11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Kevin Burnstein

Kevin BurnsteinPhoto by Diana King

New-to-Nashville guitarist and songwriter Kevin Burnstein just had a crazy good debut album come out called “ATTACK DISTRACT DIVIDE.” Those caps in the title are intentional and emphasize the power of the message in Burnstein’s words sang over his simple but strong grungy sound.

Tough times raise tensions and the songs on this record provide some thought-provoking sonic release for us all. Recorded in his home studio, Burnstein said about the record: “This is an album I’ve been trying to make for a long time and it’s disheartening that the inspiration behind this album has been a time of political division, racial tension, and a worldwide pandemic.”

Watch the sensational mix of sight and sound in the video for “Distraction” here. Kevin, a cinematography graduate and one-time teacher says: “The song ‘Distraction’ is about being an unwilling accomplice to a moment in history and feeling powerless and confused.” Amen to that.

Thank you, Kevin for visiting with 11 Questions. Hope to see you play live on the other side of this current crap we are in! In the meantime, we can all enjoy the new record in our own safe spaces!


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I am originally from Kansas City, but I spent half my life living in Los Angeles. My wife and I moved to Nashville towards the end of 2019.  We had been thinking of living someplace new for a while and finally decided that Nashville was the best place to continue to pursue the things that we love, photography and music.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

The first record I ever bought was a cassette tape of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, “He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper.” I probably bought it at Streetside Records in Overland Park, KS. I think the last one I bought was a CD of either The Record Company or Gary Clark Jr. Since most of the time I have been in Nashville it’s been under COVID protocol, I think I bought those on Amazon. 

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

The first concert I ever attended was Alice in Chains at Memorial Hall in Kansas City on their Dirt tour.  The last concert I saw was Keith Urban on New Year’s Eve here in Nashville.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

I am going to nominate Sheryl Crow.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

For coffee we usually go to Ugly Mugs or Dose. Ironically, Ugly Mug was the name of the coffee shop I used to play music at in Orange, CA when I was in college. I shamefully have not had pizza in a while, but everyone says Five Points Pizza is the place to go.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

I am a big fan of Jacquire King productions and I really like the album by City and Colour, If I Should Go Before You.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

If I have the time, Pinewood Social has a fun atmosphere and some great food. If I am in a hurry, then probably Shake Shack.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Three songwriters to join me at the Bluebird would be Sarah Buxton, Devon Gilfillian and Mike Burke.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

I only had a chance to get in a handful of performances before the tornado and everything locking down, but I did really enjoy the staff and short set that I played at The Bowery Vault.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.

I would like to see Jerry Cantrell move here and show up for an “In the Round.”

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

I am just about to release my first full length album and am extremely excited to share it. I feel like I am just starting to figure out what I want to say as an artist. I also finally feel like I have overcome the hurdle of being able to produce and mix my own music to a result that I am happy with. I am really looking forward to continuing my message and speaking up about the things I believe in through the power of music.


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