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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
The Mimi Burns Band – from left, Derek Reeves, Wil Brown, Mimi Burns and Steve Tyler – at Franke Park.

Mimi Burns and band finally birth ‘Brave’ new CD

The creative process is often likened to giving birth, but Mimi Burns may get more mileage out of that metaphor than almost anybody.

Her band’s new CD, “Brave Journey,” was four years in the making.

Burns endured so many personal and artistic upheavals during that time that no one would have blamed her if she’d called for an epidural.

When Hollywood studios spend a small fortune on a summer blockbuster, Hollywood bigwigs are fond of promising, “It’s all up there on screen.”

Burns had no small fortune to spend but what she did withstand for the sake of the project was no small potatoes.

Consequently, this newspaper smallwig can now assure you that “It’s all in there on the CD.”

A CD release party for “Brave Journey” will happen at 7 p.m. Saturday at Hammerhead Hall, 6809 Hanna St.

For those of you who have somehow managed to skirt the edges of the avalanchine awesomeness that is the Mimi Burns Band, here’s a primer: Burns and company perform a mixture of Irish folk music and progressive rock that provides all the grandeur and sweep of the best arena rock without the arena … yet.

There should be more actual arenas in the Mimi Burns Band’s future.

The CD features the work of guest artist Gonzalo Carrera on keyboards.

Carrera is a Spaniard who has worked with composer and drummer Narada Michael Walden and with members of Jethro Tull.

Burns said her husband and bandmate Steve Tyler (no, not that Steve Tyler) spent “hundreds of hours” producing the CD, making the sorts of hard choices that backing musicians often need hundreds of hours (if not more) to fully accept.

“My hats are off to Stephen,” she said. “He had to cut the best solos, all of them. These solos were sensational, probably the best that any of the musicians had ever played. And we couldn’t use any of it.”

Burns said this caused violist Derek Reeves, who also performs with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, to joke at one point, “Am I even on the album?”

But when the band heard the finished product, “everyone was high-fiving each other; … it was completely over the top,” Burns said.

Burns may be strict with the band’s solos, but she’s mainly mushy about her mates.

“Most nights, I stand behind them listening and think, ‘Oh my gosh,’ ” she said. “ ‘I’d come to see these guys. I’d pay to see these guys.’ ”

The current incarnation of the Mimi Burns Band is the lineup Burns has been waiting for all her life.

When a columnist uses a phrase like “waiting for all her life,” he usually means “waiting for since she was 23.”

But Burns said she first started hearing the music in her head that presently is being played by this band when she was 4.

“Thirty-six years ago,” she said. “I guess I am slow at manifesting some things and fast at manifesting others.”

The Mimi Burns who folks will see onstage Saturday is a different Mimi Burns from the one who took the stage – more timidly, perhaps – four years ago.

She has since learned from former NFL player, actor and motivational speaker Bo Eason how to show up “at 100 percent” and from another guru how to move onstage.

Burns said she always envied the charisma that many musical artists exude onstage – the duplified “charm and beauty” that anyone who strides across a stage automatically enjoys.

She has since “claimed it,” she said.

Burns said she has worked on the “shadow parts” of herself and now feels like she can be “an ombudsmen or ambassador for unifying people.”

One of her fondest wishes is to take the band on a tour of Europe, but “I am trying to live more today than tomorrow,” she said.

“I am just grateful that the CD is done,” she said, adding a cheer that struck a perfect balance between war whoop and squeal of delight.

Steve Penhollow is a writer for The Journal Gazette. His column appears Sundays. He appears Fridays on WPTA-TV, Channel 21, WISE-TV, Channel 33, and WBYR, 98.9 FM, to talk about area happenings. Email him at spen@jg.net. A Facebook page for “Rants & Raves” can be accessed at www.facebook.com/pages.

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