Polk County duo Foley & Burns bring love of country standards to Nashville

It may not be the Grand Ole Opry, but Polk County musicians Foley & Burns are proud to play Ole Red Nashville this week.

Ole Red Nashville is a restaurant/live music venue located in the National Bank building on Broadway in downtown Nashville. Ole Red is a collaboration between Grand Ole Opry and country star Blake Shelton through Ryman Hospitality Properties, Nashville.

For about six months, guitarists Joey Foley and Don Burns played twice a week at Ole Red Orlando, where their ability to interact with guests and their commitment to playing nothing but classic country caught the attention of management. franchise.

“Joey and Don… are a staff and guest favorite,” said Dolly Chandler, senior talent buyer for Ole Red. “They only play classic country, shameless and very good, which is the favorite brand of country enjoyed by our top guests,” she wrote in an email. “What people who come to see them play might not know is that they’re about to have a local history lesson on how some of country music’s biggest hits have come to life. debuts in our humble corner of the Sunshine State. These guys are much loved by many in Central Florida.

The duo have been playing in Central Florida since forming three years ago. Each has been entertaining audiences for over 40 years.

Burns, 58, is a self-taught musician who started playing guitar at age 10 in his hometown of Connersville, Indiana. He lived in Nashville in the late 1980s and early 1990s and wrote songs for country artists such as Clinton Gregory and Gene Watson and in 1994 had a #1 country music hit with ” Storm in The Heartland”, performed by Billy Ray Cyrus. The track earned Burns a gold record. In 2012 he moved to Lakeland and played classic rock covers with the Burning Brothers Band in the mid-2000s.

Foley, 53, has performed for 40 years, beginning at age 10 as a member of the Black Mountain Cloggers of Auburndale when he began singing and writing songs. In 1993 he formed Midnight Clogging Express and began singing in shows until he retired from clogging in 2015 and went into music full time, performing with The Union Boys, The Nathan Baldwin Band and now Foley & Burns.

Foley met Burns through local country musician Bobby Long and the two discovered they shared a love for classic country music. The idea, Foley said, is to stick to classic country songs and artists to separate from what everyone else was doing. The duo began to focus on playing songs by renowned country artists such as Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr., Charley Pride and The Bellamy Brothers.

Since forming, Foley & Burns have amassed a local following for their performances of classic country standards.

“People will come to our shows and want to hear Lynyrd Skynyrd or Jason Aldean. We both love them, but we don’t play them,” Burns said.

Burns said he hopes the duo’s April 12-13 performances show Nashville that Polk County isn’t just cattle, orange groves, housing estates and phosphate mines.

“They’ll have a full dose of Polk County – we’ll tell them stories, play music and people will love it and it’ll be a great way to showcase our county’s musical heritage.”

Foley & Burns’ trip is sponsored in part by Apple Lounge of Winter Haven and Cherry Pockets of Lake Wales.

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