Frank Burkitt was brought up in the highlands of Scotland before moving to the ‘big smoke’ of Edinburgh at the tender age of 18. Despite an early musical career of singing the American standards with jazz quintets and big bands, his real musical education came from the pub session. Having always written songs with his trusty guitar from a young age, his music took a distinctly folky turn when he graced the doors of such famous Edinburgh drinking haunts as Sandy Bells and The Royal Oak (2 pubs responsible for both the musical talent and alcoholism of many a Scottish musician).
After several (albeit hazy) years of late night music and drinking, Burkitt realised that a noisy pub full of drunk Scotsmen was possibly not the most ideal arena for a young songwriter to apply his craft. He found that the folk clubs of the UK and beyond were the perfect setting for his story-telling and original songwriting and in early 2009 he recorded his first studio album ‘a little less care’ at Castlesound Studios in Pentcaitland. He was joined on the album by fiddler Chris Stone, double bass player Holly Downes (now both of The String Contingent) and the backing vocals of Kara Filbey. They toured the album across the UK, New Zealand and Australia in 2009.
Burkitt’s second album ‘Valley of Gold’ which he brought out in 2011, was inspired in many ways by the natural beauty of New Zealand’s landscape and people, the ‘Valley of Gold’ referring to one of his favourite regions of New Zealand Golden Bay. It also contained songs such as Mr ITV, a commentary on the manipulative and immoral nature of reality television. This song was also a demonstration of Burkitt’s ability to convey a profound message as well as an entertaining anecdote in his music.
As well as his own original brand of folk music, Burkitt began to take a large amount of inspiration from American artists such as Tim O’Brien and James Taylor. He developed a real love for many American genres such as bluegrass, western swing and country and along with his original love of jazz and blues, his songs began to move away from the traditional Scottish folk music that had shaped his early days.
Always a keen traveller and with feet growing ever itchier, Burkitt moved to New Zealand in March 2014. He’d fallen in love with the people, the natural and musical scenery and above all… the fly fishing! After settling in Wellington, Frank Burkitt was quick to form ‘The Frank Burkitt Band’ which includes Cameron Dusty Burnell (Mandolin), Krissy Jackson (Fiddle), Kara Filbey (Backing Vocals and Percussion) and James Geluk (Double Bass). Now the main project for Burkitt, the band give his songs vibrancy and their virtuosic solos beautifully accompany his original vocals.
They have been impressing audiences across New Zealand having completed a sell out 27 date national tour of the country promoting their first album ‘Fools and Kings’. This album contains a wide variety of genres which gives it a fresh and unique sound and it is by far his most accomplished work to date. Although all the songs were written by Burkitt, the album was a joint effort with the arrangements done by the band as a whole and the album partly produced by Graeme Woller (Into The East).
Now well known for entertaining story-telling, tightly arranged songs and delicious harmony and a set list that contains blues, country, bluegrass, swing and some Scottish folk. It is good old fashioned original song-writing backed up by a band that understands perfectly how to add infectious rhythm and groove (Geluk’s bass), varied and skilled solo breaks (Burnell and Jackson on fiddle and mandolin) and endorphin-exploding harmonies (Filbey on backing vocals).