining Wetzel and Jelly Roll for their Role Models Tour.