Atlanta-based duo are serious and fun loving too


I will always remember being in the presence of the lead Parrothead, Jimmy Buffett, when someone asked “How can you write such romantic songs and then write such trash.” I’m paraphrasing. It was a long time ago. Jimmy said, “Well sometimes I’m romantic and sometimes I’m trashy.”

Now ESOEBO, as far as I know, aren’t trashy — but some of their songs are romantic and some are funny. The acronym itself brought a smile to my face — ESOEBO (Eclectic Selections Of Everything But Opera).

The duo is comprised of Gail Burnett and Chuck McDowell. On ESOEBO VI there’s a song which also made me think of Jimmy — “Sweet Talk,” a song Chuck wrote after being at a Bob Dylan concert, thinking about Dylan’s ability to create both songs of great import and larks like “Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat.”

“At the concert, I was marveling at the guy’s songs and talent,” Chuck said. “But then he’d sing a song like ‘Pill Box Hat,’ and I thought ‘He can say anything and it still works.’ I came home from the concert, drank a little bourbon, got my guitar and just let things flow.”

The duo is actually a five piece band, at times, Jonathan Cullifer - steel guitar , Kirk Sarkisian - drums and Ryan Robertson - upright bass.

One of my favorite songs is “Hurricane” which on the surface appears to be about a storm, but it’s actually about when Chuck was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer.

“All of a sudden there was a sense of urgency to write with more intensity and also write better songs,” he said. This is some good stuff, and an unique approach.

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